By Leland Vittert, ,
Published December 12, 2015
Israel’s Defense Minister told Fox News in an exclusive interview that Iran trying to send ships through the Suez Canal to Syria was an attempt to attract attention and that the Egyptian revolution creates a situation of shifting sands in the Middle East. Ehud Barak sat down to talk about a wide range of issues as the Middle East is experiencing a massive change.
From an Israeli perspective he said it would have been much better had the revolution first come to its sworn enemy Iran rather than one of its only two Arab allies.
“We are disappointed that it didn't jump directly to Tehran. You know, I think we're witnessing the power of a new global village transparency and openness to the media, the fact that tens of millions, hundreds of millions can see such events on real time, helps to spread the wave,” the former Prime Minister said.
He said that both Israel and the Western World lost a good friend when a popular revolution overthrew Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Jewish state fears that Egypt will become a radical Muslim state once elections are held.
“Bearing in mind the history of many revolutions. It starts with idealist romanticism and ends up with toughest groups coordinating and focused and determined to come to power, even if it needs to kill or to be killed in order to come there.”
The powerful Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to regroup inside Egypt and the country’s military rulers have said they will allow it to be part of the new government a reality that would change Israeli’s view of the region.
For Israel, the threats are far more long term and strategic than tactical, but the recent news that Iran would send two warships through the Suez canal to dock in Syria has set off alarm bells. Barak walked back comments by the Foreign Minister that Israel would possibly consider a military strike against the ships.
“We see it as something that shouldn't have happened, but if it's happened we shouldn't blow it up beyond it's real weight. And probably they stopped. The last report is that they stopped before entering the canal probably didn't get the approvals and probably they will come back in few days,” he said.
The Suez crossing will be the first test of the Israeli relationship with the new military rulers in Egypt who will have to decide if they will allow Iran’s Navy transit permission in the canal.
Barak is one of the few Israeli officials to have spoke candidly and on the record since the Egyptian crisis began and says Israel is now in a unique position as the power players duke it out.
“An individual cannot chose his parents, and a nation cannot chose its neighbors. So we are living here and we'll do our job of being a stable island here.”