The Honorable MK Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoav Galant, Minister of Construction and Housing, Israel
The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Galant notes that there are many actors which the world, and Israel, need to take into account. The split between Shiite and Sunni is persistent, and the defeat of one may lead to the growth of the other, neither of which is good for Israel. The idea of enemies becoming friends to fight common enemies puts Israel in a very precarious position.
MK Galant discusses the reality of terrorism as it exists now. Alongside this reality of increased terrorist attacks and waves of immigration, the free world is still strong and can beat ISIS, because the organization does not have depth. ISIS leans on the specific territory that it occupies at the moment, so it is hard for them to bring very much to the table. But, the inspiration that they give to others watching them is much more dangerous.
The Sunnis are split up into four groups: the Kurds, the free organizations, Caliphate organized, and ISIS. On the Shiite side you have the Iranians working directly and through proxies, the Shiite Iraqis, the Afghanis, and minorities. What interests do we have? Primarily we look at the removal of sanctions that were imposed on Russia and the removal of sanctions by the west in Syria. Russia, without any strongholds in the Middle East, does not have access to the Atlantic Ocean. The European interest in this is the endangerment of Europe, pushing all the Sunnis to Europe.
Now we see a regime in Syria with fewer combatants, they are leaning less on the local population. They have cutting edge technologies, a considerable amount of weaponry, air force artillery, and chemical warfare. The Sunni population that is creating most of the rebels does not have the technologies to fight. We find ourselves in a situation with a status quo.
MK Galant highlighted the fact that the players in this setup are not identical. While all the groups are against ISIS, within this large group of groups there is a lot of rift. If we take away power from the Sunni populations and ISIS, there still is the issue of a Shiite (Iranian) power taking control in Syria, which is not good at all for Israel. According the MK Galant, the idea of enemies becoming friends to fight enemies puts Israel in a precarious situation. On one hand, Israel wants/needs to help defeat ISIS, but on the other hand Israel’s main enemy is Hezbollah, and going to war with them against ISIS would require the sharing of military technology and tactics and could make Israel quite vulnerable.