TEL AVIV – The former head of Israel’s National Security Council said that despite internal disputes, Israel and the West should team up with Russia in the war on ISIS. He also said that Russia was also the only country to predict the threat of the Islamic State over a decade ago.
In an oped for Israeli news website Ynet, Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland writes that Russia predicted the formation of ISIS and its strategic threat 11 years ago and that it’s time for the West to lay aside its differences and join Russia in defeating ISIS. He also said that Turkey was more interested in defending Turkish interests on its borders with Iraq and Syria than fighting the terrorist organization.
In Eiland’s position as the head of Israel’s National Security in the mid-2000s, he met with Russian officials and experts who claimed that the biggest danger to world peace was ISIS. “True, the name ‘ISIS’ was not mentioned, but the phenomenon represented by ISIS was predicted in amazing accuracy,” writes Eiland.
Russian predictions included the creation of an Islamic caliphate in the wake of the Iraqi war that would have an agenda of taking over the Middle East. The caliphate would also take advantage of the West’s weakness and turn to Europe. Eiland recounts that the conclusion at the time had been for Russia and Israel and other Western powers to defeat this shared enemy.
Russian officials had further criticized the United States’ “foolish war” in Iraq which they claim led to the rise of ISIS.
Eiland met with a high-ranking Turkish official. According to Eiland the official said, “Turkey will find the way to return to its natural southern borders, which are the line connecting Mosul in Iraq to Homs in Syria. It’s a national and just aspiration which is also supported by the existence of a large Turkmen minority in this area.”
As a NATO member state, Turkey should be invested in defending NATO’s interests, including fighting ISIS. Instead, asserts Eiland, Turkey is harming the Kurds – the only ones currently on the ground fighting ISIS – and eliciting Russia’s ire, particularly with the downing of the Russian fighter jet. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s accusations, the Turks are further providing economic aid to ISIS.
For its part, Israel should plan for a scenario in which ISIS gains control in Syria, Jordon and the Sinai Peninsula. “The threat posed by ISIS is similar in its totalitarian ideology to the threat which was created by Nazi Germany. Coordination between Russia and the West is not a sufficient condition for winning this war, but it is a necessary condition,” concludes Eiland.