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Israeli DM Ya’alon: Iran Perpetuates Sectarian Conflict to Weaken Iraq

Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon argued that Iran has no interest in securing a stable Iraq, The Times of Israel reported.

“He who did not allow stability in Iraq since 2003 is Iran,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies’ annual security conference.

“From its perspective, a strong Iraq runs counter to its own interests. From its perspective Iraq needs to be weak, bleeding.”

Yaalon further charged that even as Iran funded Shiite militias, it also backed Sunni militias to fight the United States.

Ya’alon’s observation echoed that of Michael Pregent, who has recently argued that “Iran needs the threat of ISIS and Sunni jihadist groups to stay in Syria and Iraq in order to become further entrenched in Damascus and Baghdad.”

More generally, Ya’alon identified Iran as a major threat not just to Israel, but to the stability of the whole Middle East.

Ya’alon admitted that Israel may appear to be “obsessive” in its focus on Iran as a central force of ill in the Middle East, but said that the Islamic Republic is the “center of gravity” in terms of exporting terror around the region. Iran destabilizes states by supporting internal terror with arms, money, training and advice, he said. Iran’s pursuit of regional hegemony, Ya’alon added, brought about the rise of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the current civil war in Yemen, and may well threaten Bahrain and perhaps even Saudi Arabia in the future.

Ya’alon also faulted the P5+1 nations for their willingness to release billions in funds to Tehran with the advent of a nuclear deal, which the regime may use to not just to improve its missile arsenal, threatening Israel, large parts of Europe, and, eventually the United States, but also to continue arming Hamas and Hezbollah on Israel’s borders.

[Photo: Charlie Rose / YouTube ]