As the war in Syria dies down and the dust starts to settle, the enormity of Israel's strategic mistake during the long years of conflict is becoming all the more apparent. The first person to point this out publicly was Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) chief of Military Intelligence from 2006 to 2010.
Yadlin is now the executive director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, the country's most important research institution. On Nov. 23, he declared resolutely, "Israel made a mistake when it adopted a position of neutrality during the Syrian war. It should have done everything it could to bring down President Bashar al-Assad's regime as early as 2012." According to Yadlin, the weakness shown by the United States and Israel is what led to a situation in which the new Syria is being shaped by "the Czar [Russian President Vladimir Putin], the Sultan [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] and the Supreme Leader [Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei].” At an attempt in Geneva to resolve the crisis several years ago, the United States dictated the list of participants. Now the United States has all but disappeared from the arena, while Israel is being excluded by Putin and Erdogan.