Photo Credit: U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leland White

The former head of Israeli spy agency Mossad has expressed concern that the US may soon withdraw from Iraq as it has from Afghanistan. This could lead to the downfall of the current Iraqi regime and the country becoming controlled fully by Iran, warned Yossi Cohen.

“The American withdrawal from Afghanistan should trigger our concern and fears about the tangible danger lurking in another possible American withdrawal, this time from Iraq,” said Cohen in an article in Yedioth Ahronoth. “Iran has not stopped for a moment in its quest to consolidate its military position in our region.”

In Lebanon, he explained, it is strengthening Hezbollah. In Syria, it maintains an active presence of the Revolutionary Guards and helps to introduce weapons into the country in parallel with self-industrialisation. “The Iranian presence in Iraq is concrete and disturbing,” he added, “and it is based on two pillars: the Popular Mobilisation Units and the Quds Force.”

Cohen suggested that Israel and its leaders have to formulate a strategy and set clear goals for an updated national policy. “Our demand must be a stable Middle East that neutralises to the best of its ability the Iranian presence throughout the region, and does not allow Iran to become a nuclear state.”

He pointed out that Israel should take advantage of the positive meeting that took place last week between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US President Joe Biden to stop Iran’s “march towards hegemony in the Middle East and possession of a nuclear weapon.”

Given the positive relations between Israel and Washington, concluded Cohen, the messages about stopping Iran could be accepted positively. “In my estimation, they could be internalised by US policy-makers.”