Netanyahu says Israel won’t allow Iran military presence in Syria

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held talks with the Russian defense minister in East Jerusalem al-Quds, saying Tel Aviv will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria.

“The meeting mostly dealt with Iran’s attempt to establish itself militarily in Syria,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu told Russian Defense Minister [Sergei] Shoigu, ‘Iran needs to understand that Israel will not allow this,'” it added.

Their talks came after the Israeli military violated Syria’s territory and launched an air strike on an anti-aircraft battery in Syria in the vicinity of the Lebanese border on Monday.

In response, the Syrian army targeted an intruding warplane and forced the fighter jets to retreat.

Both Iran and Russia are supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in its fight against terrorism. Iran has been providing military advisory support for the Syrian forces at the request of Damascus.

Syrian and Russian flags wave near the Syrian city of Homs on September 13, 2017. (Photo by AP)

During the talks with the Russian foreign minister, Netanyahu also claimed that “Iran will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons within 8-10 years,” if Tehran’s nuclear deal with the world powers is not revised.

Netanyahu’s repeated opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between Iran and the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, comes as US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

While Trump did not pull Washington out of the nuclear deal, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the pact. Reimposing sanctions would put the US at odds with other signatories to the accord and the European Union.

This is while the other signatories to the JCPOA, the EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have unanimously confirmed Iran’s commitment to the deal and warned against the ramifications of Trump’s decision to abandon the landmark deal.

Iran says it will not agree to any revision of the nuclear deal.

Times of Israel:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday that Israel will not tolerate the presence of Iran on its borders, his office said.

Netanyahu also repeated his view that without a renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic would be in possession of an atomic weapon within the next decade.

“Iran needs to understand that Israel will not allow it” to militarily entrench itself in Syria, Netanyahu said during the meeting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and their staffs meet in the former’s office in Jerusalem on October 17, 2017. (Prime Minister’s Office)

Shoigu’s Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, was also present at the meeting.

On his first day, Shoigu met separately with Liberman, who was joined by members of the IDF General Staff and officials from the Defense Ministry.

During the meeting, Shoigu told Liberman that Russia’s military operation in Syria is “nearing completion, and some issues need to be tackled immediately,” according to Russian state media.

The Russian defense minister said that included the countries’ military cooperation, as well as the overall fight against terrorism and the general situation in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Liberman also raised Iran’s growing presence in Syria, as well as its proxies’.

“We will not get involved in internal matters in Syria,” Liberman told the Russian defense minister on Monday, “but, on the other hand, we will not allow Iran and Hezbollah to turn Syrian territory into a forward operating base against Israel.”

Liberman told Shoigu that Israel is “operating responsibly and with determination” in Syria.

“We will not allow the transfer of advanced weaponry by Iran through Syria to Lebanon,” he added.

Israel attributed great importance to Shoigu’s visit, his first since entering his position in 2012, and the first visit by a Russian defense minister to the Jewish state in many years.

“I am very glad to see the Russian defense minister in the State of Israel. This is the first visit, and the first visit of a defense minister has exceptional importance,” Liberman said.

“We greatly appreciate our relations with Russia,” he said. “We don’t always agree, but we always speak directly and openly. We believe that the moment there’s open dialogue, you can overcome all problems.”

Shoigu’s trip got off to a rocky start, coming hours after the IDF bombed an anti-aircraft battery belonging to Russia’s ally Syria after it had earlier fired an interceptor missile at an Israeli plane.

The Russian defense minister was greeted with an honor guard at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters, known as the Kirya, where he also met briefly with World War II Red Army veterans who live in Israel.

Avigdor Liberman, right, and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu shaking hands with veterans at the IDF’s Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv on October 16, 2017. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

“We greatly appreciate our memory of World War II. Many of our grandfathers and grandmothers fought in the ranks of the Red Army and we value the way Russia treats and remembers them today, and how [Russia] treats the memory of those who fought and died in the Second World War,” Liberman said.

After the honor guard, Shoigu and Liberman met privately in the latter’s office. They were then joined by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, head of IDF Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi and the head of the powerful political-security affairs bureau of the Defense Ministry, Zohar Palti, as well as by members of the Russian defense minister’s entourage.

The discussion was focused primarily on Syria and the increasing influence of Iran and Shiite militias there, according to the Defense Ministry.

As the Syrian civil war appears to be coming to a close, Israel’s attention has increasingly turned to the threats posed by Syria’s other ally, Iran, which is believed to be establishing bases and military infrastructure near the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Israel has reportedly asked Russia and the United States to include in ceasefire agreements for the Syrian conflict an assurance that Iran-backed Shiite militias not be allowed within 60 kilometers (37 miles) of the border. However, according to reports, these requests have been denied.

While this is Shoigu’s first visit to Israel in his five years as defense minister, he has made multiple trips to Syria, including one earlier this month, as well as a surprise stop in Iran last year.

Syrian President Bashar Assad addresses the newly-elected parliament in Damascus, Syria, on June 7, 2016. (SANA, the Syrian official news agency, via AP)

The soft-spoken defense minister is seen by many analysts as a driving force behind Russia’s aggressive support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

The visit is a departure from recent years, which have seen Israeli leaders travel to Russia multiple times for diplomatic meetings, but almost no such sit-downs had taken place in Israel.

The rare meeting came on the heels of the brief exchange of fire between Israel and Syria on Monday morning.

Shortly before 9 a.m., the Syrian military launched an SA-5 anti-aircraft missile at Israeli reconnaissance planes, which it said had entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon. The IDF denied that its aircraft crossed the border, maintaining that they had been flying only over Lebanon, collecting intelligence.

According to the IDF, no Israeli planes were damaged by the interceptor, but the Syrian military said in a statement that it “directly hit” one of them.

Approximately three hours later, Israeli fighter jets retaliated, bombing the SA-5 missile defense battery that was believed to have launched the interceptor.

The IDF said the battery was “incapacitated.”

As Russia maintains a heavy presence in Syria in order to assist its ally, Assad, an IDF spokesperson said the military informed Moscow of the impending attack on Assad’s army “in real time.”

The nearly three-hour delay between the initial attack on the Israeli aircraft and the retaliation was attributed by analysts to Israeli concerns about the potential problems that a reprisal could cause, coming so close to Shoigu’s visit.

Israel has repeatedly stated that it will act militarily in Syria if one of its “red lines” is violated, notably the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah or, in this case, a direct attack on Israeli aircraft.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot (L) meets with the Russian army Chief of Staff Valery Grasimov in Moscow, Russia, on September 21, 2015. (Israel Defense Forces)

In order to avoid friction and accidental conflict, for the past two years Israel and Russia have coordinated their military efforts in Syria.

Israeli officials do not generally discuss the full extent of that coordination, but they stress that the Israeli military does not seek Russian permission before carrying out operations.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. The legitimate Syrian government can invite whoever they want into their country. Israel should have no say in this, whatsoever. IMO, Israel is concerned about losing their illegal territory in the Syrian Golan heights. They’ve been told to leave for decades and those illegal Israeli settlements deserved to be flattened. If those illegal settlements are flattened, Israel will be at fault no matter what, because international law says a population being illegally occupied has the right to defend their territory by any means necessary. I know, international law does not apply to the khazars, but you can’t just go around stealing land by force and expect the native populations not to defend themselves. I hope Israel eats a huge steaming rancid pile of $h!t.

  2. Arab newspaper based in London “Ash-Shark al-Ausat” says that Israel asked Russia to make a 15 km IRGC- and Hezbollah-free boarder between Israel and Syria. Though Russia previously said that 5 km would be enough.

    • Asharq-Al-Awsat is a Saudi-run disinfo operation, VT exposed them as such last year.

  3. Maybe it’s just the jarhead in me and I drank my breakfast but, all of the same old shit is getting too old…fuk all businesses, corporations, loser elite politicians, religions(especially you know who) and drop a nuke on israhell! and London and DC Game over ….new world to fix all the fkers damage…why not! we’re all gonna die…friend or foe….somebody toss me a pineapple! I know where to throw it!

  4. “Russia’s aggressive (?) support for Syrian dictator ( ?) Bashar Assad. ” ?
    What a shame to call a humble President of Syria, B.Assad that way. There are much better dictator examples in US , as well in a country next to Syria. Phooey !

  5. What happened to the investigation of the unindicted war criminal Netanyahu in his home country and his wife too? Does he threaten them like he threatens sovereign nations like Iran? This kind of talk is what gives Israel and all Jews a bad name. Netanyahu is lower than street scum and never learned any manners. All sovereign nations of the world must tell him to shove it in no uncertain terms and if WWIII must begin to teach this slow learner tyrant a lesson so be it. Israel will be leveled if that happens. Iran, Syria and Russia must make it clear to this self appointed World King Thug who is boss and this must be done soon.

    • It is easy to see why the chief coward of Israel who steals lands from neighbors and then blames them for it, needs 40 bodyguards. Israel is our enemy: Arrogant, insolent war criminal Israel did 9/11/01 to the U.S.: https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it
      Quote:
      “Larry Silverstein – is a Jewish American businessman from New York. Silverstein obtained a 99 year lease on the entire world trade center complex on 24 July, 2001. [3] The towers were in fact close to worthless, being filled with asbestos, [4] yet Silverstein “felt a compelling urge to own them”. Silverstein had breakfast in “Windows on the World” restaurant (located in North Tower 107th Floor) every morning. [5] but broke this routine on the morning of 11 September 2001. Silverstein’s two children, who also worked in the WTC, were also absent from work that day. Larry Silverstein was paid a little over $4.5 Billion in insurance money as a result of the destruction of the WTC complex. [6] Silverstein was on personal friendship terms with Zionist media-magnate Rupert Murdoch, former Israeli president Ariel Sharon, as well as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Silverstein was such good friends with Netanyahu that, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz he would speak with him on the phone every sunday. [7]”

  6. Time to tell that fat Judaic blow-hard, Nutty-yoyo, “Go suck on an egg!” It’s not your call on the Syria-Iran alliance and their military agreements.

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