Netanyahu Threatens Putin: ‘Israel Will Declare War Unless Iran Leaves Syria’

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Netanyahu warns Putin that Israel will go to war with Iran unless they leave Syria

Benjamin Netanyahu has warned President Putin that Israel will “declare war” if Iran don’t leave Syria immediately.

Netanyahu declared that the Israeli military will fight Iranian and Syrian soldiers if Iran continues to defeat ISIS in the region.

“We will act when necessary according to our red lines,” the Israeli PM told the Russian president during 3-hour meeting in Sochi.

Zerohedge.com reports: This comes as ISIS is now crumbling, and at a time when most world leaders of nations driving the external proxy war in Syria have toned down their rhetoric regarding the future fate of the Assad government.

After years of a regular drumbeat of bellicose statements emanating from the West and repeat talk of “Assad must go”, “red lines”, and years of constantly failed predictions that “regime demise is imminent,” there now seems a general acceptance that the Syrian government has emerged victorious in the 6-year long conflict. Not only did Trump this summer order the closure of the CIA’s regime change program which targeted Assad, but it appears even Gulf nations – lately embroiled in their own inter-GCC political civil war and airing of dirty laundry – have been forced to temper their rhetoric. Turkey also has reluctantly shifted its priorities in Syria after its well-known and documented regime change machinations – which included facilitating the transfer of tens of thousands of foreign jihadists (the core of which joined ISIS) across its southern border – have largely backfired. International media too, generally reflecting undeniable geopolitical realities, have bluntly headlined stories with “And the winner is: Assad” and “We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria” and “How Assad is Winning“.

But it appears Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t get the memo. On Wednesday the Israeli Prime Minister told Russian President Putin that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria and further signaled willingness to go to war in Syria to curtail Iranian influence. “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon,” Netanyahu told Putin, adding further that, “We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

The two leaders met for three hours in the Black Sea resort of Sochi – their sixth such meeting since September 2015. Putin did not respond publicly to the provocative words on Syria during the portion of the meeting open to reporters. Netanyahu later told Israeli reporters covering the meeting that:

Bringing Shi’ites into the Sunni sphere will surely have many serious implications both in regard to refugees and to new terrorist acts. We want to prevent a war and that’s why it’s better to raise the alarm early in order to stop deterioration.

Netanyahu’s reference to “the Sunni sphere” came after he summarized the closed door part of the discussion as dealing with “Iran’s attempt to establish a foothold in Syria in the places where ISIS was defeated and is leaving.” Netanyahu’s comments are a reflection of an extremely disturbing view which has become so prominent within Israeli defense circles as to be considered establishment: that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. This is to say that continued ISIS presence in Syria and Iraq is a viable option and possibly better than pro-Iranian or even Russian spheres of influence in the Israeli prime minister’s mind. Of course, this “lesser evil is ISIS” view is nothing new. In Israel, for example, there are even “respected” think tanks tied in with major public universities which openly call for allowing ISIS to thrive in Syria.

The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, for example, which is one of Israel’s most internationally visible and influential think tanks (and located on the campus of Israel’s second largest university), published a policy paper last year which made a direct appeal to Israel’s Western partners with the unambiguous message contained in the essay’s title: “The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake.” Author and Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre, Efraim Inbar, argued against a Western military campaign to destroy ISIS while envisioning the group as an effective tool in sowing terror and chaos in Iran and Syria, with the added benefit of keeping Russia bogged down in defense of the Assad government. Inbar spelled this out clearly:

The continuing existence of IS [Islamic State] serves a strategic purpose. The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.

While acknowledging the Islamic State’s utter genocidal brutality, the paper concluded:

The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity.

A policy paper published by an influential Israeli think tank which contracts with NATO argues that ISIS is a "useful tool" for Israel's strategic defense.
A policy paper published by an influential Israeli think tank which contracts with NATO argues that ISIS is a “useful tool” for Israel’s strategic defense.

Various current and former Israeli defense officials have echoed this point of view over the years, including former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, “the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil”. Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”




Of course, such a perspective also tends to assume that Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty is non-existent (but instead seen as a mere extension of Iran and Russia), even as both countries now stand in better position in terms of operational sovereignty with Syria having liberated Aleppo and Iraq having regained Mosul. And that’s perhaps why there’s increasingly uninhibited truth-telling in Israel, the Gulf, and D.C. these days: the party is over in terms of the hoped for regime change in Syria. Perhaps now there’s simply more blunt and open talk wherein assumptions are laid bare as introspective strategists realign their talking points while still eyeing the ultimate neocon prize of regime change in Iran.

Though still rarely acknowledged in international reports, Israel has engaged in overt acts of war in Syria since at least 2012 and 2013, when it launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus. In 2016 Israel went so far as to target Damascus International Airport, killing a well-known Hezbollah commander. In a significant admission last week, the head of Israel’s air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years. Earlier this summer Netanyahu himself was caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least “a dozen times”. And this is to say nothing of Israel’s covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria’s south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Israeli plans for rolling back Iranian presence in Syria came mid-summer of this year, when Trump agreed to a southwest Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ with Russia, which would necessarily involve Iranian cooperation. The agreement implicitly acknowledges Iran’s troop presence in Syria as legitimate, and as reported at the time further “ignored Israel’s positions almost completely.” But analysts are in general agreement that the US-Russia brokered deal has been relatively successful and a step in the right direction. Even the Reuters report on this week’s Netanyahu-Putin meeting seemed to acknowledge the deal’s effectiveness:

Russia has so far shown forbearance toward Israel, setting up a military hotline to prevent their warplanes or anti-aircraft units clashing accidentally over Syria.

But given that Israel has already invested itself so heavily in the push to remove Assad while routinely launching attacks on Hezbollah with impunity, it is unlikely to disengage from Syria anytime soon, even as close Western allies publicly change their tune. Netanyahu’s brazen words to Putin that ‘preventative’ escalation in Syria to destroy what Israeli defense officials commonly call the “Iranian land bridge” (or the so-called ‘Shia crescent’) may in reality be empty diplomatic posturing, yet it does reveal increased Israeli desperation as even the West is seeming to ignore Netanyahu’s repeatedly declared “red lines”.

Regardless, Netanyahu remains the Syria regime change lobby’s best hope. Already, within less than 24 hours of Netanyahu’s Russia visit, neocon columnists are calling for him to unilaterally “take action”:

If he really expects others , especially Putin, that he means business this time, he will have to go beyond words and into actions, as clearly Israel could not and should not allow Iran to turn South Syria into another South Lebanon.

With ISIS folding, refugees returning to their homes, stability taking root over large swathes of Syria, and successful de-escalation zones holding over parts of the country, it appears that only Netanyahu (along with terror groups like ISIS) is left unhappy in the region. Yet Syria continues on its current hopeful trajectory and path to recovery.

3 Comments

  1. Iran is hell-bent on Israel’s destruction & won’t stop until they are stopped. Obama knew this well and that’s why he made sure to finance the terror supporting Iranian government. The reason that Iran will be totally destroyed is because Israel belongs to Yahweh and the Lord will destroy its enemies. Abrahm was promised the land by Yahweh who formed a covenant with him. The Lord says, “You, Israel, are my servant. Jacob, I chose you. You are from the family of my friend, Abraham. You were in a faraway country, but I reached out to you. I called you from that faraway place. I said, ‘You are my servant.’ I chose you, and I have not rejected you. Don’t worry — I am with you. Don’t be afraid—I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. Look, some people are angry with you, but they will be ashamed and disgraced. Your enemies will be lost and disappear. You will look for the people who were against you, but you will not be able to find them. Those who fought against you will disappear completely. I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand. And I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid! I will help you. People of Israel, descendants of Jacob, you may be weak and worthless, but do not be afraid. I myself will help you.” This is what the Lord himself says. “I am the Holy One of Israel, the one who saves you. Look, I have made you like a new threshing board with many sharp teeth. You will trample mountains and crush them. You will make the hills like chaff. You will throw them into the air, and the wind will blow them away and scatter them. Then you will be happy in the Lord. You will be proud of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 41: 8-16)?

    The Bible refers to significant points that we can identify – the Sea of Kinnereth being the Sea of Galilee; the Salt Sea being the Dead Sea; and places such as Gaza and Sidon, where there is no doubt about the ancient location. Archaeology has given us proof. What we can say is that the Promised Land stretches from the Red Sea, around Eilat, as a southern boundary, to the Mediterranean at a point south of Gaza and extending from there up the coastline at least as far north as Sidon in Lebanon, to form the western boundary, then north to the Euphrates River, to form the northern boundary, and down the line of the Jordan River to form the eastern boundary. This area would encompass the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, also called Judea and Samaria, and Gaza. Certain world leaders may be looking for the establishment of a Palestinian state separate from Israel, but God’s Word makes a different judgment. God says that this is the land that He promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To ensure that there is no doubt about the land’s boundaries, Scripture also indicates the different groups of people that occupy it: “…the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” We know that these peoples lived in what is today Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, part of Asian Turkey, and of course all of Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank. This fact adds another dimension to the promise: the Lord is giving to Abram’s descendants land that is currently occupied by other nations! The question arises of how Israel will acquire this land – will she have to invade and conquer other countries? The text in Genesis 15 offers no indication that Israel will have to fight and conquer; therefore, the logical answer is that the Lord will see that the promise is fulfilled. The boundaries of the land promised to Abram’s descendants is clearly indicated in the Bible, yet we know that Israel has never had control of the full extent of this land. The Lord never said when it will happen, but He does say that it will happen. I believe that after the final battles described in the Bible, when all the nations will rise against Israel, with the return of Jesus, Israel will prevail. The promise will be fulfilled with the establishment of His Messianic kingdom. If He has fulfilled every promise given thus far, we can be certain that He will fulfill those that remain – including all the land promised to Abram’s descendants. Scripture shows that God has a dispute with those who are involved in “dividing up My land” [Joel 3:1-2].
    Map – http://chosenpeople.com/main/images/stories/map2.jpg

    • You do know that Abraham was a black man don’t you; That’s why the bible says in Rev. 2;9 and 3;9 That those who say they are Jews are not but do lie and are the synagogue of satan!

      • Revelation 2:9, “I know your troubles, and I know that you are poor, but really you are rich! I know the insults you have suffered from people who say they are Jews. But they are not true Jews. They are a group that belongs to Satan.” Albert it appears that you’ve chosen to focus on a single verse of Scripture and take that out of context, which you repeated with Revelation 3:9. First let’s consider the Church of Smyrna’s location – Smyrna was a port city about thirty-five miles northwest of Ephesus in modern day Turkey. Turks are dark olive complected, but not black. (of curse you could make them black in your own mind, if that suits your agenda) Jesus’ message to the Church at Smyrna affirms its suffering at the hands of “religious Jews” who were not true spiritual Jews at all. The Holy Spirit referred to those people as being of the synagogue of Satan, because they were not the genuine article and were under the influence of Satan instead of the Holy Spirit. I suggest that it’s reaching light years to try and twist these verses to say something other than they are saying. The Church at Smyrna, just as in churches across America today had its share of evil people “pretending” to be true believers. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:)

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