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Israel Right to Stop Transfer of Arms From Iran to Hezbollah in Syria

Israel Right to Stop Transfer of Arms From Iran to Hezbollah in Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a visit to an Israeli military base near the city of Petah Tikva, on January 30, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

By Friday, 01 February 2019 03:56 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Brigadier General Hussein Salami, second in command of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, verbally threatened Israel. The threat was couched in a warning telling Israel not to attack in Syria ever again. Salami's statement was made in the aftermath of last week's Israeli attack on Iranian targets within Syria.

Salami said that if fighting broke out between Iran and Israel, it would end with Israel's destruction and it would take Iran only three days. He said that over the past few years Iran has shaped a "strategic capacity" to destroy Israel.

As quoted by Syrian state television, Salami said: "We announce that if Israel takes any action to wage a war against us, it will definitely lead to its own elimination and the freeing of occupied (Palestinian) territories." And then he added that Israel: “will not find enough graves to bury their dead."

According to the Tasnim News Service, a reliable source within Iran, the brigadier general repeated himself, almost verbatim, while speaking at a conference held in the Iranian city Mashad on Thursday.

This is not the first set of threats by Salami. In November the Iranian general teased Netanyahu saying: "practice swimming in the Mediterranean."

And then, along the same theme, General Mohammed Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, was quoted as saying that Iranian forces can and will easily switch from a defensive to offensive tactics if Iran's national security is threatened.

At a ceremony inducting Aviv Kochavi, the new head of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu used the opportunity to respond to the threats being hurled against Israel by Iranian leaders. The prime minister slapped back at Iran. He warned that Iran's role in Syria was precarious saying: "... I advise them to get out of there quickly, because we will continue our aggressive policy in the region as we've promised."

Most of this is rhetoric — but threats can have a real impact.

There has been a significant escalation of tensions between Iran and Israel, and Iran's proxy, Syria, and Israel over the past few months. The tensions increased after Israel admitted and proudly took credit for carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets and Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah. Hezbollah and Iran are allies. They are both Shiite and share a unique view of the region of Shiite control. Hezbollah is trained and supervised by Iran, they are Iran's boots on the ground in Syria. They have a shared agenda and greater goal than their mere activities in Syria. Hezbollah will return to their home base in Lebanon rejuvenated, better trained, better armed and better prepared to attack Israel.

It's all part of a game — a potentially deadly, military game. The Israeli strikes against Iran in Syria took place after Israel lured Iran into a trap that manipulated Iran into launching missiles at Israel. Once Iran launched their rocket towards Israel, Israel had the perfect pretext for retaliation against Iranian targets in Syria.

The targets Israel attacked included planes, weapon caches, and live fighting forces.

The Israeli air strikes were jarring. They shook the foundation of Iran's military hierarchy and caused Russia to sit up and take notice and then run to Israel and say stop. Only a few days after the attack a high level Russian delegation was dispatched to Jerusalem to meet with the Israeli prime minister. Their diplomatic mandate was to talk about Syria. The details we have about the meeting were supplied by Netanyahu's office.

The Israeli prime minister met with Russia's Special Envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin. According to the prime minister's office, the talks focused on Iran, Syria and "strengthening the security coordination mechanism between the militaries."

The status quo is very fragile. Israel is aggressively preventing Iran from transferring more weapons and more sophisticated systems to Hezbollah. Israel cannot permit Hezbollah to increase their weapons capabilities even slightly. To do that, to prevent the transfer of arms from Iran to Hezbollah in Syria, Israel has no choice but to strike out at Iran.

The risk that Iran might strike back is real. That counter strike could produce a larger Israeli counter strike and then a downward spiral into a larger Mid-East war.

In the Middle East they have never heard that old adage 'sticks and stone can break my bones but words will never hurt me.'

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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Israel is aggressively preventing Iran from transferring more weapons and more sophisticated systems to Hezbollah. Israel cannot permit Hezbollah to increase their weapons capabilities even slightly.
israel, syria, iran, hezbollah
Friday, 01 February 2019 03:56 PM
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