Iran is getting closer to the Israeli border, but Israel will not compromise its national security, so the skirmishes between the two nations are more than just a matter of simple messaging, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., a member of the chamber's Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday.
"Israel will defend itself when it has a perceived real risk," Cardin told MSNBC on Thursday. "What Iran is doing getting closer and closer to the Israeli border, Israel will not compromise its national security. So, I think what you are seeing here may be more than messaging."
It is hoped there is not a full-out conflict between the two countries, Cardin said, but he thinks Israel will continue to take steps to ensure Iran is not able to affect its security,
The Israeli military Thursday said it attacked almost all of Iran's military installations in neighboring Syria, after an Iranian rocket barrage hit the occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday. The United States has condemned Iran's attacks, and said it supports Israel's "right to act in self-defense."
Iran's presence in Syria is "disconcerting. It's unacceptable," Cardin said. "When they are firing missiles at our allies, it becomes an issue that has to be dealt with very seriously."
Israel, however, does have the "full capacity to protect itself," and is not asking for help from the United States, Cardin pointed out.
"I think in this situation let's allow Israelis to make the call about what they think is necessary," Cardin said. "We have found in the Middle East that there are very few areas where the military alone will solve a problem. This is not an area where we want to escalate a military conflict. We want to make it clear that Israel has a right to defend itself. As we deal with the problems in Syria, let's not give Iran a foothold in that country where they could attack other countries."
Cardin also spoke about the return of three detainees from North Korea to the United States, calling it a victory, but not only for President Donald Trump.
"It is a victory to the American people whenever we can get our people back home and we want diplomacy to work in regards to illuminating nuclear threat," Cardin said. "That is all very positive and, with Donald Trump, we give him credit, but the bottom line is let's make sure we use diplomacy to end this conflict in North Korea."
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