Netanyahu to Putin: Israel Threatens to ‘Defend Itself’ if Iran ‘Lebanonizes’ Syria

Benjamin Netanyahu Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel is ready to take unilateral intervening action to prevent “Iranian influence” in the Syrian war, to which Russia responded by reaffirming their position that Iran is acting as a crucial stabilizing force in Syria.

Netanyahu claimed that Iran is attempting to “Lebanonize” Syria.

“Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat,” Netanyahu said according to Reuters. “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon.”

The Israeli PM met with the Russian President in Sochi, Russia on Wednesday.

“I made it clear to Putin that Iran’s establishing itself in Syria will not aid stability in the region, and I told him that we want to prevent a future war and therefore it is important to warn in advance,” Netanyahu said according to Haaretz.

“We will not remain apathetic. The international community knows that when we say something, we also carry it out,” the Prime Minister said.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia spoke to reporters about Israel’s remarks, and reiterated that Iran’s role has been key to making “real progress on the way to end that tragic war.”

“We know the position of Israel towards Iran, but we think that Iran in Syria is playing a very constructive role,” said Nebenzia.

In 2015 Russia joined Iran in helping the Syrian Government under President Bashar al-Assad make major progress against the advance of U.S. and Saudi-backed militants and the so-called Islamic State group, restoring many areas of the country to stability.

Russia has also worked with Iran and Turkey to negotiate and defend four de-escalation regions within Syria.

Israel however, has previously expressed fears of a victory for the Syrian Government giving Iran more regional influence. Netanyahu decided to initiate the meeting with Putin, as well as send a security team to Washington D.C. last week, when it became clear in recent weeks that the Islamic State group is rapidly collapsing and losing ground to Syrian Government, Russian, and Iranian forces.

“It is not an exaggeration to think that within a certain period of time, the Islamic State will lose its territorial footholds in Syria. There will be a much better prospect for cutting the current civil war short and preventing a future war if Iran is not in Syria,” the Prime Minister said. 

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to discuss Palestine.

(teleSUR, PC, Social Media)

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out