Netanyahu to tell Putin in Moscow : Iran seeks permanent foothold in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool - RTSGEFC
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool – RTSGEFC

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday to voice opposition to what the Israeli leader charged were Iran’s attempts to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria.

“In the framework of a [future peace agreement] or without one, Iran is attempting to base itself permanently in Syria – either through a military presence on the ground or a naval presence – and also through a gradual attempt to open a front against us on the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks on Sunday.

“I will express to President Putin Israel’s vigorous opposition to this possibility,” he said. Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest backer and has provided militia fighters to help him.

Russia, also Assad’s ally, is seen as holding the balance of power in achieving a deal on Syria’s future. In Geneva on Friday, the first U.N.-led Syria peace talks in a year ended without a breakthrough.

Israeli leaders have pointed to Tehran’s steadily increasing influence in the region during the six-year-old Syrian conflict, whether via its own Revolutionary Guard forces or Shi’ite Muslim proxies, especially Hezbollah.

Majority-Shi’ite Iran says its forces are in Syria to defend holy Shi’ite shrines. However, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces said in November the Islamic republic may seek to set up naval bases in Yemen or Syria in the future.

Last year, Avi Dichter, the chair of Israel’s foreign affairs and defense committee, said Iran had tried several times in the past to move forces into the Syrian Golan Heights, next to territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Dichter said those moves were repelled, but gave no details. Netanyahu has said that Israel has carried out dozens of strikes to prevent weapons smuggling to the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah via Syria. Two years ago, Israel and Russia agreed to coordinate military actions over Syria in order to avoid accidentally trading fire.

“I hope that we’ll be able to reach certain understandings to lessen the possible friction between our forces and their forces, as we’ve successfully done so far,” he said at the cabinet meeting, referring to the Russian military.

VOA

  • Rudy1947

    Lebanon is already a suburb of Tehran, probably has the same postal code and area code. Anymore build up by the Iranians in Syria will threaten Israel. Establishing the rules of engagement with Russia should eliminate any conflict between Russia and Israel.

    • Omega

      No sedentary American, Lebanon is not ‘already a suburb of Teheran’. Leave the neighborhood and travel for a change.

    • Niemals

      Majority-Shi’ite Iran says its forces are in Syria to defend holy Shi’ite shrines….
      https://youtu.be/4C2XP4YbYnE
      Can any establishing of the rules of engagement with Russia be possible due to the medical engagement of IDF?
      The fact that Putin succeeded to obtain a permanent naval base agreement in Syria, could eliminate any conflict between Russia and Israel.

      Vladimir Putin (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu like each other…..😈

  • Y K

    A total breakdown in communication between Israel and (Putinoid) Russia would be extremely dangerous, without doubt. Hopefully, Bibi is not delusional about the prospects of actually convincing Putin to change his course, and yet forceful enough to let the Kremlin thug understand that at least some red lines should not be crossed.

  • vs

    After testing missiles conducted by Iran, Trump called Netanyahu http://newsru.co.il/israel/06mar2017/trump_0010.html

  • man-o-war

    “Nutty yahoo to tell putty”? Haha, doesn’t nutty know that putty is working with Iran in Syria? You’re not telling them anything they wouldn’t already know. Fear mongering dipstick. I heard next he is going to tell Trumplethinskin that the Palestinians are looking to establish a permanent foothold in the West Bank

  • vs

    Iranian Revolutionary Guards opposite Israeli troops on 1967 ceasefire line in Golan Heights as tensions mount http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrian-civil-war-iran-irgc-israel-golan-heights-benjamin-netanyahu-vladimir-putin-meeting-basij-a7622081.html

  • vs

    Iranian Foreign Minister: “Evil Zionists Lie – Iranians Save Jews Three Times” http://www.jta.org/2017/03/12/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/iranian-foreign-minister-calls-netanyahus-purim-story-fake-history