Israel’s defense minister told reporters this week that his country will not tolerate Iran obtaining a foothold in Syria, but a new report suggests his comments are too little, too late.
During a visit to Israel’s northern border, Avigdor Lieberman sent a very direct warning to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, saying:
"We will not allow a Shi’ite and Iranian [presence] to be established in Syria and will not permit all of Syria to be turned into a front-line position against the State of Israel.
Anyone who doesn’t understand this will find it worth his while to understand. We retain absolute freedom of action. The only considerations guiding us are considerations regarding the security of the State of Israel."
Media attention of late has focused on a new Iranian military base near Damascus with many reports suggesting Israel may take military action to destroy it before it can be completed. But, the security and intelligence journalists at DEBKA have revealed information that perhaps Iran already has an established foothold in Syria from which it can attack Israel.
The organization published Friday a list of no less than 13 Iranian military bases already established inside Syria, giving their exact locations. It notes, in light of this extensive level of deployment inside Syria, that any talk of removing Iran’s military presence from the country is “by now unrealistic without a major upheaval.”
But that’s exactly the trajectory the DEBKA report suggests the Middle East is headed. In a separate report, the organization notes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who will reportedly ascend to the throne next week with his father’s abdication, has called for a meeting of Syrian opposition leaders for Nov. 28 in order to “create a powerful new bloc against Bashar Assad and his Iranian sponsors.”