Days after top US defense officials warned they had credible intelligence of a major Iran threat against American troops and interests in the region (though as usual the anonymously sourced 'evidence' was not forthcoming), a top Israeli military leader has put the region on notice, suggesting the possibility of yet more 'preemptive strikes' on Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and even possibly Iran itself.
Israel’s ultra-hawkish defense minister Naftali Bennett has warned the IDF is ready to give Iran its own 'Vietnam' in new remarks vowing the Islamic Republic will never get a firm foothold there.
Addressing an Israeli conference on Sunday, Bennett further stated “it is no secret that Iran is trying to establish a ring of fire around our country, it is already based in Lebanon and is trying to establish itself in Syria, Gaza and more.”
“If we are determined, we can take Iran’s aggression forces out of Syria. They have nothing to look for on the borders of the State of Israel. We say to Iran: Syria will become your Vietnam. If you do not come out, you will bleed because we will work tirelessly until you take the forces of aggression out of Syria,” he stated.
Israel a mere weeks ago conducted what was said to be one of the largest single missile and air attacks against 'Iranian targets' in and around Damascus throughout the entirety of the war. And in a worrisome prospect for a continued broader war, the Israeli defense minister urged, "We need to move from containment to attack.”
As Tehran continues to blow through uranium enrichment caps agreed to as part of the increasingly defunct 2015 JCPOA (despite recent European efforts to save it through INSTEX and other sanctions-circumventing trade alternatives), the Israeli defense chief is warning that Tel Aviv may be left with no choice but to take action.
However, Naftali Bennett has also reportedly created deep tensions within the defense ministry and among the military command based on his near daily boasting about "killing Iranians," which some generals fear is unnecessarily stoking tensions and security concerns.
When asked late last week about the alarming scenario of a major Israeli preemptive direct attack on Iran, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz also echoed Bennett's consistent confrontational tone.
“It’s an option. We will not allow Iran to produce or obtain nuclear weapons. If the only option left to us is the military option, we’ll act militarily,” Katz told Italy's Corriere Della Sera daily.
At the very least this likely means we will soon witness heightened Israeli engagement in Syria; however, it remains unclear what the Russians have stated behind the scenes in terms of 'red lines' imposed on Tel Aviv. Moscow has repeatedly warned Syria could once again turn into a major international military showdown through irresponsible offensive actions by Israel.