Netanyahu To Putin: Iran Must Leave Syria Or "We Will Act"

For Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive.  "Let the Sunni evil prevail," they say.

Israel is threatening to escalate military action in Syria against perceived Iranian interests. This week Netanyahu declared, "we will act when necessary according to our red lines" while hinting he prefers ISIS presence in Syria as opposed to Iran aligned fighters at his border. This comes as ISIS is now crumbling, and at a time when most world leaders of nations driving the external proxy war in Syria have toned down their rhetoric regarding the future fate of the Assad government.

After years of a regular drumbeat of bellicose statements emanating from the West and repeat talk of "Assad must go", "red lines", and years of constantly failed predictions that "regime demise is imminent," there now seems a general acceptance that the Syrian government has emerged victorious in the 6-year long conflict. Not only did Trump this summer order the closure of the CIA's regime change program which targeted Assad, but it appears even Gulf nations - lately embroiled in their own inter-GCC political civil war and airing of dirty laundry - have been forced to temper their rhetoric. Turkey also has reluctantly shifted its priorities in Syria after its well-known and documented regime change machinations - which included facilitating the transfer of tens of thousands of foreign jihadists (the core of which joined ISIS) across its southern border - have largely backfired. International media too, generally reflecting undeniable geopolitical realities, have bluntly headlined stories with "And the winner is: Assad" and "We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria" and "How Assad is Winning".

But it appears Benjamin Netanyahu didn't get the memo. On Wednesday the Israeli Prime Minister told Russian President Putin that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria and further signaled willingness to go to war in Syria to curtail Iranian influence. "Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon," Netanyahu told Putin, adding further that, "We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran's continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat."

Image source: Sputnik International

The two leaders met for three hours in the Black Sea resort of Sochi - their sixth such meeting since September 2015. Putin did not respond publicly to the provocative words on Syria during the portion of the meeting open to reporters. Netanyahu later told Israeli reporters covering the meeting that:

Bringing Shi'ites into the Sunni sphere will surely have many serious implications both in regard to refugees and to new terrorist acts. We want to prevent a war and that's why it's better to raise the alarm early in order to stop deterioration.

Netanyahu's reference to "the Sunni sphere" came after he summarized the closed door part of the discussion as dealing with "Iran’s attempt to establish a foothold in Syria in the places where ISIS was defeated and is leaving." Netanyahu's comments are a reflection of an extremely disturbing view which has become so prominent within Israeli defense circles as to be considered establishment: that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. This is to say that continued ISIS presence in Syria and Iraq is a viable option and possibly better than pro-Iranian or even Russian spheres of influence in the Israeli prime minister's mind. Of course, this "lesser evil is ISIS" view is nothing new. In Israel, for example, there are even "respected" think tanks tied in with major public universities which openly call for allowing ISIS to thrive in Syria.

The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, for example, which is one of Israel’s most internationally visible and influential think tanks (and located on the campus of Israel's second largest university), published a policy paper last year which made a direct appeal to Israel’s Western partners with the unambiguous message contained in the essay’s title: "The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake." Author and Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre, Efraim Inbar, argued against a Western military campaign to destroy ISIS while envisioning the group as an effective tool in sowing terror and chaos in Iran and Syria, with the added benefit of keeping Russia bogged down in defense of the Assad government. Inbar spelled this out clearly:

The continuing existence of IS [Islamic State] serves a strategic purpose. The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.

While acknowledging the Islamic State's utter genocidal brutality, the paper concluded:

The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity.

policy paper published by an influential Israeli think tank which contracts with NATO argues that ISIS is a "useful tool" for Israel's strategic defense. 

Various current and former Israeli defense officials have echoed this point of view over the years, including former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado's Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, "the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias." Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was "the lesser evil". Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, "a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut" and establishment of "an Iranian radical empire."

Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren: "Let the Sunni evil prevail."

Of course, such a perspective also tends to assume that Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty is non-existent (but instead seen as a mere extension of Iran and Russia), even as both countries now stand in better position in terms of operational sovereignty with Syria having liberated Aleppo and Iraq having regained Mosul. And that's perhaps why there's increasingly uninhibited truth-telling in Israel, the Gulf, and D.C. these days: the party is over in terms of the hoped for regime change in Syria. Perhaps now there's simply more blunt and open talk wherein assumptions are laid bare as introspective strategists realign their talking points while still eyeing the ultimate neocon prize of regime change in Iran.

Though still rarely acknowledged in international reports, Israel has engaged in overt acts of war in Syria since at least 2012 and 2013, when it launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus. In 2016 Israel went so far as to target Damascus International Airport, killing a well-known Hezbollah commander. In a significant admission last week, the head of Israel's air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years. Earlier this summer Netanyahu himself was caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least "a dozen times". And this is to say nothing of Israel's covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria's south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel's "dangerous game" in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Israeli plans for rolling back Iranian presence in Syria came mid-summer of this year, when Trump agreed to a southwest Syria 'de-escalation zone' with Russia, which would necessarily involve Iranian cooperation. The agreement implicitly acknowledges Iran's troop presence in Syria as legitimate, and as reported at the time further "ignored Israel’s positions almost completely." But analysts are in general agreement that the US-Russia brokered deal has been relatively successful and a step in the right direction. Even the Reuters report on this week's Netanyahu-Putin meeting seemed to acknowledge the deal's effectiveness:

Russia has so far shown forbearance toward Israel, setting up a military hotline to prevent their warplanes or anti-aircraft units clashing accidentally over Syria.

But given that Israel has already invested itself so heavily in the push to remove Assad while routinely launching attacks on Hezbollah with impunity, it is unlikely to disengage from Syria anytime soon, even as close Western allies publicly change their tune. Netanyahu's brazen words to Putin that 'preventative' escalation in Syria to destroy what Israeli defense officials commonly call the "Iranian land bridge" (or the so-called 'Shia crescent') may in reality be empty diplomatic posturing, yet it does reveal increased Israeli desperation as even the West is seeming to ignore Netanyahu's repeatedly declared "red lines".

Regardless, Netanyahu remains the Syria regime change lobby's best hope. Already, within less than 24 hours of Netanyahu's Russia visit, neocon columnists are calling for him to unilaterally "take action":

If he really expects others , especially Putin, that he means business this time, he will have to go beyond words and into actions, as clearly Israel could not and should not allow Iran to turn South Syria into another South Lebanon.

With ISIS folding, refugees returning to their homes, stability taking root over large swathes of Syria, and successful de-escalation zones holding over parts of the country, it appears that only Netanyahu (along with terror groups like ISIS) is left unhappy in the region. Yet Syria continues on its current hopeful trajectory and path to recovery.


jeff montanye new game Thu, 08/24/2017 - 07:16 Permalink

it appears that only Netanyahu (along with terror groups like ISIS) is left unhappy in the region.  does that get through to the sheeple?  isis is getting to be israel's closest ally and vice versa?netanyahu, on his record, is not a risk taking war maker.  he should be figuring out how best to give the palestinians israeli citizenship.the doors are starting to close for the zionist entity. 

In reply to by new game

Moe Howard jeff montanye Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:00 Permalink

Now that all the Jews that want to be in Israel are there, and the few left in Europe that can be scared out have been, where does the Jewish population look to in order to expand? The Jews that are in the USA like it here, they are on top and attached like a tick to a dog. Meanwhile the non-Jew population in Israel proper and the occupied territories has a much higher birthrate. I suspect the Jews will be a minority in Israel within 30 years.

In reply to by jeff montanye

Justin Case Moe Howard Thu, 08/24/2017 - 16:59 Permalink

Today just under half of the world Jewry population is domiciled within the 50 states and its territories.  More significantly, Jews occupy a highly disproportionate number of leadership positions throughout American society.  Government and politics, banking and commerce, medicine and law, academia and science, media and movie production are all areas of an incommensurate concentration of Jewish power and domination.Even the vast majority of comedians, who have entertained America for decades, came through the Borscht Belt in the Catskills as did beet borscht as well as lochs and bagels. Likewise, their many Yiddish idioms and colloquialisms, Jewish customs and traditions, have become a part of American culture.  All of these have been further disseminated throughout English-speaking societies everywhere, over many decades, by Hollywood and the Mainstream Media.  In this way many are now acutely aware of the pervasiveness of Jewish influence in the USA and abroad.

In reply to by Moe Howard

neversink Justin Case Thu, 08/24/2017 - 22:52 Permalink

How much do you get paid to post your lies:Yes, Israel is not perfect, but it even treats Palestinians in need to free medical care, while the same Palestinians, in universities that Israel built for them in Gaza and the West Bank, only are taught to "Kill the Jew." You are totally morally repugnant and obviously the "insane" one. You accuse others here of being insane, but you are a pathetic liar and an apologist for cruel jihadists. That is total insanity. Of course Israel is a moral cesspool to you. You obviously have disdain for Israel's laws and constitution that protects the rights of women, gays, and minorities. You don't like Israel's multicultural society where blacks, Arabs and Jews work and play together. You don't like the fact that Israel is the only country in the MidEast that allows freedom of speech and protects gays and women and minorities. You don't like the fact that Israel allows anyone to practice any religion while all of Israel's Muslim neighboring nations are murdering Christians and burning down their churches. These Arab nations got rid of their Jews during the last 70 years. When a disaster happens somewhere around the world, Israel often responds with much more aid than other nations. In the recent earthquake in Nepal, Israel was the only nation to set up a field hospital. And long after other nations exited from nepal, only Israel stayed for months after. But of course Iran claimed the only reason Israel went to Nepal was to steal babies, and I am sure you believe this. Yes, to you, Israel, because of its free and open society, is a moral cesspool. I am now certain that you consider Israel's Arab and Muslim neighbors of high moral character particularly when the murder of gays and infidels occurs at high numbers. I am sure you love the high moral character of the workplace and sexuall slavery that goes on in some of the Muslim nations in the MidEast. I am sure you wax poetic about morals when women in Islamic countries are thrown in prison and beaten because they were raped. Yes, of course Israel is a moral cesspool to you, because all you believe in is an intolerant society. A tolerant society like Israel is just immoral to you.So how can you stand to use a computer or a cell phone or tablet to post your drivel, since much of it, hardware and software, was designed, invented, and maybe even produced in Israel?Same thing when you go to the doctor and get diagnosed? Much of the modern diagnostic equipment, safer drugs, biotechnology was invented in Israel. You shouldn't go to the doctor. Same thing with so many breakthroughs that make your life easier and better. But to you, Israel is evil.... Have you taken a look at the CEOs of most banks. They are NOT Jewish. Sorry to disappoint you. You are just another evil lying hateful ZH poster. I hope you emjoy your life in the gutter thinking you are so self important. 

In reply to by Justin Case

Justin Case jeff montanye Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:11 Permalink

"This is to say that continued ISIS presence in Syria and Iraq is a viable option and possibly better than pro-Iranian or even Russian spheres of influence in the Israeli prime minister's mind."This Netanyahu frankly doesn't give a rat's ass about the rest of the world or the deaths that ISIS causes. Israel supports ISIS and even gets organs from the NAZI sympathizing regime of Ukraine. The dead civilians of regions that Ukraine bombs, they harvest organs of those dead for Isreali hospitals. Wounded ISIS fighters are cared for by isreali regime. As far as Israel is concerned every goyim on earth is disposable. Israel is also breaking international law of shooting prisoners. Palestinians live in the worlds largest open air prison and are constantly shot to death by the IDF. Even teen age children are shot dead. Israel continues the land grab unabated. The earth's cancer.

In reply to by jeff montanye

Justin Case veritas semper… Thu, 08/24/2017 - 16:53 Permalink

Our close "ally and only democracy in ME.Israel was mostly run by gangsters from the Stern Gang onward. Democracy my ass!In title only, like merica. You get to vote an unaccountable Gov't that gets elected b/c they were the best liar. Nothing different than Obama. Right wing, left wing, two wings of the same bird.Concentrate on the disintegrating democracy in merica. It's a corporatocracy evolving to a police state. Masses want socialism. merica was sold out by the gov't to China for profits. Now people are scratching their skulls and blaming China for taking their jobs? Look at yoar leaders since Nixon, who started the merican decline, when merica defaulted.

In reply to by veritas semper…

Joiningupthedots RagnarRedux Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:52 Permalink

There are no real Jews nor has there been since AD 67 after the Romans dispersed them.The current horde of land theives in Palestine are almost exclusively  a bunch of Khazarian, East European and latterly North Amrican (orginally European)DNA mix.A leading Professor at Tel Aviv university has said as much;

In reply to by RagnarRedux

Joiningupthedots RagnarRedux Thu, 08/24/2017 - 18:34 Permalink

Deductive means you can reason something through withought having to experience it.Inductive means you require to experience it to validate it.Example;Deductive: You can accept that being shot is painful witout being shotInductive:  You must get shot to believe that it is painfulWhat has this to do with AD 67, plastic Jews and academics who are far more educated than you in the ways of Khazaria?

In reply to by RagnarRedux

TheReplacement Xibalba Thu, 08/24/2017 - 13:01 Permalink

According to some, the Hebrew Jews were wiped out a long time ago or converted to other religions.  The people you see today are from southern Russia/Turkey and are not semitic.  They are not Jews.  They are only Jew-ish.It will be interesting and telling to see how Putin and Russia react to a large scale attack by Israel on Syria. 

In reply to by Xibalba