Israel’s prime minister has expressed concern over Iranian attempts to fill the void left by the territorial retreat of ISIS, warning that it could facilitate the expansion of the terrorist group Hezbollah.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Golan Heights on Tuesday with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot for briefings with Israel’s Northern Command.
Netanyahu took the opportunity to warn of the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah, saying, “The reality here is changing rapidly. ISIS is in retreat, and Iran is trying to fill the void… Iran and Hezbollah have created a ‘northern arc’ with the help of precision weapons, and we are dealing with the new threats against the State of Israel.”
Israel has remained broadly uninvolved in the ongoing war in Syria, but has intervened periodically to prevent Iranian and Hezbollah attempts to establish military infrastructure on Israel’s Syrian border.
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also raised concerns about the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah at the UN Security Council on Tuesday night, saying, “one of the chief sources of conflict and killing in the Middle East is Iran and its partner militia, Lebanese Hezbollah.”
Haley also called the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wing “a dangerous fiction” and a “convenient excuse” that world leaders should ignore. The UK currently only proscribes the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
In a related development, Russia’s military confirmed on Monday that its military police had been deployed in Syria to monitor two safe zones, one of which is located eight miles from the Golan Heights. Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said that “the zone has been approved in accordance with the international agreements,” including with Israel.
[Photo: BICOM ]