Israel on high alert over Syria as Trump pulls US out of Iran nuclear deal

The Iran agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran, lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against the country.
Donald Trump

Syria’s civil war is being exploited by Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed its military to be on high alert and urged its civilians  in the Israeli-held Golan Heights to “unlock and ready (bomb) shelters” as US President Donald Trump announced that America is pulling out the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which is a huge blow to allies across the world.

The Iran agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran, lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.

Trump on Tuesday signed a presidential memorandum withdrawing from the 2015 agreement and he is planning to reinstall sanctions on the Iranian regime. He said in an address to the nation that he will be reinstituting the highest level of sanctions and warning any country not to help the Iranian government.

With President Donald Trump decision of shifting US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has emboldened Netanyahu to the extent that it now aggressively plans to “eliminate” Syrian President Bashar Assad if he continues to let Iran operate from Syria.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Assad needs to know it will be his end if he allows Iran to turn Syria into a military base in order to attack Israel. “It’s unacceptable that Assad sits quietly in his palace and rebuild his regime while allowing Syria to be turned into a base for attacks on Israel,” he said.

Four years of devastating drought from 2006 to 2011 in Syria triggered into a civil war and the rebel force which is now being supported by Israel and US would threaten the world in the form of terrorism.

This scenario reflects how the US is assisting Israel in pushing its plot to destabilise the Middle East further, coercively dictating Syria, Yemen to change their foreign policies and to fulfill its strategic ambition to stop the progress of Iran by canceling the nuclear deal.

Netanyahu said Israel is sharing a trove of confiscated Iranian nuclear documents with the six world powers that signed the deal, as well as other countries, in hopes of mounting further opposition to the deal.

Keeping in view the strategic importance of Syria, Israel is on a mission to annex more part of Syria after constructing illegal settlements that house 64,000 Israeli Jews in the occupied West Bank.Currently, around 750,000 Israelis live in these sizeable settlements, beyond the internationally
recognised borders of their state, on Palestinian land that Israel occupied in 1967, comprising East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

On the other hand, Iran’s influence has increased manyfold in the Middle East including in Iraq and Syria particularly in Damascus where Israel is defending its interests with targeted airstrikes and by supporting rebel militia groups arms and ammunition , along with money to buy additional armaments in southern Syria whose aim is to replace Iran’s ally Assad.

With Trump’s announcement of withdrawing from the Iran deal, Israel’s military said its forces are on high alert and is urging civilians in the Golan Heights near Syria to prepare bomb shelters.

Iran would now be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities,as Hassan Rouhani had issued a warning prior to Trump’s decision “If the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history, Trump must know that our people are united, the Zionist regime (Israel) must know that our people are united.”

Over the past few months, Israel has begun carrying out airstrikes against Syrian army facilities and targets linked to Iran and its Shi’ite militias.

Israel is upset as Assad is winning the war with the help of Iran and Russia and also bolstering its presence in southern Syria, including in the Syrian Golan Heights, which are not in Israel’s strategic or moral interests and it has therefore focused more on altering Iran’s role there…

Amman, Moscow and Washington brokered an agreement to set up a de-escalation zone in a region that includes Syrian territory neighbouring Israel which also includes a promise to keep Iran and its affiliated Shi’ite militias away from the Israeli border.

“Our priority is that our borders are secure and that means that there should be no Daesh nor Nusra nor sectarian militias,” Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi said, referring to Islamic State and a rebel force once linked to Al Qaeda, both operating in Syria.

Netanyahu told his Cabinet that Iran has delivered advanced weapons to Syria “in order to attack us both on the battlefield and on the home front.”

“We are determined to block Iran’s aggression against us even if this means a struggle. Better now than later,” he said. “We do not want escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario.”

Trump is either very likely or fairly likely to involve the U.S. in a war by shunning diplomacy and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

The situation in Syria is the “most complex security situation, a fighting situation” he has experienced in his four decades of military service, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said…

In a wide-ranging half-hour discussion with Pentagon reporters, Mattis discussed the situations in Syria with the United Nations special envoy for Syria.

“I’m meeting with Staffan de Mitura [to] see where the Geneva process is and what we can do to assist,” Mattis said. “And obviously, it’s mostly a diplomatic effort in Geneva, but it has a military element, which says we don’t allow ISIS to come back in the midst of all this.”

The United States, Mattis said, is working with all the countries in the region that are “engaged in trying to make stability a reality.”

Mattis met today with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“What we don’t want to do, now that we are on the cusp of winning on the battlefield in terms of taking down the physical caliphate, the geographic caliphate, we do not want to simply pull out before the diplomats have won the peace,” he said. “So you win the fight, and then you win the peace.”

Nearly all the nations in the region are concerned about Iranian activities, he said.

Blog: By Arti Bali,

(Senior Journalist)

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