News & Politics

IDF Official: Response to Future Iranian Aggression Will be More Forceful

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. (Ronen Zvulun, pool via AP)

Israel’s strike against Iranian targets in Syria yesterday is only the beginning and future actions against Iran will be even more forceful.

That’s the message coming from the Israeli government a day after Israeli F-16s pummeled Iranian targets deep in Syria.

A senior defense official warned that “the next incident is only a matter of time.”

Jerusalem Post:

A senior official in Israel’s defense establishment warned on Sunday that Iran is determined to entrench itself in Syria and will continue trying to attack Israel. Israel’s responses to these further violations, he added, will be even more forceful.

“As far as we are concerned, the event is over but the Iranians are determined to continue to establish themselves in Syria and the next incident is only a matter of time,” he said, warning that Israel does not rule out that that the Islamic Republic will continue to try to attack Israel.

[…]

“We do not know what the mission of the Iranian drone was, it is their most advanced drone and they did not expect our radar to detect its penetration into our territory,” the senior official stated. “Our aerial freedom will not be harmed. We will continue to destroy targets.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Yesterday we proved again that in the moments in which we are tested, we know how to unite, repel our enemies and protect our country.”

Speaking before the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that the unchangeable “rules of action” are that “we will continue to harm anyone who attempts to harm us.” He said that this was Israel’s policy in the past, and remains its policy now.

“Yesterday we proved again that in the moments in which we are tested, we know how to unite, repel our enemies and protect our country,” he said.

The Israelis are downplaying the significance of the strike and the fact that it was confirmed the Israeli F-16 was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire. This was the first confirmed instance where Israeli and Iranian forces clashed openly.

But the idea that the Israeli-Iran war has now begun is a stretch. Israel showed Iran how terribly vulnerable their assets are in Syria and that it’s not a good idea to get too comfortable there. Iran appears determined to establish a presence in Syria as a forward base to attack Israel. This, the Israelis simply cannot allow under any circumstances. It would be like JFK allowing Soviet missiles to be based in Cuba. Not going to happen.

While one might think that an unarmed drone flying in Israeli territory is not really a big deal, to the Israelis, it was the camel’s nose inside the tent. The slightest offensive move by Iran toward Israel must be countered with overwhelming force.

That it raises the possibility of war with Iran is a risk that the Israelis are apparently ready to run.