Iran continues to inch closer to conflict with Israel, both through its proximity in Syria and Lebanon and through its escalating war of words against the Jewish state and the United States. The Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor looks at the growing rumblings of open conflict between Israel and the Islamic Republic:
The rumblings of an open conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria are growing louder. When President Trump launched yet another one-off missile salvo against the Syrian regime, it came on the heels of a suspected April 9 Israeli strike on an Iranian facility at a Syrian air base, which drew howls of condemnation from the regime's patrons in Moscow and Tehran.
Though Israel didn't acknowledge responsibility for the attack, it fit a familiar pattern. Since 2012, the Israelis are believed to have launched more than 100 strikes on suspected Iranian-linked positions in Syria. Israeli officials privately argue that these measures are necessary to prevent a permanent Iranian threat on their borders and stymie the flow of weaponry to Iran's Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.
“No matter the price, we will not allow a noose to form around us,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio over the weekend. But he cautioned against talk of outright hostilities. “I hope not," he said when asked whether war was imminent. “I think that our primary role is to prevent war, and that requires concrete, real deterrence as well as readiness to act..."
“I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war. But I do believe that, unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the U.S. support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind,” Zarif said.
Still, Zarif warned that Israel was playing a risky game. “They should expect that if they continue to violate territorial integrity of other states, there'll be consequences," he said. “The easiest answer would be to stop — to stop these acts of aggression, to stop these incursions..."