Monday, July 17, 2017

Israel: Syrian truce plan license for Iran foothold

Israel waited 10 days from Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s announcement in Hamburg of their ceasefire plan for southwestern Syria along the borders with Jordan and Syria, before proclaiming its “total opposition” to the plan. On Sunday, July 16, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced publicly, after meeting President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, that the plan was unacceptable.
 An official in the party that accompanied him to the Elysée Palace explained to reporters that Israel objected to a truce that could be used as a vehicle for “perpetuating” Iran’s presence in Syria and on its own border. Iran is not just sending advisers to Syria, the official said, but large-scale military forces to establish in Syria an airbase for Iranian aircraft and a naval base for Iran's navy.
“This already changes the picture in the region from what it has been up to now," he said.
According to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, Israel was finally galvanized into making an unqualified stand against the US-Russian ceasefire plan by discovering how it was being implemented: When last week Russian troops moved into Daraa in southern Syria to police the ceasefire in that embattled town, the Syrian army withdrew – but the Hizballah forces fighting with Assad’s army did not.

A few days later, Hizballah’s elite Kalibat Radwan brigade was seen digging in at Daraa, 1km from the Jordanian border, and preparing to resume the offensive at a moment’s notice for driving Syrian rebels from the town.

This was despite the assurances Washington and Moscow had broadcast that the departure of Iranian and Hizballah forces from the ceasefire zones would be ascertained. READ MORE