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US & Israel to jointly counter Iran’s influence in Mideast by dividing responsibilities, Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennet  

Tel Aviv: Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennet announced that ‘Countering the Iranian influence in the Middle East is the primary objective for the United States and Israel. Both countries have divided the responsibilities for the purpose. The United States will counter Iran in Iraq while Israel will counter Iran in Syria.’ Defence Minister Bennet said, ‘The Israeli attacks will not stop unless Iran is expelled from Syria,’ thereby confirming the Israeli attacks on Iranian bases in Syria.   

Last week, Defence Minister Bennet visited the United States. During his visit to the Pentagon, the US Defence Headquarters, Bennet held discussions with US Secretary for Defence Mark Esper on Iran, Syria and other issues in the Middle East. The US Secretary of Defence and Israeli Defence Minister expressed concerns over the strong influence Iran has created in Iraq and Syria. Furthermore, Bennet stated that the United States and Israel also agreed on sharing the responsibility for ending Iran’s sphere of influence.   

At the same time, the Israeli Defence Minister accepted the responsibility for the attacks carried out on three military bases near the Syrian capital of Damascus. ‘Israel has initiated a massive campaign against the Iranian influence in Syria. The objective is to weaken Iran by attacking its military bases, air defence systems, missiles, Iranian rebels and Iran-backed groups,’ Bennet said.   

Defence Minister Bennet explained the Israeli position behind the attacks on Iranian locations in Syria. ‘There is no point in spending energy in fighting the eight tentacles of the octopus. The head of the octopus will always remain secured, in this kind of conflict. Therefore, instead of fighting the tentacles, you must suffocate the head of the octopus, which means the right strategy will be directly attacking Iran’s strengths. It does not require engaging in an all-out war with Iran tomorrow. The appropriate approach will be attacking Iran’s core strengths just as it was done during the cold war between the United States and the USSR,’ Bennet said.   

Israel’s Defence Minister has warned that ‘As per foreign media, 23 Iranians were killed in the attack on the Iranian base in Syria. The number is significant. Israel’s attacks will continue till Syria becomes Vietnam for Iran.’ At the same time, it is vital from Israel’s security point of view to attack the Iranian influence in Israel’s neighbour Syria, Bennet claimed.   

In an interview to an Israeli newspaper, Bennet clarified that ‘It’s like a contiguous puzzle — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. Imagine that all of these countries are connected with a single water pipe. Only the water is rockets and terrorists. Therefore, destroying the pipe will curb Iran’s influence. Attacking the Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq thus becomes crucial.’   

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defence Minister highlighted that attacking Iran-backed groups in countries under Iran’s influence was easier than entering into direct conflict with Iran. We are against the strategy which involves sending the Israeli troops to fight Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon respectively, Bennet claimed. Moreover, Bennet drew attention to the fact that Israel was required to risk the lives of its soldiers in such operations. 

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