In Brief

Israel threatens direct action against Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu’s heightened rhetoric comes a week after Israel and Iran clashed in Syria

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up his war of words with Iran, insisting that his country will act directly against Tehran if necessary.

The threat comes after Israeli attacks on Iranian military targets in Syria last weekend. 

Brandishing a charred fragment of what he claimed was a downed Iranian drone, Netanyahu told the Munich security conference: “Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around our neck.”

“We will act if necessary, not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” he said, describing the country as “the greatest threat to our world”.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus said the theatricall flourish was “vintage Benjamin Netanyahu, from a Prime Minister embattled at home with potential corruption charges looming over his head”.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the presentation “a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response”.

Proxy war

Israel “has accused Tehran of seeking a permanent military foothold in Syria”, where Iranian-backed forces support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in civil war entering its eighth year, says Reuters.

There are also concerns within Israel about the situation in Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah is part of a coalition government.

The Guardian says that “as Iran’s military role expands in Syria and Yemen and Donald Trump pushes for a more confrontational approach toward Tehran, Israel is seeking wider support for efforts to contain its regional arch-enemy”.

Iran’s growing influence across the whole of the Middle East region has prompted Israel to align more closely with Sunni Arab states, which share worries about their Shi’ite rival.

Recommended

‘Boris Johnson must not hand power over Britain back to the Blob’
Boris Johnson wearing a mask
Instant Opinion

‘Boris Johnson must not hand power over Britain back to the Blob’

Real-life Succession, Iranian football and China’s #MeToo moment
Succession: a ‘toxic joy’
Podcast

Real-life Succession, Iranian football and China’s #MeToo moment

Are we heading towards World War Three?
Vladimir Putin
In Depth

Are we heading towards World War Three?

The VP, GPs and refugees
US Vice President Kamala Harris
Podcast

The VP, GPs and refugees

Popular articles

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’
Donald and Barron Trump
Tall Tales

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’

Woman who married herself divorcing after meeting someone else
A wedding ring
Tall Tales

Woman who married herself divorcing after meeting someone else

The Week Footer Banner