Speaking in rare interview with London-based Elaf news site, defense minister continues to talk tough on Iran, vowing to prevent Iranian military presence in Syria, ‘whatever the cost’ and to ‘not sit idly by while I watch Iran try to transfer advanced weapons close to the Golan Heights.’
The rare interview with a Saudi newspaper came months after IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot also spoke to Elaf in November last year, calling for the creation of an international coalition against Iran. Other Israeli officials have also been interviewed by the paper.
“We haven’t intervened in the war in Syria since it began seven years ago. The Iranians, Hezbollah, other militias, Russia and ISIS are there. Everyone is fighting each other and I wish them all success there,” Lieberman quipped, before warning of Tehran’s attempts to set up military bases in the war-torn country.
“We are not intervening, but Iran is trying to establish bases in Syria and arm them with advanced weapons,” he said “From there it wants to attack us. I cannot sit idly by while I watch Iran do that close to the Golan Heights, while it supports Hezbollah, Syria and Lebanon.”The Syrian T-4 airbase that was attacked recently, allegedly by Israel, contained an advanced Iranian air-defense system that was recently installed, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.Reiterating the point, the defense minister continued his tough talk against Iranian regime.
Lieberman also touched on diplomatic relations developing between Jerusalem and other Arab countries in the region. “There are quiet and and in-depth conversations with a few Arab countries. These negotiations are moving in the right direction,” he declared.
“There’s about twenty-five percent left and they are more difficult, in my opinion. With the leadership in the Arab world the discussion is simple, but things are harder between the nations. I call on all Arab states: Come with us, with the start-up nation, with the high-tech technology. With your mens and economic power, we can create a change at the roots in the Middle East and the world,” he concluded.
An Israeli-Iranian showdown has loomed since February 10, when Israel said an armed drone sent from a Syrian base penetrated its air space. Israel blew up the drone and carried out a raid on Syrian air defences in which one of its F-16 jets was downed.