Nov 14,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – EDITORIAL
Allegations that Iran plans to establish a permanent military base in Syria fuel the already high tensions over Iranian influence in Syria and across the region.
Western sources claim that the Iranian military established a compound near Al Kiswah, some 14 kilometres south of Damascus, a move that made the Israeli prime minister say “Israel will not let that happen”.
Israel needs little excuse to launch an attack on Iran, accused by many in the region of wanting to establish its influence, even hegemony, in the Middle East.
Iran has been a reliable backer of the regime of the Syrian president. A significant number of IRGC members has been fighting in Syria, so that explains their big presence in the country, but are they preparing to remain?
The Israeli prime minister, who was quick to tweet that “as ISIS [Daesh] moves out, Iran moves in”, told BBC recently that “Iran wants to establish itself militarily in Syria, right next to Israel”, a move his country will not let happen, and raised concerns that Iran seeks to use Syrian ports and bases for its submarines.
The “right next to Israel” is of course debatable. The base Iran is accused of building in Syria is some 50 kilometres from the Golan Heights. Seeing that the plateau was occupied and annexed by Israel, it is still, by international law, occupied territory, not Israel’s, but things being as they are, Israel claims the high moral ground while beating the drums of war.
Hopefully the international community will step in to prevent an escalation and the start of another conflict that could easily engulf the entire Middle East.
No country in the region, Iran included, should act in a manner that further complicates the situation in Syria and the rest of Middle East.
Moscow is in a position to stop moves by Iran that could sabotage its own peace plan for Syria and bring more devastating war to this Arab country.