Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Munich security conference on Sunday: “We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself, if needed.” Holding aloft a piece of the Iranian drone which Israel captured over its air space, he stressed that Tehran was the world’s greatest threat and “Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around its neck.” Taunting Iran’s’ foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the audience, he asked,” Do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours,” he said. “You can take a message back to Iran. Do not test Israel’s resolve.” This drone violated Israel’s sovereignty and posed a threat to our security, he said “We destroyed it and its control center in Syria.”
The nuclear deal, he went on to argue, had “unleashed a dangerous tiger in the region and beyond … Iran is devouring huge swathes of the Middle East” through its Shi’ite proxies. Netanyahu warned of the dangers posed to the world by a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran’s aggression will be unchecked and it will encompass the entire world.
Tehran wants to dominate Syria and move its bases and army into Israel’s back yard, acquire Mediterranean naval bases, and transfer tens of thousands of Shiite fighters to Syria. “I said we would not let this happen and have backed up words with deeds,” he said. “Israel will continue to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria and would continue to prevent it from crossing red lines,” he continued.
DEBKAfile’s military sources add that Netanyahu had in mind the Iraqi Shiite army that Iran is preparing to send into Syria in two months’ time. The prime minister did not refer to Russia’s complicity in Iran’s plans.
After delivering his remarks, the prime minister was asked about the chances of a military escalation in light of the drone incident. “It’s up to Iran. Iran is changing the ground rules,” he replied before producing a map which he had marked in red and the black to symbolize ISIS and the Iranian influence respectively. “The unfortunate thing is that as ISIS compresses, Iran moves in.”