Netanyahu Orders Army to Keep Israel Away From Tensions in Gulf

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 09:15
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Israel’s security chiefs to do their utmost to ensure that it is not dragged into the fraught situation in the Gulf between Iran on one hand and the United States and Arab countries on the other hand, according to security sources in Tel Aviv.

His orders were given during a session attended by Netanyahu as the defense minister, Chief of Staff of the Israeli army Aviv Kochavi, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, Head of the National Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat, Head of the Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman, Military Intelligence Chief Major General Tamir Hayman and other senior officials.

Netanyahu was briefed with the situation in the Gulf, the fueled conflict and the extent to which Iran is putting efforts to involve Israel.

He told the top officers “to take steps to separate Israel from these developments” and to work “at all cost” to keep Israel out of the situation.

“Iran is behind recent violence in the region, including the attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the Houthi attack on Saudi oil infrastructures,” sources quoted Israeli security services as saying, adding that the purpose of these attacks is to deliver a message that it is capable of stopping the flow of oil from the Gulf.

According to the Israeli sources, Iranians have recently transferred a large number of rockets to the groups they support in Iraq and Syria.

Reports indicated that Head of IRGC’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani ordered all the troops in Iraq to prepare for the conflict.

“Iran would show its strength to deter Trump from entering a war,” said Israeli political source, noting that it tried to send a message telling the US that the war against Iran would not be like the US invasion of Iraq.

Iran, meanwhile, avoided direct intervention in these attacks, preferring to use its proxies.

“In case a comprehensive war is waged, the IRGC will directly intervene, and Israel believes it will be at the forefront of Iranian targets,” sources said.

According to these sources, Netanyahu knows that avoiding war is something difficult and that he has no chance of keeping Israel out of the list of Iranian key targets.

Israeli observers pointed out that the recent bombing in Syria, which took place last Friday and Saturday and did not result in any Iranian or Syrian casualties, was attributed to Israeli air force.

They asserted that this was deliberate, and its goal was to warn rather than strike.

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