Israeli missiles attacked a military position in Damascus on Saturday. Syrian state television said Syria's air defense system responded to the attack, destroying two missiles. For a long time, Israel has been carrying out attacks in Damascus and near the Golan Heights to curb the power of Hezbollah and Iran. Previously, Israel claimed that Iran is building a military base near the Israeli border, but this time Israeli media said the attacks directly targeted an Iranian military base. According to the Israeli army, the Israeli air forces have carried out more than 100 attacks in the last six years, although its officials decline to comment on each attack.
Israel is concerned with Iranian expansion in Syria and Lebanon and with the claim that Hezbollah has chemical weapons as well as long-range missiles. Mostly staying out of the crisis in Syria, Israel's primary reservation was that Iran would become permanent in regime-controlled areas. Several rumors, claiming that Iran had already established military bases in Syria have been circulated. Tel Aviv has warned Iran and the Syrian regime that it will hit certain positions to protect itself from a possible attack. While Iranian and Syrian officials have remained silent, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last August, repeated his claim that Iran's ultimate aim is to destroy Israel. At the start of a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Netanyahu said Iran was turning Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel. … It is also building sites to produce precision-guided missiles toward that end, in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept."
Since the civil war broke out, Israel has supported Assad's removal and warned about the advancement of Iran and its proxies. Then U.S. President Barack Obama was reluctant to take any step against Iranian expansion. While Iran was strengthening its position in Syria, U.S.-Israeli relations ran aground due to disputes between Obama and Netanyahu. It has long been claimed that Israel was seeking an alliance against Iran and the first option was the Gulf.
This attack came the moment that Saudi Arabia made a statement, saying Lebanon's survival depended on Hezbollah's disarmament. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, in a conference in Italy, said: "Lebanon will only survive or prosper if you disarm Hezbollah. As long as you have an armed militia, you will not have peace in Lebanon."
Denouncing Iran's activities harshly in the region, the minister said, "Since 1979, the Iranians have literally got away with murder in our region, and this has to stop." Recent reports indicated that Saudi Arabia was behind Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's later-canceled-resignation. Like Israel, Saudi Arabia also considers Hezbollah as an extension of Iranian power and influence in the region.
Last March, Israel made a move, which further escalated tensions with Lebanon, proposing a bill in the Israeli Parliament that redefined Israel's maritime economic border with Lebanon. According to the bill, a long-disputed 800-square-kilometer area of maritime territory was claimed by Israel in an attempt to expand its control and economic benefits on the sea. Lebanon's response to the bill was harsh, with Lebanese speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri saying that redefining the maritime borders was equivalent to a declaration of war. This development and statements indicate that Israel would like to strengthen its power in the Mediterranean Sea to stop Iran's expansion and cut off its access to natural gas resources. In the scope of these developments, it may be concluded that Saudi Arabia and Israel could take collective action against Iran, using Lebanon as a base. Iran has been confronting Saudi Arabia not only in Lebanon but also in Syria, and particularly in Yemen where a terrible war has devastated the country.
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