Could Syria Become Iran’s Very Own Vietnam?


Seth J. Frantzman

Security, Middle East

Israel thinks so.

Key point: Israel has been working to stop Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.

Israel’s new Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has warned Iran that Syria will become its version of Vietnam, where its forces will sink in the sand under Israeli airstrikes.

“There’s nothing for you in Syria,” he said during a late November trip to northern Israel. “Whatever you try to do, you will encounter a strong and determined IDF that will strike you.” The Israel Air Forces have already been striking Iran frequently in Syria, with more than a thousand air strikes against hundreds of targets. Israel has also been more open about recent airstrikes, mentioning the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard  Corps specifically and uncovering Iran’s role, from “killer drones” to precision missiles.

Bennett appears to want to add to what Israel is already doing. Named Defense Minister on November 13, he has previously been Minister of Education but has encouraged Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take a tougher stance against Hamas in Gaza and Iranian threats. This is a bit ironic considering that Netanyahu has been one of the loudest voices globally against Iran’s role in the Middle East, opposing the Iran Deal and seeking an arrangement with both Moscow and Washington regarding Israel’s attempts to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

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