Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear today that he and his government oppose the ongoing ceasefire in Southern Syria, a deal negotiated between the United States and Russia, and which has continued to hold throughout the past week.
Netanyahu made the comments during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, declaring himself totally opposed to the ceasefire. Israeli officials revealed that the objections are primarily related to Iran still having forces inside Syria supporting the Assad government.
Officials also say that during the US-Russia negotiations which led to the deal, Netanyahu presented the two sides with a “list of demands,” mostly insisting that Shi’ite forces couldn’t be allowed in southern Syria at all, and that Iran could not be allowed to “consolidate” its position in Syria. They also said Russian troops couldn’t be allowed to police the safe zones closest to the Israeli border.
Ultimately it appears that none of these demands were met, with neither the US nor Russia apparently willing to center the terms of their deal on a ceasefire in one nation’s wars on demands from another nation that insists it is not involved in that war.
That Netanyahu felt the need to go public with his displeasure points to this being a particular sore spot, and Israeli officials say he also brought the matter up to both US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It’s not likely either side is going to revisit the deal to placate Israel, particularly since this ceasefire is holding better than most, and Israel’s objections are largely difficult to respond to, mostly centered on wanting the war to continue against the Shi’ites.
Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com.