The Israeli defense minister is calling on Washington to engage more in Syria, where President Bashar Assad “is winning the war.”
Avigdor Lieberman has asked for increased US involvement, claiming that Israel is struggling to deal with the “Russians, Iranians, and also the Turks and Hezbollah.”
Lieberman’s comments marked a reversal for Israel, where top officials had regularly predicted Assad would lose control of his country and be toppled.
“We hope that the United States will be more active in the Syrian arena and in the Middle East in general,” Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview with Israel’s Walla news on Tuesday.
“In the northern arena, we are faced with the Russians, Iranians, and also the Turks and Hezbollah. The public does not know everything and it’s a good thing, but it’s an investment and an effort 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The minister went on to express his apparently grave concerns that “in spite of everything, Assad is winning the battle.” He also called the situation in Syria “one of the greatest absurdities.”
“The United States has quite a few challenges of their own, but as a trend, the more active the US is, the better,” Lieberman said.
According to the right-wing Israeli official, “suddenly everyone is running to get closer to Assad,” including countries in the West “queuing” to win the Syrian president’s favor.
In another unfortunate scenario for Israel, the situation in Syria has led to widespread Iranian consolidation, according to Lieberman, who is known for his harsh statements and anti-Iranian stance.
Despite Israel generally not being involved in the Syrian war, there has long been a concern that the situation would see some of its main foes – Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant organization designated as a terrorist group by Israel and the US – gain a foothold of power in Syria.
Claiming “errant projectiles” from Syrian territory have reached Israel, the IDF has on several occasions targeted positions of the Syrian Army and allied forces. The Israeli military have also targeted military convoys within Syria, claiming they were carrying weapons for Hezbollah.