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Israel, US Demand Iran Vacate Lebanon, Iraq

According to Israeli media, at a recent tripartite meeting between the national security advisers of the US, Russia and Israel, both Washington and Jerusalem called on Moscow to facilitate the expulsion of Iranian forces and their proxies from Lebanon and Iraq. The report claims that the demand constituted a condition for US and Israeli support for a long-term agreement that would secure Russian gains in war-torn Syria. Russia intervened in the conflict in 2015 and has been credited, along with Tehran, for saving the Assad regime. During the summit, US National Security Adviser John Bolton and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, reportedly highlighted Iran’s construction of advanced missile facilities for Hizbullah in Lebanon, and the arming of Shi’ite fighters in Iraq with long-range rockets capable of striking the Jewish state. Following the meeting, however, Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev expressed support for the Islamic Republic’s military presence in Syria, which Israel considers a major threat. The Israeli government has over the past two years green-lighted hundreds of strikes against Iranian assets in Syria and has repeatedly vowed to prevent Tehran from gaining a permanent foothold in the country. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear to Patrushev that “Israel won’t allow an Iran that calls for our annihilation to entrench itself on our border, and we will do anything it takes to [thwart] it from obtaining nuclear weapons.”