(Persia Digest) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his desire to go to war with Iran, and said he was meeting with dozens of foreign envoys, including those from the Arab world, in order to push the initiative forward.
Tom O'Connor writes in Newsweek that the United States has rallied countries from across the world, especially from Europe and the Middle East, to attend a summit in Warsaw in a bid to form a united front against revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran. In a video posted Wednesday to his office's Twitter account, Netanyahu said he had just had an "excellent meeting" in the Polish capital with Oman's foreign minister, with whom he "discussed additional steps we can take together with the countries of the region in order to advance common interests."
"From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran," the Israeli head of state continued, according to the account’s English-language translation of his Hebrew remarks.
"What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran," he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with press following a meeting with Oman’s top diplomat, in Warsaw, Poland, on February 13. Israel has attempted to break its traditional feud with Arab states in order to unite in the face of what it perceives as threats from Iran.
The English-language tweets were soon deleted and re-uploaded with the phrase “combating Iran” replacing “war with Iran.” The video with English subtitles was also removed.
Just before heading to the Warsaw conference, Netanyahu revealed on Tuesday that Israeli forces were behind the shelling of an observation post in Syria's southwestern Al-Quneitra province. The attack was the latest in a once-secretive, years-long campaign to target alleged Iranian and Iran-backed forces battling a 2011 rebel and jihadi uprising on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Israel has argued that Iran was attempting to set up forward bases through its elite Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force. While the U.S. has tacitly endorsed such operations, Israeli strikes have antagonized Iranian officials, who have threatened retaliation and have also angered Assad's other major ally, Russia, which has recently called for an end to such maneuvers.
While a number of Arab League states have begun to repair relations with Damascus, they have done so in the interest of pushing back against Tehran's growing influence in the region, which includes friendly political forces in the capitals of Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In the Arab world, Saudi Arabia has led the charge against Iran, and Israel has often appealed to the kingdom to join forces against the Islamic Republic, though no high-level contacts have been publicly revealed.
Netanyahu has, however, traveled to Oman in a rare visit to one of the few Arab states that maintain ties with Israel. Upon the majority-Jewish state's establishment in 1948 and the mass exodus of Palestinians that followed, Arab powers went to war with Israel, which would go on to clash with a coalition of hostile neighbors at least twice more in the 20th century before focusing on the threat posed by Iran and its own regional partners, such as the Lebanese Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement.
Israel and Saudi Arabia were among the few international voices supporting President Donald Trump's exit from a 2015 nuclear deal that they alleged had allowed Iran to use funds unfrozen by its agreeing to curb nuclear activities to support militant groups abroad and develop ballistic missiles, which Iranian leaders have threatened to use against Israel and U.S. bases should a conflict break out. Fellow signatories China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom have vowed to continue trading with Iran despite new U.S. sanctions.
The White House stepped up its campaign against Iran ahead of the Warsaw summit as Trump and national security adviser John Bolton attacked Tehran's leaders on social media with #40YearsofFailure hashtags mocking ongoing celebrations commemorating four decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted a West-backed monarchy. Iranian officials have what they consider to be a conspiracy to overthrow their government.
As international representatives met in Warsaw, a suicide bombing Revolutionary Guards blamed on "terrorists" and "agents of intelligence services" struck a bus carrying members of the Iranian force, killing up to 27 and wounding 10 more, in the southeast Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran.
This story has been updated to include the fact that the official Israeli prime minister's office account deleted its original tweets and uploaded new ones without the phrase "war with Iran."
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