Against the backdrop of a shifting balance of power in Syria, Iran and Israel appear perched on the brink of an all-out conflict, and Tehran is not trying to calm nerves.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, told Israel that “the finger is on the trigger and the missiles are ready.”
“At any given moment that the enemy conducts something against us, we will launch them,” he warned, as reported by Israel’s Haaretz.
“We know you very well, you are exposed to great harm because you have no depth, you are surrounded from every direction and you have nowhere to flee except to fall into the sea,” he said of Israel. “Don’t put faith in your military bases because they are in firing range and we can attack them and prevent them [from operating].”
Salami then turned his attention to the United States, referencing the current administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
“The United States has been defeated in Syria because the Americans did not have a clear strategy and policy, and every action they take makes them look ridiculous, like the operation they did a few days ago, because they have no strategy. Today we are much stronger than ever before in all areas.”
The rhetoric comes a week after Israel struck targets in Syria, killing a reported seven Iranians and potentially destroying a drone facility. The strike prompted speculation of retaliation, but Salami’s comments indicate Iran may be willing to wait on any response.
Responding to Iran’s threats, in the context of America’s looming withdrawal from the region and Iran’s consolidated foothold, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we are certain of our capabilities to protect ourselves with our own power.”