“Israel has the fundamental right to engage in activity that ensures the security of its people. It’s at the very core of what nation states not only have the right to do but an obligation to do,” Pompeo told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview.
Pompeo made the interview shortly after completing a two-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss developments in Syria and “the continued need to counter” what he called Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region.
Israeli politicians are concerned that the US pullout from Syria will further strengthen Iran’s position as a regional power at a time when Damascus is eliminating the last remnants of terrorists and reasserting control over all the country.
“I think the Israeli people should stare at the probably starkest change this administration has made in foreign policy vis-a-vis what the previous administration has done – the toughest sanctions we’ve ever put” on Iran. Sanctions that will be sufficient to decrease the scope and size of the Iranian economy by over 12% this next year. That’s serious stuff,” Pompeo said.
Iranian military advisers have backed the national armies of Syria and Iraq in their fight against terror groups, many of which had the backing of the Israeli regime and certain Persian Gulf Arab regimes.
Iran played a key role in operations against Daesh, which lost by late 2017 all the territories it had seized in Iraq and Syria.
Pompeo said, “If you look at our strategy, America is committed to countering the threat from Iran.”
“We view it as the fundamental destabilizing force inside the Middle East and we are determined to push back against that,” he said.
Iraq and Syria have been expanding political and economic ties with Iran as they seek assistance in the post-war reconstruction of their countries which had large swathes of their territories overrun by foreign-backed terrorist outfits in the past years.
The US, however, has been engaged in a military campaign seeking to counter the emerging regional alliance and Pompeo was effusive in his accusations to justify it.
“We know this is a corner where Iran has attempted to move weapon systems across into Syria, into Lebanon, that threatens Israel and we are going to do everything we can to make sure we have the capacity to identify those so that we can collectively respond appropriately.”