Iran And Israel In Unprecedented Indirect Talks Over Syria: Report

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Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

After continuing escalation in Syria last week in which Syria accused both the US and Israel of conducting two separate airstrikes on pro-government forces, there are new reports of unprecedented indirect talks being held between Iran and Israel. And related unconfirmed reports suggest the Syrian government may have asked Iranian forces to withdraw their presence from key bases previously targeted in Israeli airstrikes. 

Though neither side has yet to confirm the events first reported in Saudi media and subsequently picked up in some Israeli media outlets (and are likely not going to), it could constitute the closest the two longtime Middle East enemies have come to engaging in diplomatic dealings over the crisis in Syria.

Iran And Israel In Unprecedented Indirect Talks Over Syria: Report

Israeli military personnel look from the Golan Heights over southwest Syria, November 2017. Image source: Reuters via EA Worldview

The news also comes after the May 10 massive exchange of missiles between Israel and Syria in what was described as the “most direct confrontation between Israel and Iran in decades,” and after Putin told Assad there is a need to withdraw “all foreign forces” from Syria, though it was unclear at the time whether the Russian president meant foreign jihadists and Western forces like the United States, or (as most US outlets reported) Iran’s heavy troop presence in Syria.

The Saudi-owned news site Elaph first revealed that the indirect Iran-Israel talks took place this weekend at a hotel in Amman. Elaph has lately become known for gaining a surprising level of access to Israeli officials, giving it a reputation as a news source Israel uses to communicate its message across the Arab world.

Middle East Eye summarizes the Arabic language story as follows:

Iran reportedly pledged to stay out of fighting in southwest Syria between Syrian forces and rebel groups while Israel said it will not intervene in battles near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights or the Israel-Jordan border so long as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias are not involved.

For the negotiations, Iran’s ambassador to Jordan, Mostafa Moslehzadeh, stayed in a hotel room with Iranian security personnel next door to a room of senior Israeli security officials, including the deputy head of Mossad, Elaph reported.

Jordanian officials served as mediator, shuttling messages between the two rooms, according to the report.

Apparently, the two sides did come to some agreement of terms. Middle East eye continues:

One participant told Elaph that the Iranians “arrived at a quick agreement” that its forces would not intervene in fighting near the Golan Heights and the Israel-Jordan border, surprising the Israeli representatives.

Currently, Damascus is preparing for a showdown in the south, mustering its forces to take back all of Deraa and Quneitra provinces where fighting began during the opening months the war starting in 2011. Syrian state media has reported that government planes have dropped leaflets over towns in the region, warning anti-Assad forces that they must disarm or face military attack.

Deraa and Quneitra are regions in the south and southwest where anti-Assad militants, most of them al-Qaeda linked, have received strong support from the US-Gulf coalition and Israel. As the Wall Street Journal has long acknowledged, Israel has given direct support to al-Qaeda forces as it sees the terror group as a “lesser evil” compared to Assad and Iran.

And perhaps less well-known is that both current and former Israeli military leaders have express their preference for ISIS on their border, as opposed to pro-Shia Iran forces.

Wall Street Journal: Israel’s main concern is “Iran, not ISIS”:

Iran And Israel In Unprecedented Indirect Talks Over Syria: Report Iran And Israel In Unprecedented Indirect Talks Over Syria: Report

Meanwhile, President Assad has long vowed to regain “every inch” of Syria; however, this is unlikely to happen without the close military and diplomatic support of allies Iran and Russia.

On Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s position that it would not tolerate Iran’s present along the Golan border. “Our position on Syria is clear,” he told his parliamentary faction in televised remarks, “We believe that there is no place for any Iranian military presence, anywhere in Syria.”

This follows a US State Department statement last Friday which threatened that the US would take “firm and appropriate measures” against Syrian government forces, claiming repeat “ceasefire violations” and concerned over the reports of the new military operation in Deraa.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert referenced the thus far tenuously-holding deal between the US, Russia, and Jordan struck last November which among other stipulations proposed efforts for “the reduction, and ultimate elimination of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace.” This was widely interpreted at the time as calling for an “Iran-free zone” in southern Syria, as Israel has long threatened to go to war should Iranian troops be present near its border.

Notably, a Reuters report acknowledges the US warning issued late Friday comes as 1) Syrian government forces have cleaned out the last ISIS pockets in the country’s south; and 2) Damascus is now “in its strongest position since the early months of the war in 2011”. Reuters notes further that the government has “recaptured all remaining insurgent areas near Damascus in recent weeks, including the densely populated eastern Ghouta area, as well as big enclaves in central Syria.”

So essentially while warning against “Assad regime violations” and expansion, the State Department is reasserting the US position that Syria cannot “expand” within its own sovereign borders (borders obviously long recognized internationally and by the United Nations).

But if the new reports of indirect Israel-Iran talks are true, it could signal Israel’s willingness to back down from its dangerous months-long path of escalation in Syria.

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  • matew ivanson

    Syrian army and IRGC should be scare, Israel and USA will fcuk them in Daraa, no retreat this time, fcuk assad, hezbollah and iran scum, nobody will fcuk with AIPAC, Israel and USA, nobody

    • Tudor Miron

      Feeling shaky Shlomo? Flashbacks of 2006 running through your little head? This is little different than shooting at children and elderly?
      Do you even know that your own masters set your last path to hell? Do you know that Bibi is leading you to the slaughter? Wake up, creature. Wake up before it’s too late for you and yours.

      • Icarus Tanović

        Shlomo is definitely feeling very, very, very insecure and shaky. Kinda jumpy these days.

    • Manuel Flores Escobar

      Israel tried it and failed!.. they launched more than 70 missile for nothing!..US can launch 200 and nothing will happen as SAA& Iran are around Damascus under protect of Air defense systems ( Pantsir,Buk, Iranian Raad,New Pechora, SA 8..etc…)..

    • zman

      Yeah, Hezbollah and Iran are so scared of Israel, that’s why Israel is shaking in their boots. That’s why they attack Hezbollah so frequently, because they don’t fear them. LOL. They are so afraid of what Hezbollah can do that they invent all kinds of fairy-tales to bamboozle the rest of the Israelis into believing they are safe.

      • Icarus Tanović

        Hahahaha, great answer!

  • m7arbmahdi

    The Iranians may have chosen to not participate in operations in southern Syria, but what the article fails to take into account is Iran’s stand all in all on the whole issue regarding Israel. Iran’s external affair’s policy in addition to gaining power within shia communities in neighboring countries is to destroy the Zionist entity. This all goes back to Khamen’i and the religious importance behind this policy, it’s integrated deep in the shia religion. What Iran is doing now is it has prevented further complication of the situation. If the Syrian government is able to secure the southern borders then its a win win situation whereby they don’t give the Israelis an excuse to help out the rebels militarily and they do get to free the south of Syria thus giving them an edge over Israel in the future. Furthermore, even if Iran did leave Syria by the end of the war do you think that the Syrian branch of Hezbollah in Syria will stand idle? After what the Syrian government have been through i’m sure they will allow Iran to train and arm the Syrian branch and station them in the south just like they did with Lebanon’s. What will the Israeli’s say? “No Syrians allowed on the southern Syrian border”? All this media reporting is just a failed attempt at creating holes in the Russian Iranian Syrian alliance and it would be wise to dismiss such attempts.

  • zman

    Gee, another ZeroHedge propaganda piece. Always with the ‘accepted’ lies. This is a flagship of American propaganda. They need to stick to their lying to Americans about economic issues. Articles like this exposes what they really are…just another Zionist rag sheet spreading lies and disinfo.

  • Rob

    Iran would never ever communicate with child butchers Israeli migrants that living in Palestinian home country by the force of guns.

    • Wise Gandalf

      In politics there is nothing like never ever.

  • Douglas Houck

    My read is President Putin has demanded that a way needs to be found to calm down the situation. A softening of the approach from Iran is an excellent idea. The final phase of the Syrian war is being entered. The goal is to reassert Syrian sovereignty over all of Syria proper. If the final sticking point of the Israeli/US is the status of Iran, why not at least temporarily back down, if that gets Syria what it truly wants? Let’s finish the war, and as Syria will always be a friend to the Iranians, it’s not like they will not be allowed into Syria or not support Hezbollah. Besides, what Syria needs now is to finish reclaiming their own country and then start the long process of rebuilding. Will be interesting to see once the southern phase is over, where Syria goes next.

  • Sadde
  • frankly

    Seems to me a few of the missiles fired into the Golan recently, may have found their target. Maybe all the chartered aircraft full of brave Israelis leaving Tel Aviv is making their expansion plans less viable.

    Once again the exchange of gunfire plays second fiddle to business interests. As their support from the US congress suddenly evaporated, a story SF strangely does not carry, Israel’s continued massacres of unarmed kids disgusts the world.

    Those chartered aircraft are finding the landing and immigration fees ski rocketing, as the world community starts to question the chosen peoples moving to take over their next victim’s property.

  • Attrition47

    The forthcoming liberation of the south-west is quite a catalyst isn’t it? I doubt that the zionist filth are doing more than play for time and hoping for another fake chemical attack, to galvanise their Washington paymasters. It does no harm to humour them while the rebels are shepherded towards a deal and the Syrian army takes a breather-they’ve been very busy this season.

  • Attrition47

    PS, why do I have to log in each time?

    • Garga

      Me too, it is 2-3 days since it’s like that.

  • Rob

    If there were no English man in this world then there would be no war in this world. I have studied most of the previous and current wars of this world. 90% wars made by English man by using disinformation, deception and lie.

    • frankly

      The most profitable business in the world, that also allows one to permanently eliminate the competition. Legally.

    • The Farney Fontenoy

      No, if there were no BANKERS in the world there would be no wars!

  • Rob

    English man always hide the truth by altering information and changing the names of the characters, even they have not forgiven God and Jesus and other prophets and the English man have changed their names as well but wait the real names are still present in the previous old original books.

    Why they have chosen God and Jesus names instead of original names why these names are difficult to pronounce? No. This is politics, because they hate and make the world religious population look idiots. For example write the names of God and Jesus from right to left and then look its meaning.

    • Icarus Tanović

      That’s exactly what Wahhabis does to Qur’an. Now, one in the western part of the World can not find original manuscripts, but Saudi/English Sotonistic fakery.
      AND THERE’S NO NEED TO BE SMART LIKE EINSTEIN TO FIGURE OUT WHY WESTERNERS HATES MUSLIMS.
      AND WHO, ACTUALLY IS TOMMY ROBINSON!!!

  • Garga

    All good and dandy, except that: “Mostafa Moslehzadeh” is the former Iranian ambassador to Jordan. The current ambassador’s name is “Mojtaba Ferdowsi-poor” (since 2014).

    More so, it’s been about 10 days or two weeks that Iran announced Iranian forces won’t participate in the SAA operations in the south.

    Let’s not forget it’s not so “unprecedented” that a meeting between Iranian officials and the occupying regime’s officials happen. I can think of two occasions on top of my head. First, [not so] meeting between president Khatami and Moshe Katsav in the UN (birthplace of both being the city of Yazd in central Iran) and the second, a meeting between president Ahmadinejad’s minister of science in Amman where the Israeli minister of science were present too (look up for the pics). The meeting was about a particle accelerator project if I recall correctly.

    I think it’s “projection” on the part of Saudis. If that’s the case, we should soon hear about a Saudi-Israeli meeting, a leak I’d say.

    • Icarus Tanović

      Iran said, but America and Israel will do anything possible to make pretext to attack SAA down on the south, including ‘Iranian involvement’ that no one is able to confirm. So Iranians WILL be HEAVILY involved in fighting for Daraa and other places.
      In the end, what’s the difference?

  • R PLobo

    What difference does it make to the baby killers if Iran or Hezbollah or Santa Claus are involved in the liberation of the Golan? The entity is clearly in a negative position after the failure of their moderate merc choppers – this propaganda piece is useful only as misdirection to desperately attempt to save face for the occultists. Neither the US or the iof will be able to do anything about coming payback.

  • John

    I doubt that Syrian forces will fail to take back all of the rebel and IS territory in the south and west. Once the border crossings in the southwest are secured, it will be pretty much game over in that part of the country. it will not only be a physical victory but, a major psychological win as well. It will mean that only the north is yet to regain. This will mark the US, the GCC, Israel, Jordan, the EU et al as losers, major losers.

    There is no plan B for this. How many of them would have ever imagined that Damascus would be completely cleared, never mind that the Syrian government would be in the position of strength it is in now. The threats coming from the US are empty. They may bombard a few places, without permanent effect. What is the sum total of all the other strikes committed by Israel, the Coalition members and Turkey on the situation? What was won by them, after years of air bombardment all over Syria? It changed not one thing. So, regardless of all the posturing and heated hyperbole, the end of the war continues to draw nearer in favor of the Syrian government. I wish well to all.

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    King Saint Louis IX once remarked that the only proper “dialogue” with a Jew is to run a sword through his belly. I like Saint Louis IX.