IDF spokesman: Iran exporting “toxic” ideologies around Middle East to achieve dominance

(THE TOWER) — In the latest episode of ‘Tipping Point’, The Israel Project’s weekly podcast, Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus, the new head of the international media branch at the IDF spokesperson’s unit, discussed the fragile situation on the Syrian border, the prospects of war with Hezbollah, and the significance of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.

Addressing the situation in the region, Conricus warned that Iran is striving for hegemony and is on the verge of establishing a direct land corridor from Tehran through Baghdad to the Mediterranean, which would drastically change the security situation in the region.

“The aggressive export that Iran is doing of their specific brand of violent extremism and terrorism to many countries – to Lebanon through Hezbollah, to Syria through various proxies, to Yemen and other regions – it’s a pattern of exporting very toxic and dangerous ideologies around the Middle East, trying to achieve some kind of dominance,” he explained.

Conricus pointed out that Iranian and Israeli interests in Syria couldn’t be further apart, with one party trying to stabilize the situation and saving lives, and the other thriving on chaos and destruction. “It’s interesting to see the contrast of what Iran is doing in Syria and of what Israel is doing on the Golan Heights,” he said, adding “What the IDF is involved in is ‘Operation Good Neighbor’, providing humanitarian aid for more than a year and a half now. More than 3,000 Syrians have been given medical attention, sometimes even life-saving procedures by either Israeli military doctors or in hospitals.”

Moving on, Conricus addressed the prospect of a third Lebanon War. “Hezbollah is in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701; they are stockpiling weapons in southern Lebanon,” he stated. Conricus continued, “They have their missiles and rockets, approximately 120,000 of those, within the civilian population in Lebanon and aiming their rockets at Israeli civilians, intentionally doing so in order to extort pressure on the Israeli leadership.”

The IDF spokesperson further accused the terrorist organization of war crimes. “In southern Lebanon, they have dug underneath houses, schools, hospitals, mosques, and U.N facilities, using them for military purposes, which is a violation of the law of armed conflict.”

Conricus said the IDF was ready to respond to all eventualities. “We are prepared for different scenarios,” he stressed. “There would be a very heavy price for any act of aggression, whether against the IDF, or, for sure, against civilians, and I think Hezbollah knows this. And I also think Hezbollah is aware of the price they would pay, if they were forced by their Iranian masters to attack Israel.”

But Conricus also acknowledged that Hezbollah is now a more formidable enemy. “For sure Hezbollah has evolved,” he admitted. “What we see today is that Hezbollah is accountable in Lebanon. They bear responsibility vis-à-vis the Lebanese population. They are part of government, they wield significant political power, they have the strongest military force inside Lebanon.” He added, “The bottom line is that Hezbollah has developed. They have become not only a terrorist organization, but an organization that is also political and that has civilian responsibilities.”