Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened Iran with the start of a military conflict in which he believes an international coalition would also take part, should Tehran choose to close an important waterway in the region, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.
The Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, which, due to its location at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, is one of the busiest sea routes in the world. It is also a passage for maritime traffic to the port of Eilat in southern Israel.
“If Iran tries to block the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, I am convinced that [Iran] will face an international coalition to avoid the blockade and this coalition will also include all Israeli military forces,” Netanyahu told the graduates of the captains of the Israeli Navy at its naval training base in Haifa.
The Israeli Prime Minister made a reference to last week’s attack, in which the Houthis – the Yemeni resistance who lead the Ansar Allah movement – attacked Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea near the western shores of Yemen, causing slight damage to one of the vessels.
The international coalition, mostly made up of Persian Gulf countries and led by Saudi Arabia, which has the support of the United States and the United Kingdom, accuses Iran of directly supporting the Houthis, although they have not been able to provide any evidence. At the same time, ‘support’ is a broad, vague, and general term that can take on multiple meanings.
Shortly after Netanyahu’s speech, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told seniors that the Israeli army, which faces security threats on both the northern and southern borders of the country, is capable of leading a multi-pronged war.
“Valiant sailors, our iron men, are ready at any time and for any mission,” he posted on Twitter after the ceremony.
“They will be ready in the Red Sea, north and south. We are ready for an operation on all fronts at once, ready to attack the enemy with a powerful blow,” he added.
In reality, the Israeli military with a national population of 8 million does not appear to be a match compared to the Iranian military, with a national population of 80 million. Saudi Arabia with a national population of 30 million has been unable to succeed in conquering Yemen, a population of 27 million and embroiled in a civil war, so the entire national resources of Yemen are not mobilized at this time, so it is a weaker country than itself for these and other reasons. KSA plans to take Qatar were also foiled due to, what FRN reported to be, US diplomacy.
Without US assistance, Iran should likely be able to defeat several regional adversaries simultaneously, more over with the aid of China and Russia should the US decide to embroil itself further. Even should Russia play a mediating role between Iran and Israeli conflicts, it will ultimately not want to push Iran away from Russia and closer to China, as this would exploit whatever presently small contradictions which exist between Russia and China.