That was the message from Israeli National Security Advisor Dr. Eyal Hulata during an address at this year’s International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Manama Security Dialogue conference.
By Erin Viner
“Last year I stood on this stage and described regional threats and opportunities. My underlying message was that Israel’s contribution to the region’s stability and prosperity was becoming visible,” said Dr. Haluta, adding that, “A year later, I think that we can proudly reflect on several important achievements and conclude that the contribution of an integrated Israel resonates far beyond the Middle East borders.”
Over the past year, he pointed out, Israel “worked closely with our allies and partners to enhance regional stability through diplomatic, economic and military means while creating a hub for cooperation to jointly tackle energy, food, food security, technological and climate-related challenges that benefit the citizens of the region, as well as the global community.”
The conference marks the 18th edition of the Dialogue, during which government ministers and other leading experts gather in the Kingdom of Bahrain to discuss the Mideast’s most urgent foreign policy, defense and security challenges. The forum, founded in 2004, is considered a major element in the region’s security framework that fosters interaction between representatives from the Middle East, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
The theme of this year’s gathering was ‘Rules and Competition in the Middle East,’ coming at a time of significant challenges to the rules-based order, enabling the participants with a timely opportunity to examine their effect on interests, influence and values in the Middle East and beyond.
Dr. Hulata used his speech to stress that the Islamic Republic of Iran constitutes not only a threat to Israel but for most of the countries in the region as has been plainly evident by its many align activities over this past year alone.
“Alongside constant attacks against Israeli and American forces, Iran has increased its proxy activities to destabilize Yemen, Iraq and Syria. Iran uses cyber-attacks on a regular basis but this year they took the freedom to even attack civilian infrastructure in Albania, a NATO member. Iran has dramatically bolstered its kinetic attacks against civilian infrastructure in the (United Arab Emirates) UAE and Saudi Arabia. We all remember the cruse and ballistic missile rounds on 17th, 24th, 31st January and 1st February in the UAE. That should have been unheard of,” he said.
Pointing to the use of Iranian drones by Russia to kill civilians in Ukraine in recent weeks, Israel’s NSC Chief underscored that, “if Iran is not stopped, it is likely that they will deploy accurate and short-range ballistic missiles as well. They also continue their habit to crash drones on civilian vessels in international waters – an oil tanker named Pacific Zircon was attacked not far from the shore of Oman just a few days ago.”
The scope of the Islamic Republic’s export of terrorism encompasses the entire world, Dr. Haluta pointed out, targeting “Israelis, Europeans, Americans and Persian-Iranian descent in Turkey, Cyprus, Colombia, Georgia, Germany, the United Kingdom and even the United States, just to name a few locations of terror attacks.” While such activity “is all aimed at all of us,” he said Iran has now “embarked on a brutal crackdown against its own people” in attempts to suppress anti-government protests since September.
Insisting that the time to collectively confront Iran, Israel’s National Security Advisor said, “Enough with ignoring Iranian deception and manipulation of the IAEA inspectors. Enough with keeping a blind eye as they smuggle arms on a regular basis to feed regional terror. And enough with hoping in vain that a corrupt and dangerous regime will play nice. Even the people of Iran are saying enough. “
Asking, “how can the international community look away as the people of Iran are targeted, abused, arrested and killed for the pursuit of freedom in their own homeland?”
Echoing the slogan chanted by those calling for an end to brutal repression by the Ayatollah regime, Dr. Haluta said the words “Woman Life Freedom” in Farsi, Hebrew and English, saying that as a son of a mother of Persian descent, he extends “a direct message to the brave people of Iran” of support and solidarity with their struggle for freedom.