Mark Sleboda, a security and international affairs analyst, says the most recent escalation of violence between Israel and Syria shows Israel intends to start a conflict with Iran and seek US support for a larger war campaign.
What Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "wants, more than anything else, is to get the US into a war with Iran," Sleboda told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday.
"There are plenty of neocons in Washington surrounding [US] President [Donald] Trump that want the same thing and are all too willing to play along with this," the analyst said.
Almost immediately after Trump began his speech announcing the US' exit from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, on Tuesday, Israeli authorities put their soldiers on "high alert" in the Golan Heights, citing heightened Iranian activity across Israel's northern border.
Israel also said Tuesday that Iran might conduct missile attacks, prompting the opening of bomb shelters and the movement of military assets to the Golan Heights. The Golan was seized by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and has been occupied by Israel ever since.
Within hours of Trump's announcement, Damascus accused the Israel Defense Forces of firing on targets south of the Syrian capital in the al-Kiswah area. Western media later called one of the targets an Iranian convoy.
If it seems like these developments were orchestrated, it's because they probably were, Sleboda told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.
"In fact, the Russian Duma member who heads up the Foreign Relations Committee specifically called out that this looks like a planned provocation intended to be conducted in stages up an escalatory ladder," the Moscow-based analyst noted.
"Israel, which has previously claimed that it was attacking Syria — it's attacked Syria illegally, aggressively, over 100 times since 2011, since the conflict began," Sleboda said of Israel's involvement in the Syrian civil war. "But they've been ramping it up."