Friday, May 11, 2018

In the Comming Middle East War...

...What will be the Russian calculous?

Putin has his presence in the Middle East. He has Assad, his naval base at Tardus and his troops in the Levant.

Still Putin is on the strategic defensive and has suffered several setbacks. One of these was the spectacular annihilation of a Russian mercenary force by US troops. Another is the steady stream of Israeli strikes in Syria.

In an odd way Israel and Russia are natural friends if not exactly allies. It is well documented that Putin has never been a Jew hater. As a child he learned English and piano from Jews. Later he disciplined KGB agents for anti-Semitism. Also remember that a couple of million Russian Jews live in Israel, which is one of the reasons why Netanyahu and Likud are so popular.

The IDF has a military hotline with their Russian counterparts and Netanyahu makes frequent trips to Moscow to update Putin on Israeli efforts in the Levant. Just this week Netanyahu visited the Kremlin and participated in VE day celebrations. The Times of Israel reports:
Wrapping up a day-long visit to Moscow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening said he has no reason to believe the Kremlin will attempt to limit Israel’s freedom of operation in the region, an apparent reference to alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria.
After a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu reiterated Jerusalem’s determination to continue to act militarily against Iran’s ongoing entrenchment in Syria.

Netanyahu also noted of the VE celebrations:
"Sitting next to me, between us, was a veteran who was among the liberators of Auschwitz,” Netanyahu said during his meeting with Putin, recalling his participation in the military parade. “We will never forget the meaning of your sacrifice, of those soldiers, along with the half a million Jewish soldiers in the Red Army, in ensuring the fate of Russia, of humanity and of our people, the Jewish people.
Arabs and Persians would do well not to underestimate the World War II bond forged in the defeat of Hitler. It helped keep the US at USSR at peace during the Cold War.

Shared enemies and cultural ties, and Bibi's efforts to keep Putin informed may go a long way toward keeping Putin out of things. Israel has no desire to eliminate Assad. They gain nothing from regime change in Damascus. In that respect Russian and Israeli interests are aligned.

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