To most observers Putin is moving in an aggressive way to wrest control of the Middle East and Eastern Europe from NATO. He has had success after success in dividing NATO and seizing opportunities in filling the void left from a receding America.
The surprise is not Putin’s cunning success, but the speed in which it has occurred. With under 20 days to go in the USA Presidential elections Putin is moving the largest Russian naval force since the collapse of the Soviet Union to the Eastern Mediterranean. With lots of American naval vessels already there, the Eastern Mediterranean is about to get far more crowded.
Putin’s move to seize the Eastern Mediterranean will have long term implications in the region. For one it will force Israel to finally make a deal with Russia it does not want to. By providing cover for Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria Putin holds tremendous leverege on Israel.
With elections at hand and a weak president, Putin is set to carve out his place in the Middle East. The only question is if it includes Israel or not.