Netanyahu Attends Victory Day Celebration in Russia, But Iran is the Real Focus

It may appear strange that Prime Minister Netanyahu would spend time at a Victory Day celebration in Russia less than a day after President Donald Trump took the United States out of the JCPOA otherwise known as the Iranian nuclear deal. With the Israel’s northern border on high alert for Iranian reprisals after the IAF destroyed a cache of weapons last night, Netanyahu could of skipped the Victory Day celebration, even if he was the honored guest.

Yet, in the fast-moving events of the Middle East, attending the celebration is of utmost importance. “I am now leaving for an important meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Prime Minister said. “The meetings between us are always important and this one is especially so. In light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure the continued coordination between the Russian military.”

Coordination is the key.  With war on the horizon, Israel must ensure that any flare up does not unintentionally kill Russian soldiers on the ground in Syria.  If that happens then Putin will take a far different approach to Israel.

Does Putin Want Iran Pushed Back?

Although it appears Putin is an ally of Iran, historically this has not been so.  With the Mullahs taking advantage of the Syrian chaos to take up forward positions opposite Israel, the Iranian regime has complicated Putin’s strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean.  While not enthused by Trump’s bravado against Iran, Putin has grown impatient with the Shiite movements in the region.  Iran and Russia have diverging interests when it comes to Syria.

Putin’s Syria entanglement has been merely to ensure  he holds onto two key Russian bases in northwestern Syria along with creating a blocking strategy. In the early stage of Russian involvement he needed foot soldiers to consolidate Assad’s regime.  The Iranians and Hezbollah happily volunteered.

Netanyahu’s mission in Russia is twofold.  He must ensure Putin that Israel’s increased attacks on Iranian positions in Syria are meant to push Iran out, not harm Moscow’s interests and second Netanyahu is acting as a sort of intermediary between Presidents Trump and Putin.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the following to President Putin before their meeting: “I very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss regional problems with you, the attempts as you put it, to resolve the crises, to lift the threats in a prudent and responsible manner.”

The events of the next few weeks will flow from actions undertaken by Israel and the USA in the next few days as well as the agreements or the lack there of between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Putin.


END OF DAYS: Russia is Coming for Israel

The Middle East is becoming unhinged. Whether Putin maliciously planned to allow Israel to be cornered by Iran and Hezbollah or not may never be known, but what is clear is the agreements between Russia and Israel on “freedom of attack” when Iranian arm transfers to Hezbollah are determined to be for attacking Israel appears to be changed from their original parlance.  When the IAF attacked a convoy that inadvertently destroyed Russian armaments, Israel’s relationship with Putin changed.

True, Putin most probably set the confrontation up as a test to see how serious Israel was in taking out Iranian weapons, but the question is why.  With the Syrian crisis far from over and the Ukrainian conflict growing in the Don-bass, Russia is trying to demarcate who stands where.  It had been assumed before Friday’s attack and Sunday’s Hezbollah movement to the Golan that Israel would elect to stay out of the burgeoning war between Russia and the West.  Israel’s reaction proved this hypothesis wrong.

The next stage is a purposeful allowance of Iranian and Hezbollah soldiers to take the Syrian Golan.  This is a red line for Israel and  yet vitally important for Russia to execute in order to put in place a Gordian knot on the Jewish State.  While Putin cements his control of Syria, the last thing he needs is for Israel disrupt it.

Making Deals with Putin Never Ends Well

Bibi Netanyahu responded to Putin’s summoning of the Israeli ambassador with these words: “Our policy on the subject will not change,” declared Netanyahu. “If there is a feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue.”

Yet, it was Bibi himself who insisted that he had struck a deal with Putin.  The changing parameters of that deal, which shift by the day show how ridiculous it is to toy with KGB directors turned Presidents.  Bibi is a good chess player and out-foxed Obama for eight years, but Putin is a champion at it and despite Bibi’s tough talk he knows Israel is becoming cornered.

In December of of 2015 I wrote this concerning the embracing of Russia as a partner for Israel:

“a regionally strong and globally ascendant Israel should not run to embrace a looming Russian Bear just yet. Especially a Russia that is purely pragmatic and whose leaders do not share the biblical values that have made Israel function beyond the realm of pragmatism. These values in many ways have made the dream of an Israel that went from persecuted to global leader a reality far more than the tactical pragmatism of Putin. We have to remember that as much as we want to be accepted by a strong Russia, Putin himself lives in a world of tactics and tactics can change if Mother Russia needs them to. In other words an alliance with Russia will only happen if it is good for Russia and its length will only last if it is good for Russia.” 

Putin’s shifting tactics have finally caught up with Israel’s strategic needs.  In the next phase of the Syrian and expanding Levant conflict, the Israeli government would do well not to rely on earthly kings for security and perhaps take the time to put their trust in the only King that truly matters.

Will Trump and Putin Allow Israel to Lead in the Middle East?

With Donald Trump’s win beginning to sink in across the international community, one thing is becoming clear,  the Donald will ultimately seek a positive working relationship Russia’s Putin.  Of course, the failing EU doesn’t like this and nor does the antiquated NATO, but Donald Trump and many others rightly believe that Russia can be a tremendous ally in stabilizing the world and fighting radical Islam.

Look for an agreement or understanding with Russia soon after Donald Trump is sworn in on demarcating unofficial spheres of influence for the two superpowers. As always, Russia views its former satellites under the Soviet Union as part of its great sphere of influence.  The Donald will not argue. The complicated part of this will be the Middle East, which to put it bluntly is pretty much becoming a massive version of Mogadishu circa 1993.

Most likely they will form a joint task force to manage Iraq, while handing over Syria to Russia. The dispute will be on Iran, which Putin has masterfully backed as a pawn against American adventurism. Putin being the consummate chess player may find it advantageous to eventually jettison the Ayatollahs. However this won’t happen right away.

Will Israel be Recognized as the Regional Leader it Already Is?

One country that both Putin and Trump see as the great stabilizer in the region is Israel.  Putin has already pushed back on Hezbollah and Iran using Syria to attack Israel’s North and under Trump the USA is finally set to move its embassy to Jerusalem.  Both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have little patience for primitive Arab squabbles as the region burns and have increasingly learned to rely on Israel’s technology and advanced intelligence gathering systems.

Does this mean that the days of gloom and doom when it comes to Israel are over?  Not at all, but what it does mean is the New New World Order being crafted between the USA, Russia, and China will more than likely rely heavily on Israel’s know-how, resilience, and stability in an increasingly chaotic environment.