Israelis Upset That Russia Isn’t ‘Israel’s Security Blanket’ in Syria

Or you can just stop bombing Syria? We know it's a radical concept

Fri, Mar 24, 2017
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Come again?
Come again?

The meltdown continues. 

We knew that the Israeli media would go bananas over Syria's decision to defend itself against Israeli airstrikes. But who could have foreseen this level of bananas? 

Complements of a Times of Israel "partner", we learn: "Israelis Now Forced To Consider The Putin Factor: Is Russia no longer Israel’s security blanket in the Syrian civil war?"

Strange. We remember when Putin announced Russia's air operations in Syria. But we don't remember him mentioning anything about Russian forces intervening in order to be "Israel's security blanket".

Let's allow the author to clarify. Perhaps we're misreading this brain-dead question:

What was said about Israeli activities over the Syrian border a week ago only during private meetings is now discussed openly by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “When we detect attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah and we have the intelligence and feasibility to carry out an operation, we will work to prevent it,” he said.

But if Israelis are internalizing this reality, they’re still mostly failing to grasp the new and unsettling questions about the Russian regime. Russia is Israel’s security blanket in the Syrian civil war, with its presence there helping to keep the Syrian regime from acting against Israel, isn’t it? Perhaps not, seeing that Russia didn’t prevent the firing of anti-aircraft missiles towards Israeli targets.

We see. So Russia isn't in Syria to fight the "moderate" rebels and Islamic State (which Israel prefers to Iran); no, Putin's primary objective in Syria is to "help keep the Syrian regime from acting against Israel". And if Russia isn't "protecting" Israel from Syria, this clearly raises "new and unsettling questions about the Russian regime".

Here's an idea: What about just "not bombing Syria"? Isn't that a good first step towards security and friendly relations with your neighbor? 

Please just stop. But alas, it doesn't stop:

The situation is baffling, even to Syria experts like Hebrew University’s Moshe Maoz. “There are so many enigmas, and it’s very difficult to know what is going on,” Maoz told me this week. Was the Syrian regime prepared to act against Israel in defiance of Russia, which would be worrying, or did Russia give it the go-ahead to fire, which would be deeply concerning?

It's certainly baffling that Israel thinks it can bomb a sovereign nation with impunity — and then goes crying to Putin when it can't. 

We do not believe that Russia is interested in any kind of confrontation with Israel. But this idea that Russia was Israel's mall cop in Syria is a bit extreme. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that Russia thinks Hezbollah has played an important role in defeating ISIS in Syria. A bit of a diplomatic pickle for the Israelis, no?

It's clear that Russia and Israel have some sort of understanding in Syria. What's also clear is that last week's airstrikes near Palmyra (the Israelis insist they were targeting weapon shipments for Hezbollah) violated this understanding. 

We reported earlier this week that Syria's U.N. envoy Bashar Jaafari said that Syria's use of anti-aircraft missiles against Israeli fighter jets was a "message" from Putin.

Israel's ambassador was summoned by Moscow after Friday's airstrikes, and reports have emerged that Russian military advisors were operating just a few kilometers from the area that was targeted by Israeli strikes; so there's certainly circumstantial evidence to back up Jaafari's claim. 

But Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists the exact opposite — that Putin understands that "if there is a feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint - [Israel will] attack [targets in Syria]".

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If Israel seeks "security", maybe it should compromise and cooperate with its neighbors, instead of rooting for ISIS to win in Syria? It's a radical proposition — but it just might work.

P.S. — a final blockquote from this media metldown, because we can't resist:

Two weeks ago Netanyahu stood at the Kremlin, talking to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin about Purim and the concern of Israelis of modern Haman-like plans to destroy the Jews.

Yeah, that wasn't very compelling. Next time Netanyahu should try citing current events, instead of Bible stories from 2,000 years ago:

 

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