Is Russia changing her position in the Middle East? – Not likely. To the contrary, Russia is ascertaining her role in the Middle East and assuring her allies of Russia’s full and alert presence.
When reading a recent article in the Anadolu Agency (AA) News, Ankara (screenshot below) one would have the impression of witnessing a growing love affair between President Vladimir Putin and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. This is deceiving. And it is important to be pointed out, because of transparency vis-à-vis Russia’s partners and allies in the Middle East.
This rightwing news-outlet, AA, also falsely talks about the Syrian ‘civil war’ – “Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.” The article goes on saying, “Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced,” – fraudulently implying that the killing and displacing of the people happened at the hands President Assad’s. When in reality the mass-killing, destroying of infrastructure and entire cities was the result of US, UK, French, Israeli and Saudi air strikes.
Yes, President Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Israel in January 2020. In addition to attending together with French President Emmanuel Macron the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, there will, for sure, be other items on the Russian – Israeli agenda, including cooperation in Syria. And, who says Syria, must also say Iran and Hezbollah.
Let’s not forget, Russia has vital interests in Syria, not only because of Russia’s involvement in and fight against the Western War on Syria – and that by invitation of President Bashar al-Assad – but also because of Russia’s military bases in Syria, i.e. Russia’s naval facility at Tartus, and the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Israel’s hundreds if not thousands of Syrian airspace violations present a permanent danger for Russia’s military bases and for thousands of Russian troops stationed in Syria.
Earlier this month Russian war planes intercepted Israeli jets over southern Syria. According to the Russian publication Avia.Pro, the Israeli jets were intent on attacking Syria’s T-4 Airbase in the western province of Homs. There are also constant threats by Israel on Iran – including threats of nuclear attacks. Russian planes have repeatedly stopped Israeli war jets from outright attacking Damascus. The Russia also helped the Syrian air force intercepting Israeli drones aiming at Syrian strategic military installations or cities. Russia has repeatedly condemned Israeli airstrikes in Syria.
Mr. Netanyahu is well aware that thanks to Russian intervention in the western war (western = US / NATO, French, UK, Israel, Saudis) on Syria since 2015, ISIS / IS and affiliated western-funded and armed proxies and terrorist groups have been defeated. If there is a reemergence of ISIS / IS / Daesh, it is due to the fact that the west, especially Washington, will not let go, and will keep reviving these terror groups until they achieve regime change in Damascus. Mr. Putin is well aware of this and will not quit the region – even if falsely tempted to do so by President Trump’s back and forth lies and deceptions about the US leaving Syria.
Since western media closes both eyes on whatever Israel does, the common western citizen would never know about Israel’s breaches of all international laws and human rights. – And this is not even mentioning the ongoing Israeli massacre against Palestine, largely driven by the ultra-rightwing Likud party led by Netanyahu, making Netanyahu the instigator of mass-murder – which after 60-plus years of relentless Israeli aggression might be called genocide on an impoverished and locked-up people. – Not exactly an endearing feat for Israel.
A case in point about ultra-biased western mainstream media against Syria, presents this current story, following a Statement from the Political and Media Office of the Syrian Presidency:
“On 26 November 2019, President al-Assad granted an interview to (Italian) Rai CEO, Monica Maggioni.
It was agreed that the interview would air on 2 December on both Italian Rai News 24 and Syrian national media outlets. Early on the morning of 2 December, we received a request, on behalf of Rai News 24, to delay the broadcast with no clear explanation. This was later followed by two further requests to delay, with no date set for when the interview will air and no further explanation.
This is another example of Western attempts to hide the truth on the situation in Syria, and its ramifications on Europe and the international arena. If Rai News 24 continue to refuse to air the interview, the Political and Media Office of the Syrian Presidency will broadcast the interview in full, on Monday 9 December 2019 at 9pm Damascus time.”
A few days ago, the hawkish Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, threatened to launch “hundreds of Tomahawk missiles” against Iran, and that with the help of the US, the Saudis and the UAE. Russia has also close relations with Iran and, therefore, an equally strong reason to seriously talk to Israel. These are strategic conflict-preventing diplomatic talks, not honeymoon talks.
On 6 December the online “National Interest” quipped, “Yes, Nuclear War Between Russia and Israel Is Not Unthinkable.” This, I believe, is a largely exaggerated statement, but it shows that there is not much love left between the two countries. Diplomacy which Putin masters brilliantly, is not to be confused with friendship. Its conflict prevention.
There is indeed no ‘honeymoon’, between the two leaders. When Netanyahu flew to Sochi in September 2019 to meet with Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu was made to wait for nearly three hours to see Putin, allegedly because the Russian leader was late returning from an event in Dagestan. Netanyahu’s political rivals were quick in pointing out, “In Russia, nothing happens by chance. Everything there is planned to the smallest detail. When they keep the prime minister of Israel in a waiting room for nearly three hours, this is probably not by accident.” They might be right.
Given the current pressure Netanyahu is under – from fighting prison on charges of corruption and facing new elections – the third within a year – in which he will most likely not win, it is understandable that he looks for prominent amigos wherever he can, to strengthen his case at home and abroad. Twisting the news in a way as to make them appear that a super friendly rapprochement between President Putin and PM Netanyahu is rapidly evolving, is also understandable, but not to be confused with reality.
It looks like Mr. Putin is playing his card well, as usual. His goal is to bring stability to the embattled population of the Middle East. In the process of doing so, he also assures Russian allies that Russia remains committed to help bring stability, harmony and eventually PEACE to the region.
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Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Featured image is from Oriental Review