Russia has deployed troops, aircraft and weapons to Syria, and surprised the U.S. with his game changer – out positioning regional players like Turkey. In just two weeks Putin has dramatically called out and put the western world’s plans to topple al-Assad to a halt!
Putin sat down with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak of the mess in Syria and the middle east. At the end of the talks Netanyahu agreed to Putin’s help and a joint co-ordination mechanism to “prevent misunderstandings” – which boils down to Bibi must ask Vladimir Putin for permission before making any military strikes in the region. It is not clear how this will play out as now Netanyahu is lamenting not being able to strike without permission from the Kremlin. But, there are a few reasons that motivated the master negotiator Putin to make such a demand.
It seems Bibi has secretly ordered Israeli planes and artillery strikes inside Syria several times since 2013 to stop the Assad government from working with Iran to open a front against them in the Syrian Golan. The government has kept silent about its past strikes which they have been operating over southern Syria for the past decade, but with Russian troops mobilized in Syria it placed Netanyahu in an awkward position and in talks with Putin, Netanyahu had to reveal a few things he did not want to reveal , things like they have been striking Syria in secret to avoid provoking the Assad government from mounting a military response back at them.
In 2007 the Israeli military carried out an unacknowledged air strike on a nuclear reactor in Syria. But most disturbing is that last January Israel struck in the Golan and killed six Hizbollah members and an Iranian general. And another air strike in the Golan last month that killed at least four people, in retaliation for four rocket strikes that Mr Netanyahu accused Iran of orchestrating.
It’s not clear exactly how Israel will co-ordinate its military strikes with the Kremlin, nor is it certain if Russia, a big producer of the type of weapons Israel fears, agree with Israel’s “red lines” on which of them may or may not be used by Hizbollah?
It is also not clear how much Putin will tell the world about the rest of the Western world’s involvement. He has spoken up about several things even calling out Obama for arming and training recruits for ISIS
Israel, the pre-eminent military power in the Levant, is looking like the biggest loser from the Kremlin’s backing Syria.
By stationing about 2,000 troops and setting up what could become three bases around Latakia, it has helped Bashar Al-Assad whose main allies in the war are Israels leading regional enemies. Iran and the militant group Hizbollah.
Putin is implementing a firm military strategy and not letting emotions interfere. His military methods of fighting ISIS may make Netanyahu nervous, but in the end he needs to remember, Putin’s goal is to end the terrorists attacks that the western world has labeled a rebellion and to make sure that no western interference gets in the way of achieving that. Putin is not interested in any of the western world’s alternative motives. In fact he is exposing those and calling them all out.
Putin has taken the leadership role in a battle that was out of control with no end in sight. Having Netanyahu ask permission to strike is perfectly understandable. The last thing Putin needs is a secret strike that interferes with the strategies he has put in play. He has assured Netanyahu that Russia’s actions in the region will always be responsible.
Netanyahu may have to adjust to the idea of co-ordinating any potential strikes with Moscow first, but if it means preventing any western war antics, it will be a good thing.
Written by Dianne Marshall