Executive Intelligence Review


Israel Looks to Russia, Not U.S., for Leadership To Deescalate Syrian Conflict

Feb. 12, 2018 (EIRNS)—One of the messages coming out of Israel in the aftermath of Israeli air raids into Syria on Feb. 10 is that it’s Moscow to which Israeli leaders are looking to help de-escalate tensions, not the United States. Furthermore today, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in Moscow for consultations.

Jerusalem Post reporter Michael Wilner wrote,

“In a serious military and diplomatic crisis between powerful nation-states, where the international community would in past years look to the U.S. for leadership, all eyes are on Moscow for direction.”

Posted today, Wilner’s analysis, including demonizing Iran, continued,

“it is a consequence of six years of Syria policy in which Washington chose to disengage from the war there and allow Russia and Iran to run free.”

While in past crises, Israelis might have turned to the U.S. for leadership, “it is unclear what diplomatic or military options the administration has at its disposal to help in this case or in any future crises to come,” Wilner goes on.

“This administration has no channel of communication with Tehran, unlike its predecessor; it does not have relations with the Assad government. And if conflict were to erupt, Washington’s priority would be to avoid a confrontation between its own military forces and Russian forces before anything else.”

Michael Oren, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy, told Bloomberg that he believed that Israel is looking more to Moscow than to the United States to deescalate things.

“The American part of the equation is to back us up,” but the United States currently “has almost no leverage on the ground,” he said. “America did not ante up in Syria. It’s not in the game.” Bloomberg reports that Oren’s criticism reflects Israel’s view that Washington isn’t doing enough to curb Iran’s military ambitions in southern Syria, which borders the Israeli-held Golan Heights, as seven years of fighting wind down and actors consolidate gains.

Not mentioned explicitly in either analysis, but likely obvious to anybody involved in the region, is that Russia is the only power that’s actually talking to both sides in the conflict. Russia views Iran as a strategic partner in Syria, while at the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin is engaged in a regular dialogue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.