Tuesday 31 January, 2023

Al-Estiklal Newspaper

These Are the Terms and Results of the Israeli–Russian Collaboration in Syria

2021/11/09 16:11:00 |
Russia is exploiting the rivalry between Tehran and Tel Aviv for its benefits.
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Unlike other actors, “Israel,” which is considered one of the planners to abort the Arab Spring project, has been working in secret since the start of the Syrian war to maintain its interest in the region.

The Turkish newspaper, Yeni Şafak, said: "Israel has been at war with Syria since 1948, especially because of the Golan Heights (occupied by Israel since 1967)."

However, with the change of government in “Israel,” the Tel Aviv administration carried out missile attacks on Syria in late October 2021.

Prior to that, the Damascus regime had held the Tel Aviv administration responsible for the killing of Medhat Saleh, a former parliament member and director of the Golan Affairs Office at the Syrian regime's prime minister.

 

Tel Aviv goals

The head of the "Al-Hikma" Center for Strategic Studies, Al-Nur Ismail, said that it is not easy to answer the question, "What are the Israeli goals in Syria?"

Yet, we can make reviews and make assessments about its foreign policy strategies related to the region in general, and thus infer its goals in Syria, the author says.

He continued: “Israel aims to eliminate any military or strategic threat that may come from Syria, in addition to ending the Iranian presence there, and thus Hezbollah.”

In addition to the division of Syrian lands along ethnic and sectarian lines, and the establishment of a separatist Kurdish state in the region that overlooks the Mediterranean.

The truth is that the current Syrian regime cannot pose any real threat to “Israel,” according to the author's assessment.

 As for the issue of the unity and territorial integrity of Syria in the context of the ethnic and sectarian division of Syria, this is a controversial issue.

Especially since the threat of the Democratic Union Party / the People's Protection Units, which Turkey classifies as "terrorist", could form a state in Syria has not disappeared.

The Turkish writer added: “Here, it can be noted that supporting the terrorist YPG is not a priority for Israel, but rather a group that can easily abandon it when it needs to.”

For example, it was in Israel's interest for Iranian-backed groups to head north from the occupied Palestinian border to support the YPG while Turkey launched its military campaign in Afrin against the YPG.

Now, the Israeli attacks continue to target Syrian territory with missiles, targeting the Iranian and Hezbollah presence that protects Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.

Of course, “Israel” has never said that it targets the Assad regime directly, and it always asserts that its goal is limited to eliminating the Iranian-backed forces stationed around the Golan Heights.

 

Russia's Position

Ismail pointed out that Russia and Iran have different interests in Syria, although they support the Assad regime today, which is in Israel's interest.

Russia is softening its response to Israel's attacks against Iranian forces in and around Damascus, after relations developed between Moscow and Tel Aviv during the era of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Moreover, it was mentioned in the sources that “Israel” was informing the Russian authorities before launching its attacks.

Since Russia did not activate the air defense systems it sent to Syria to protect the Assad regime during the attacks launched against Iran, this shows that the Kremlin was not disturbed by the Israeli attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Russia in late October 2021 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

The writer says: “Establishing good relations with Russia is important for Israel, just as it is very important for Moscow to develop its relations with Tel Aviv in the Middle East.”

Lavrov's proposal to persuade the United States of the idea of ​​holding a tripartite meeting between America, “Israel” and Russia on the Syrian crisis during Yair Lapid's visit to Moscow revealed the importance of maintaining good relations between Moscow and Tel Aviv on regional issues.

Therefore, both sides respect the "red lines" of the other side in the Syrian file, according to the author's description.

He stressed that, Here, it must be emphasized that the deepening Iranian influence in Syria is what worries both “Israel” and Russia.

Putin's statement, made during his meeting with Israeli officials, stated that he understands Tel Aviv's security concerns, which shows that he will not interfere in its "aggressive" strategies in Syria unless Russia's interests are in danger.

 

Clear Terms

On the other hand, Russia is benefiting the rivalry between Tehran and Tel Aviv.

Russia hosted the Iranian Chief of General Staff, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, and the two countries stressed the importance of developing military relations between them, just before Bennett's visit to Moscow.

Ismail went on: “Syria has occupied its place as one of the parties in all the Arab-Israeli wars since the establishment of the State of Israel.”

But the current problems are nothing like the old problems and conflicts, whereas Israel's foreign policies in Syria have become based on strategies to protect its security without causing any fuss.

Here, “Israel” places a priority on limiting the influence of Iran and its proxies in Syria and the region in general.

He continued, "Therefore, the assessment of the proxy wars waged by Israel in Syria should not be neglected from this perspective as well."

This means that Tel Aviv will continue to target Iranian forces in Syria without crossing Russia's red lines.

On the other hand, the "Iran card" will remain on the agenda to obtain popular political support, as all previous Israeli governments did.

However, we should also not forget that Israel's support for the Democratic Union Party / the "terrorist" People's Protection Units (YPG) as part of its strategies represents a threat to Turkey's security, according to the author.

Therefore, he said, "Turkey must work to persuade Israel to abandon such policies in Syria."

 


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References:

1

What does Israel intend in Syria? [Turkish]

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