Russia's Brinkmanship with US Clashes with Israel's Security
Jerusalem will find Russia's delivery of the S-300 missile system to Syria to be an intolerable development; it is safe to assume that Israel will act to prevent this from happening.
Russia is aggressively squaring off with an indecisive and rather meek West about Syria, and in the process, is also threatening to undermine Israeli efforts to ensure that Iran and Syria do not ship strategic weapons to Hezbollah.
The Syrian civil war has become a dangerous and complex battle of multiple actors and their proxies: Sunni versus Shi'ite, Iran versus the Gulf states, Al-Qaeda versus Hezbollah, and on a global scale, the United States versus Russia.
Moscow is trying to deter a potential US or NATO-led initiative to set up a no-fly zone over areas of Syria, and is seeking to stop Western-led air strikes against chemical weapons sites.
Russia also seems concerned that recent air strikes in Damascus targeting Hezbollah-bound guided Iranian missiles -- strikes attributed by the foreign media to Israel -- will pave the way to such an intervention.
Israel has no interest in getting involved in the Syrian civil war. Rather, it is looking out for the safety of millions of citizens, who already live in the shadow of some 80,000 Hezbollah rockets, and would be threatened further by the transfer of precise, powerful missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In recent days, Russia unleashed a flurry of moves to establish its support of Syria.
The Russian moves include: Declaring that it will proceed with deliveries of the advanced S-300 air defense system to Assad, mobilizing war ships to the eastern Mediterranean, and selling sophisticated surface-to-sea Yakhont missiles to Assad.
Moscow's recent maneuvers might be more bluster than real -- the S-300 has yet to be delivered, and Russia was in 2010 talked out of selling the formidable air defense system to Iran.
The threat, however, was serious enough for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to make an unscheduled trip last week to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. The two later held a press conference, repeating their public positions, but it is doubtful that those statements were a complete reflection of their private exchange.
Israel is opposed to Assad receiving the S-300 missile for several reasons: With its sophisticated radars and range of 200 kilometers, the S-300 can hamper Israel Air Force aircraft seeking to monitor Hezbollah in Lebanon. The system can also disrupt future Israeli efforts to intercept the transit of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah through Syria. Finally, Assad can choose to smuggle S-300 batteries to Hezbollah or Iran.
Should the S-300 fall into Iranian hands, the future potential mission of launching a military strike on Iran's developing nuclear program would be more even more complex than it already is. Knowing that the S-300 was in Hezbollah's hands, and could target Israeli aircraft sent to stop it, would only boost the Shi'ite terror organization's confidence to launch cross-border attacks on Israel. For these reasons, Jerusalem will find Russia's delivery of such a system to Syria to be an intolerable development; it is safe to assume that Israel will act to prevent this from happening.
Similarly, the Russian Yakhont missiles already delivered to Syria threaten Israel Navy ships carrying out vital missions in the Mediterranean.
Behind closed-doors, intense diplomacy -- including the sudden visit by CIA Director John Brennan to Israel -- is underway to try and contain these developments, and prevent them from triggering further regional security deterioration.
Reader comments on this item
|The 'bully' returns. [161 words]||Ethan P.||May 20, 2013 08:38|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.
Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.
by Peter Martino
Scottish independence would be a disaster for NATO, putting the UK nuclear deterrent in jeopardy. It would also put into question national borders all over Europe, including Catalonia, Belgium, France's Brittany and Corsica, Italy's South Tyrol -- and Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in 2008 that Kosovo's independence "would be the beginning of the end for Europe."
Crimea's recent secession from Ukraine was justified with a reference to "the Kosovo precedent," which Putin pointed out, "our Western partners created with their own hands."
by Soeren Kern
Portugal, like Spain, also figures prominently in a map produced by the jihadist group Islamic State [IS] that outlines a five-year plan for expanding its Islamic Caliphate into Europe.
"Holy War is the only solution for humanity." — Abdu, Portuguese jihadist.
"Every time these jihadists groups mention the recovery of al-Andalus, they are also referring to Portugal. Jihadists do not believe in national divisions, but in the existence of a single Muslim community that embraces the entire Iberian Peninsula." — Miguel Torres Soriano, Spanish terrorism expert.
by Alan M. Dershowitz
President George W. Bush's announcement in 2001 to support the creation of a Palestinian state offered a unique opportunity to Palestinians to end the violence and begin building a new future. Hamas's response came a few weeks later, when it fired the first Qassam rocket into the Israeli town of Sderot, population approximately 20,000.
It was only after Hamas's coup in June 2007, and the heavy rocket attacks that followed, that Israel imposed more extensive sanctions on Gaza. Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians were not a response to Gaza's increasing isolation, but the cause.
The sanctions imposed on Gaza -- not only by Israel, but the world -- were the direct result of Hamas's refusal to meet the international community's basic, reasonable demands: stop terror, recognize Israel, and respect previous agreements. Hamas and its fellow terrorist organizations deny the right to live in peace.
The Goldstone Report not only falsified the past; it had a negative influence by encouraging Hamas to repeat its own double war crimes: firing rockets at Israeli civilians from behind Palestinian human shields -- and killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers through its terrorist tunnels.
by Burak Bekdil
Last June, Turkey's own Frankenstein, who went by the name of ISIS, attacked the Turkish consulate compound in Mosul, and took 49 Turks, including the consul general, hostage.
The hostages are still in captivity. So is Turkey.
For each [Islamic] sect, the other is "not even Muslim."