Russian Involvement in Syria: What has Changed, and the Significance for Israel

(Institute for National Security Studies) Udi Dekel and Zvi Magen - Beyond saving Assad's regime, the Russian move, executed under the guise of fighting the Islamic State, is intended to advance Russia's effort for a senior role in the international arena. For good reason Putin compared the current circumstances to the World War II era and the need to reach understandings between the superpowers, similar to the Yalta Conference on the Crimean Peninsula that was designed to divide the spheres of influence between them after the war. The Sept. 28, 2015, meeting between the Russian and American Presidents at the UN was intended to lay a foundation of new understandings between the superpowers, together with an attempt by Putin to achieve American and Western recognition for Russia's military involvement in Syria. Israel should strive for Russian recognition of Israel's interests in Syria, among them the need to prevent the establishment of Salafi jihadi terrorist elements in the Golan Heights border region. In spite of Russian promises that it is not Moscow's intention to challenge Israel militarily, time will tell whether Russia will maintain the understanding to refrain from stationing weapons systems that undermine Israeli military superiority on Syrian soil, such as S-300 surface-to-air missiles. Udi Dekel, managing director of INSS, was head of the Strategic Planning Division in the Planning Directorate of the IDF General Staff. Zvi Magen is a former Israeli ambassador to Russia.

2015-10-09 00:00:00

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