Tip of the Iceberg: Russian Use of Power in Syria

(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror - The Russians are determined to reacquire some of the status once enjoyed by the Soviet Union. They believe Western carelessness is to blame for the rise of Islamic State, and are using the Syrian theater to demonstrate their strategic capability. Some argue that Russia has become the most powerful superpower in the Middle East due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's ability to invest significant resources in the region, coupled with his willingness to take significant risks. Russia is still feeling the effects of the trauma of the Libyan crisis. In March 2011, Russia agreed to get on board with the UN Security Council resolution, which had been carefully worded so as to prevent an all-out war on late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime. Russia found itself surprised by Western powers, which - under the umbrella of the resolution - took out the regime in which Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, had invested considerable funds and political energy. Israel has some major disagreements with Russia, especially after the sale of sophisticated weapons to Iran and Syria and the transfer of many weapons systems to Hizbullah. On the other hand, Russia's willingness to tolerate Israeli Air Force operations over Syria reflects a certain understanding of Israel's position. Yet Israel should not rely on the hope that the Russians will limit Hizbullah's and Iran's operations against Israel or do anything to mitigate them. The writer is a former Israeli national security advisor and former Director of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

2016-10-10 00:00:00

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