Are Russia, the U.S. and Israel Uniting Against Iran?

(Ha'aretz) Zvi Bar'el - Russia has no intention of simply returning Syria to Assad's control. It sees Syria as leverage to furthering its hold in the Middle East. This consists of building bridges with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, forging an economic alliance with Egypt while giving it military assistance, getting rid of American and European sanctions, and bolstering its status in the world. These Russian aspirations are not compatible with Iran's. Iran sees Syria not only as a strategic outpost that will preserve Iran's influence in Lebanon, but as a regional outpost to counterbalance Saudi Arabia's ambitions. This outpost will open pathways for Iran into the Mediterranean and complement the alliances it has forged with Iraq and Turkey. This is viewed as a strategic threat not only to Israel and the U.S., but to Russia as well. Recent local clashes between pro-Iranian militias and Russian-sponsored militias indicate that Russia is acting to thwart the Iranian threat. Russia is training and arming local militias through private Russian companies. Russia has also ordered Assad to fire pro-Iranian officers and soldiers, while Russian officers have taken command of some Syrian army units. A summit of Israeli, U.S., and Russian national security advisors will take place in Israel this month. Meir Ben-Shabbat, John Bolton and Nikolai Patrushev will discuss regional developments as equal partners. Such a meeting conveys to Iran and the region that the Russian-American-Israeli axis could be the one to draft the new Middle East roadmap. At the same time, Russia has failed to keep its promise to keep Iran's forces more than 80 km. away from Israel's border in the Golan Heights, and there are doubts whether it can make Iran withdraw at this stage.

2019-06-07 00:00:00

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