Middle East Monitor Tues., May 29, 2018
Israel and Russia have been supporting opposing sides in the Syrian war but according to sources in Israel the two countries have reached a “dramatic understanding” whereby Moscow will concede to virtually every single demand made by Tel Aviv.
The agreement, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, will see coordination between Israel and Russia with the view to halt the spread of Iranian influence in the region. Senior political figures in both countries are said to have reached an understanding over a framework to ensure Israel’s security.
An outline of the understanding was reported by Israeli news agency, Arutz Sheva. According to the pro-settler news site the following items were agreed between Israel and Russia:
1) President Bashar Al-Assad’s army is returning to control southern Syria on the border with Israel;
2) Russia shall undertake there will be no Iranian or Hezbollah presence in this area;
3) For its part, Israel will accept Al-Assad’s return to southern Syria provided the Russians enforce their commitment to distance Iran and Hezbollah from the Israeli border;
4) In addition, Russia will publicly call on all foreign elements to leave all of Syria, referring to Iran, Hezbollah, but also the United States and Turkey. This is significant because Israel believes the Iranians will not give up Syria so easily;
5) Israel will maintain freedom of action against Iranian consolidation in all of Syria.
Russia, to the dismay of Israel, has backed the Syrian regime to the hilt since its intervention in the war in September 2015. Moscow has coordinated with Iran and its proxies in the region against opposition forces.
The Syrian regime’s survival, largely due to Russian intervention, placed Vladimir Putin directly at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Their differences however appear to have been set aside in favour of the Israel’s long term strategic interests.