Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

Israel and Russia are NOT on the verge of war. They are allies!

There are no circumstances under which Russia will go to war with Israel over Syria. Doing so would be wholly contrary to Russia’s policies and strategic interests.

Andrew Korybko

Published

on

8,786 Views

The alternative media community, especially its social media iteration, is experiencing collective psychosis in hallucinating that “Israel” and Russia are on the verge of war with one another.

The prevailing narrative is that Israeli “Defense Minister” Lieberman’s threat to destroy Syria’s air defense systems is tantamount to a declaration of war against Russia, with the assumption being that Moscow is on a crusade against Zionism and has thus become Tel Aviv’s worst enemy.

There’s no diplomatic way to say this, but the presumptions on which such a crazy conclusion has been reached are absolutely and utterly wrong.

Far from being Israel’s hated nemesis like many in the alternative media community wishfully pretend that it is, Moscow is one of Tel Aviv’s closest allies, and this is entirely due to President Putin’s deliberate policies. Not only does he enjoy a very strong personal friendship with Netanyahu, but President Putin also sees a lot of opportunity to advance his country’s interests in Israel through the large Russian diaspora there.

Russia wants to compete with the US for influence in Israel for several interrelated reasons.

Firstly, Judaism is one of Russia’s four official religions as stipulated by the 1993 constitution, thus partially making Russia a “Jewish State” in the technical-legal sense. To be fair, though, Russia is also an Orthodox, Muslim, and Buddhist country too by the same measure.

Coupled with the Russian diaspora in Israel, Moscow seeks to leverage these religious-personal connections in order to acquire greater clout over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which in turn would be expected to boost Russia’s global Great Power prestige (which is exceptionally important to its leadership).

As a “reward” for its positive involvement in helping to resolve this seemingly intractable issue, Russia might expect Israel to grant its state companies important contracts in building, servicing, and/or investing in any potential Eastern Mediterranean pipeline from the offshore Leviathan gas field to the EU, which would exponentially increase Moscow’s influence on the global energy market and consequently on world affairs in general.

To be absolutely clear, I respectfully disagree with this approach for principled reasons, though I understand why Russia has embarked on it, and what it hopes to reap from its multifaceted engagement with Israel.

Returning to the current context and topic of this article, there’s no way whatsoever that Russia would ever even consider lobbying a volley of nuclear missiles at Israel no matter what Netanyahu does in Syria, even if he delivers on his government’s threats to destroy the country’s air defense systems.

In such a frightful scenario, Russia would assuredly issue a sharp diplomatic rebuke against Israel and probably take symbolic measures to express its disapproval, but it won’t ever preemptively intervene and stop Israeli jets from bombing Syria because its mandate is strictly to fight terrorism, and not defend Syria’s borders from outside state aggression.

Moreover, it’s an open fact that Russia and Israel have established mechanisms to coordinate their military action in Syria so as to avoid inadvertent clashes, which is hardly the behaviour that anyone would expect from two parties on the brink of an all-out nuclear exchange against each other.

Let’s face it — Russia and Israel are high-level and comprehensive strategic allies with one another, though this by no means signifies that Moscow is incapable of “balancing” its relations between Tel Aviv and Damascus.

In fact, it’s this very tricky diplomatic “balancing act” which might actually be somewhat restraining Israel from taking more aggressive action in Syria, as it understands that there’s a certain limit to what it can do and “get away with” before it overly embarrasses Russia and negatively impacts on bilateral relationships.

Everyone knows that Russia has deployed S-400 air defense missiles in Syria, and this fact was reported on with much fanfare and enthusiasm in the alternative media community, both through its professional outlets and on social media. Many people naively assumed that this would put a stop to Israel’s occasional strikes in Syria, yet several high-profile ones have occurred in the time since, in spite of the presence of the S-400s.

This can only be interpreted as proof that Russia has no desire to overstep its anti-terrorism mandate and defend Syria’s external borders, nor would it even want that heavy responsibility if Damascus offered it.

In addition, the fact that these strikes happened without any noticeable interference from the Russian side can be taken as visible confirmation that the mechanisms earlier described between Moscow and Tel Aviv are working properly in avoiding any inadvertent clashes between the two sides.

This does not mean, however, that Russia condones Israel’s illegal military activity in Syria (especially its latest bombing), but just that it passively stands by and chooses time and again to avoid becoming involved in what Moscow sees as a strictly bilateral issue between Tel Aviv and Damascus.

Nevertheless, a blatant act of state-on-state aggression such as attempting to obliterate Syria’s nationwide anti-air defense systems wouldn’t be tolerated by Russia, and would probably compel President Putin to freeze relations with “Israel” due to the unacceptable diplomatic embarrassment that Netanyahu would have inflicted on Moscow.

Netanyahu, for his part, is keenly aware of the limits of what he can and cannot do in Syria without risking Russia’s genuine ire, so it is extremely unlikely that he will carry through on his Defense Minister’s threat. That being said, however, Israel — being the quintessential rogue state that it is — might backstab Russia by doing this anyhow so long as its leadership believes that the “cost-benefit” calculation “justifies” such action.

The only realistic scenario for that to happen would be if Israel was convinced — whether “rightly” or wrongly — that Iranian and Hezbollah activity in Syria posed an “imminent threat” to its interests that would surpass any perceived indirect negotiating/”balancing” benefits vis-a-vis these parties that Tel Aviv’s alliance with Moscow provides.

It’s been speculated that Russia is very understanding of Israel’s concerns about Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, and that Moscow might even be discretely pressing for Damascus to draw up a “face-saving” plan for ensuring these forces’ post-war withdrawal from the country, so if that’s the case, then Israel has no reason to further escalate its aggression against Syria under the false pretexts of combating these two Resistance actors.

The fact that Tel Aviv issued its latest threats, however, indicate that this speculation might not be entirely true, since it would logically follow that any successful Russian efforts on this front would negate whatever “reason” Israel might have for jeopardizing its mutually advantageous alliance with Moscow.

Another possible explanation might be that Syria doesn’t agree with Russia’s rumored suggestions in this respect and therefore isn’t going along with them, which from Tel Aviv’s perspective might cause it to recalculate that its alliance with Moscow is disposable because it has failed to bear fruit on one of its most important fronts.

Much more likely, however, is that there isn’t any secret Russian-Israeli understanding to conspire against Iran and Hezbollah’s post-war presence in Syria, and that Israel’s latest threat was issued independently of its relationship with Russia, though of course only time will tell what the truth really is.

To get back to the topical issue at hand, any large-scale state-to-state attack that Israel might launch against Syria probably wouldn’t be stopped by Russia, but it would definitely ruin the relationship between Moscow and Tel Aviv. Russia isn’t going to go to war against Israel for the sake of saving Syria and formally going beyond its specific mandate, no matter how much millions of people might wish that it would under those circumstances.

Even so, Russia is a proud and dignified civilization-state which won’t accept the global humiliation that would ensue from passively allowing such a massive aggression to occur under its watch, despite it legally not being Russia’s responsibility to protect Syria’s external borders or to prevent state aggression against its military, which is why it would be forced to freeze all ties with Israel in response.

In that scenario, Russia’s “balancing” policy would come to an abrupt end and Moscow might reactively realign its regional priorities with the Resistance Bloc of Iran and Hezbollah instead of remaining “impartial” like it currently is, though still taking care not to do anything which could be perceived as stoking Israel’s paranoia that Russia might also be in the process of becoming a “threat” to it too.

To wrap everything up, no realistic case can be argued that Russia is on the verge of war with Israel. Historical facts such as the unprecedented Russian-Israeli Strategic Partnership, the public existence of bilateral military coordination mechanisms in Syria, and the sincere personal friendship between President Putin and Netanyahu, categorically disprove any such claims.

While it might be “fashionable” to pretend that Russia is opposed to Israel, that’s simply not true at all, no matter how much people in the alternative media community might deeply wish for it to be so. Even in the disastrous event that Israel decides to launch an all-out conventional attack against Syria and escalate its presently ongoing Yinon Plan of divide-and-rule “Arab Spring” Hybrid War into something much larger, there’s no way that Russia would intervene, although it would clearly be displeased and would have to take appropriate diplomatic countermeasures in order to save its prestige.

The bottom line is that supporters of the Syrian Arab Republic mustn’t let their optimistic well wishing desires cloud their analytical judgement and objective appraisal of reality, because failure to do so will only result in the creation of an alternative universe totally divorced from the world in which we truly live.

And that, folks, leads to legitimately “fake news” such as the hysterical claims that Russia is about to go to war with Israel.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

Published

on

Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

Published

on

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending