By Yaakov Lapin, Algemeiner—-

The crisis in Russian-Israeli relations that followed the downing of a Russian aircraft in September lacks an exit strategy, and has resulted in significantly higher tensions in the Syrian arena.

Russia is seeking to pressure Israel into rolling back its air strikes in Syria, fearing that they will jeopardize the stability of the Assad regime. Moscow has waged a three-year air campaign in support of the brutal Assad and his regime’s Iranian-led Shiite allies.

This allowed the Russians to project their power into the heart of the Middle East, secure a naval port, an airbase, and a center of regional influence, while challenging America’s regional role.

But the ongoing Israeli-Iranian conflict on Syrian soil could place those gains at risk by dragging the Syrian regime into the conflict. This means Russian and Israeli interests have begun to collide.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel will not permit Iran to set up attack bases on Syrian soil, despite Russia’s new posture against Israel’s “War Between the Wars” campaign in Syria. A series of signals over recent weeks indicate that Jerusalem and Moscow have been unable to defuse the crisis, after Russia placed responsibility for the September 17 downing of a Russian plane on Israel. Continue Reading…