A year ago, Russia’s mask of non-hostility towards Israel was still in place, in the form of strategic coordination with Israel regarding the latter’s bombings in Syria. This allowed it to conceal that it fully sided with Israel’s enemies: Syria and Iran. Even as it refrained from trying to stop Israel from bombing Iranian targets in Syria, as if it could have prevented this, it was at the same time enabling and sponsoring Iran’s expansion into Syria.
An article I wrote a year ago presented the unvarnished facts about Russia’s support for Iran’s expansion in Syria at the expense of Israel’s national security. It asserted that the Iranian forces’ presence in Syria constituted an existential threat to Israel. It further explained, for the benefit of those who could not conceive of Putin as so anti-Israel—after all, he had made Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a guest of honor at the Moscow Victory Day parade in Red Square in May—that this was nothing personal against Israel, but, as they say in the mafia, just business connected to Russia’s rivalry with the U.S. In truth, the strategic Israel-Russia coordination of Israeli bombings in Syria served Russian interests: Israel declared that it would continue the bombings no matter what, and an Israel-Russia military escalation could only draw the United States into the melee and expose Russia as a mere regional power that was no match for the United States.
Following the Sept. 18 downing of an Ilyushin-20 plane by Syrian missiles, Russia’s mask dropped, and the true anti-Israel face of its policy was fully revealed. Indeed, Putin first attempted to conceal it by refraining from fully blaming Israel for the tragedy. But soon enough he joined his subordinates in blaming Israel, and announced that Russia would equip Syria with S-300 missile systems, which would, inter alia, protect Iranian forces in Syria from Israeli attacks. Continue Reading….