The coming pull out of American forces from Syria has brought the chance of direct confrontation between Israel and Iran closer than ever. In fact, the day time airstrikes by Israel against Iranian positions in Syria were the first of their kind ever.
Observers have also noticed that Russia’s typical response of meaningless neutral statements has now been replaced by hostile demands to the Israeli government.
Day Time Airstrikes by Israel – A Major Shift
“The practice of arbitrary strikes on the territory of a sovereign state – in this case, we are talking about Syria – should be ruled out,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, in answer to a question from Russian news agency TASS about recent Israeli airstrikes on Syria.
This is the first time that Moscow has demanded that Israel cease its airstrikes on Iranian positions in Syria. Of course this may be just posturing, however the tone and words indicate that the region is rapidly heading to a wider conflict that threatens to engulf Israel.
What Does Russia Want?
Putin has always been interested in pushing America out of the region. We have seen his broader plan unfolding by his attempt to cut arms deals with the Saudis, Kurds, and other American allies. He has also attempted to force Israel into taking a far more neutral stance within the great game of Middle Eastern geopolitics.
All of this has not worked thus far. Part of the reason behind Israel’s ability to withstand Russian pressure has been the USA’s presence in Northern and Eastern Syria. Putin’s statement has come now to show that he ready to take a far different approach due to America’s upcoming pullout.
Of course, Israel is also taking a different approach, most certainly in coordination with the Trump administration. By announcing that his has attacked Iranian positions in Syria and will continue to do so, Bibi and his government is essentially saying that they are not afraid of Putin. Furthermore it is clear that Trump has removed the constraints from around the Israeli military establishment when dealing with Iran in Syria.