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Russia Is Unlikely To Let Syria Get Involved In The Latest Israeli-Hamas War
This assessment is due to Russia’s documented support of the self-professed Jewish State’s national security interests and President Putin’s lifelong philo-Semitism.
The latest Israeli-Hamas war has sparked concerns of a larger regional conflict that could possibly involve Russia’s Syrian ally due to the Arab Republic’s hosting of Iran’s IRGC and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Those second-mentioned forces might come to their Palestinian ally’s aid according to this scenario, which might unleash a large-scale Israeli bombing campaign against Syria. Should that happen, then some are afraid that Russia could get dragged into this conflict too, thus moving everything closer to World War III.
For as worried as some might be about that sequence of events unfolding, Russia is unlikely to let Syria get involved in the latest Israeli-Hamas war due to its documented support of the self-professed Jewish State’s national security interests. This article here collected several dozen of President Putin’s quotes from the official Kremlin website between 2000-2018 to prove how passionately he supports the IDF. As can be seen, the Russian leader strongly backs Israel’s right to self-defense, especially against terrorists.
In the Syrian context, this has taken the form of his country letting Israel bomb the IRGC and Hezbollah literally hundreds of times with impunity since 2015. The pretext upon which every one of these strikes occurred was Tel Aviv’s claim that it’s thwarting impending terrorist threats from the Arab Republic. All that Russia ever does in response is occasionally criticize these attacks, but it never takes any tangible action to stop them. This includes not allowing Syria to fire the S-300s that it finally received in late 2018.
Although the Kremlin doesn’t regard the IRGC or Hezbollah as terrorists, and both are actually fighting terrorists like ISIS in Syria at Damascus’ request, it doesn’t approve of those two allegedly turning that country into a base of operations against Israel. Reportedly plotting to do so risks exacerbating the Iranian-Israeli security dilemma to the point of an all-out proxy war in the Arab Republic, which could reverse Russia’s anti-terrorist successes there if it spirals out of control and creates space for ISIS’ revival.
The following list of reports from TASS extend credence to the preceding assessment of Russia’s stance:
* 24 September 2015: “Russia, Israel agree coordination of joint actions regarding Syria”
* 23 August 2017: “Netanyahu says every encounter with Putin benefits Israel’s security”
* 25 April 2018: “Ambassador hails Russian-Israeli coordination mechanism on Syria”
* 17 September 2019: “Proud of such level of ties: Putin praises Russia-Israel relationship”
* 22 January 2020: “Israel values Putin's understanding of its security needs — foreign minister”
* 22 October 2021: “Putin highlights unique bond formed between Russia, Israel”
* 18 February 2023: “Russia takes Israeli security interests into account, hopes for reciprocity — diplomat”
It’s far from complete but nevertheless encapsulates the strength of Russian-Israeli relations. Of relevance, here’s what RT reported in September 2018 citing the Defense Ministry’s spokesman:
“The Russian military supported the Syrian military operation in the Golan Heights to ‘ensure there were no shelling attacks on Israeli territory’ anymore, thus allowing the UN peacekeeping mission to resume patrolling of the contested border between Syria and Israel after ‘a six-year hiatus.’
Russia also managed to secure the withdrawal of all Iran-backed groups from the Golan Heights to a ‘safe distance for Israel,’ more than 140 kilometers to the east of Syria, the spokesperson said, adding that this was done at the request of Tel Aviv. ‘A total of 1,050 personnel, 24 MLRSs and tactical missiles, as well as 145 pieces of other munitions and military equipment were withdrawn from the area,’ Konashenkov told journalists.
The Russian Defense Ministry had provided assistance in preserving Jewish sacred places and graves in the city of Aleppo. Putting Russian Special Forces soldiers' lives in danger, it also organized the search for the remains of some Israeli servicemen that died during the past conflicts in an area where the Syrian forces were combating Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) terrorists at that time.”
Russia is so serious about ensuring Israel’s security that it even carved out an anti-Iranian buffer zone in Syria among other things. Two of President Putin’s subsequent speeches add context to these favors:
* 17 September 2019: “Keren Hayesod Foundation conference”
* 23 January 2020: “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism forum”
The first confirms his philo-Semitism, which he proudly displayed before one of the world’s oldest Zionist lobbying organizations, while the second shows that he’ll stop at nothing to prevent a Second Holocaust.
These points are pertinent to the present piece because they prove just how personally President Putin takes the issue of ensuring Israel’s national security interests. He reminded everyone during the Q&A session that followed his address at this June’s Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum that “I have had many Jewish friends since childhood”, which might have shaped the view that he shared during his Direct Line two years prior that Jewish unity should be an example for Russian and Ukrainian unity:
“Why is Ukraine not listed among unfriendly countries? This is because I do not regard Ukraine as a country unfriendly towards Russia. I have noted many times, and I can repeat once again that, in my opinion, Ukrainians and Russians are a single people.
See for yourself: The Jews come to Israel from Africa, Europe, and other countries. Black people arrive from Africa, right? Those arriving from Europe speak Yiddish, rather than Hebrew. Although they are diverse, the Jewish people, nevertheless, cherishes its unity.”
It also deserves mentioning that the Washington Post (WaPo) reported on 27 September 2000 that Soviet-dissident-turned-Israeli-politician Natan Sharansky, who met with President Putin a week prior according to the official Kremlin website, had this to say about their conversation over lunch:
“Sharansky said Putin spent much of the lunch expressing, in occasionally lavish terms, his sympathy for Israel, his distaste for antisemitism and the importance he attaches to Jews in Russia and the Jewish diaspora, as well as his glowing memories of a family vacation some years ago in Jerusalem, the Galilee and the Golan Heights.
‘He said it wasn't simple in the KGB being sympathetic to Jews,’ Sharansky said. ‘But he told me how he grew up in [a] communal apartment and there was a Jewish family there which for him were almost like relatives. He liked them very much.’…Sharansky said he was impressed by Putin's overture to diaspora Jews--regardless of the motivation behind it.”
Although WaPo is now infamous for its Russophobia, back then it hadn’t espoused such views, nor were there any reasons to since President Putin was still considered a partner by the US. Furthermore, the Kremlin never complained about the contents of their report, thus suggesting that they’re accurate.
Flash forward to the modern day and everything about Russia’s official response to the latest Israeli-Hamas war as articulated by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova over the weekend makes sense. Both sides are called upon to immediately cease fire, not just Israel, since President Putin’s sensitivity to the self-professed Jewish State’s national security concerns (which is partially attributable to his lifelong philo-Semitism) means that Moscow can never endorse Hamas’ de facto terrorist tactics.
Accordingly, both sides are informally blamed for the latest outbreak of violence, which was a predictable stance for Russia to take when recalling the earlier cited collection of quotes from the official Kremlin website showcasing its leader’s passionate support for the IDF since entering office. President Putin’s remarks during January 2020’s “Fighting Antisemitism forum” also demonstrated how strongly he opposes that scourge and his fear that forgetting about the Holocaust could lead to it happening again.
Any slaughter of unarmed Jewish civilians like that which Hamas just carried out is therefore considered totally unacceptable to him because of how closely it resembles the Holocaust in his mind. The same goes for any scenario that risks threatening the State of Israel’s existence like the one related to Iran’s reported plans to turn Syria into a base of operations to that end. These perceptions explain why Russia partially blames Hamas for the latest conflict and always lets Israel bomb Iranian assets in Syria.
Taking into account all of the documented evidence that was shared in this analysis proving how seriously Russia takes Israel’s national security interests and the reasons why President Putin feels so strongly about this, nobody should expect that it would allow Syria to join the latest war. In the event that Damascus still does so in defiance of Moscow and the latter is unable to stop it in time, then the Kremlin will likely let Israel respond however it deems necessary to defend itself and the Jewish people.
Moreover, this insight also discredits Zelensky’s conspiracy theory that “Russia is interested in inciting war in the Middle East”. The exact opposite as true as confirmed by it letting Israel strike Iranian assets in Syria hundreds of times with impunity since 2015 in order to preemptively avert precisely that scenario stemming from those two’s regional security dilemma. Many from the Alt-Media Community might be surprised by everything that they learned in this piece, but it’s all fully cited and therefore undeniable.