Israeli writer Dov Lieber sneeringly refers to Hezbollah as a “Shiite terror group” in one of his latest articles for the Times of Israel. Based on a report published over a Lebanese website, the article asserts that Russia and Hezbollah are now engaged in “official” military coordination in Syria.
If interested, you can find Lieber’s piece here. It states that Hezbollah officials met with “senior” Russian officers in Aleppo last week in what is described as the “first official and direct” meeting between the two sides since Russia entered the conflict last year.
While there have been lower-level unofficial contacts in the past, Russia is now said to be interested in coordinating with Hezbollah’s infantry on the ground in Aleppo.
Lieber says the news was published by Al-Akhbar, which he describes as “a pro-Hezbollah news site,” and apparently some Israeli officials are sitting up and taking notice:
Likud MK Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet security agency, warned on November 16 that Russian interests in the Middle East do not coincide with Israel’s and said the Jewish state must be vigilant concerning Russia’s growing influence in the region, despite increasing diplomatic relations between Moscow and Jerusalem.
Whereas Israel considers Iran, the patron of Hezbollah, its greatest foe in the region and prioritizes defending itself against the Lebanese terror group, “Russia does not view Iran and its proxies according to the level of threat they pose or broadcast toward Israel,” Dichter said in an interview with Reuters, adding that Russia “view[s] Hezbollah positively as the errand lackey of Iran in Syria and Lebanon, [and is] backing the Shiite militia activity in Iraq and Syria.”
Lieber doesn’t bother to mention the assistance Israel has provided to terrorists in Syria or allow for the possibility that that might be of some concern to Russia. He also doesn’t mention that Israel seems, in effect, to be attempting to play both sides against the middle. But if you read a report published in the Jerusalem Post back in September it becomes somewhat apparent that this is what is taking place. There is an overt attempt, both by the writer of the article as well as Israeli diplomat Ron Prosor, to characterize the Syrian conflict as a “civil war.” It is not. It is a proxy war. (An important difference.) But aside from this mischaracterization, Prosor’s comments are quite interesting:
The escalation in rhetoric between Russia and the United States over Syria’s Civil War is creating a dangerous situation for Israel, former Israeli envoy to the United Nations Ron Prosor told Army Radio on Monday.
“We have here a dangerous situation. It is dangerous, by the way, also to [Israel], because we find ourselves right in the middle,” Prosor said. “We coordinate with Russia, and the Americans are an important strategic asset for us.”
“We coordinate with Russia,” says Prosor, but of course, golly, we get all those billions of dollars from America, so of course they are “an important strategic asset for us” as well.
Prosor said that a conflict between the Americans and Russians could create “a very uncomfortable reality” for Israel.
The former envoy to the UN said that the level of rhetoric in recent days between the world powers is unprecedented in Syria’s Civil War, however, he does not believe at this point that it will turn into a physical confrontation.
“There is a head on confrontation between the world powers who both currently maintain a presence in the arena, not through proxies,” he stated. “As far as we are concerned, as a country that is in the area with these world powers, who are in the midst of an escalating conflict, the arena is complicated.”
Yes, things in the Middle East are “complicated,” as Israelis constantly remind us. And Prosor takes pains to leave the impression that a war between America and Russia would create “a very uncomfortable reality” for Israel. What he leaves unsaid, of course, is that it would also offer a goldmine of opportunities. Should the world’s two main superpowers fight a destructive, self-defeating war, it would pave the way for Israel to assume its place as a major global power, possibly even ushering in a “Pax Judaica.”
Is it possible this is what the neocons in America have in mind and why they’ve been trying so hard, seemingly, to promote a confrontation between the US and Russia?
If you were a Russian military commander in Syria, who would you prefer to form an alliance with, Israel or Hezbollah? If you had to choose one, which do you think you could place more trust in?