Herb Keinon, writing in the Jerusalem Post, argues that Russia may very well be an enormous loser if, as appears more and more possible, Israel is drawn right into a combat with Iran in Syria. He explains:
Russia moved forces into Syria in 2015 with one goal in thoughts: Save Syrian President Bashar Assad. And since then, Moscow has spent billions of rubles and spilled Russian blood to do exactly that: Help the Assad regain management of the nation from Syrian rebels and Islamic State.
And now, simply as Moscow appears on the cusp of reaching its targets in Syria and serving as kingmaker in figuring out put up-civil battle preparations, the last item it wants or desires is for largescale Israeli navy involvement that would threaten the whole lot it hoped to realize.
Moscow desires to stabilize Syria proper now. A confrontation between Israel and Iran there would badly destabilize the nation and will price Russia its most vital asset in the area.
But can Russia head off such a confrontation? According to Keinon, when Benjamin Netanyahu, throughout his periodic visits to Moscow, pushes Vladimir Putin to forestall Iran from establishing navy bases in Syria that threaten Israel, Putin’s customary reply is that Iran is sovereign nation, not a consumer state of Russia. Israel thinks Putin is being disingenuous — that if Russia wished to, it might dictate to Iran.
I’m not satisfied of this. Iran is decided to construct places its navy presence in Syria. Its regional ambitions require this. And Putin is true, Iran just isn’t his consumer.
Russia just isn’t with out leverage, in fact. It just isn’t Iran’s navy protector in the sturdy sense. However, its weapons methods assist shield Iranian nuclear amenities and its air energy assists Iranian forces in Syria. Moreover, Russia can shield Iran from financial sanctions, or not less than the full weight of them.
However, with the sanctions reduction offered by Barack Obama, plus all of the money he forked over, I query whether or not Russia’s financial leverage could be ample to induce Iran to drag again in Syria. Indeed, the indisputable fact that Iran has taken such an aggressive posture in direction of Israel regardless of Netanyahu’s repeated requests that Russia name of the mullahs, and regardless of his warnings as to how Israel will reply if Iran doesn’t again off, suggests to me that Russia can’t management Iran. Or possibly Russia merely doesn’t share the view that battle between Iran and Israel will materially hurt its pursuits.
Now that battle between Israel and Iran in Syria appears to have damaged out, I suppose we’ll learn the way badly Russia desires to curb it and/or whether or not it has the energy to take action.