Ekaterina Blinova
Editor’s note: Israel’s Aleppo raid, flying directly over Russian air defense systems to hit Syrian forces where there is absolutely no remote chance any Iranian or Hezbollah forces, missile factories, real or imagined, or any other target tied to Israeli defense, real or imagined…..
You see where I am going with this?¬† There was one reason for this, for Netanyahu to demonstrate his control over Putin.¬† Putin was silent on the takeover of Golan and this didn’t go unnoticed.¬† Why is Putin, seemingly, pushing to keep Netanyahu in power in Israel?¬† This is one question being asked but so many others are being asked as well, especially inside Syria and Iran, in Turkey as well.¬†
Can Russia be trusted?¬† If Russia keeps backing down from Israel, or “colluding” or whatever, there will be consequences.

Sputnik/Moscow: Shortly after the US recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Aleppo was subjected to air strikes attributed to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) by the Syrian military. Speaking to Sputnik, Ghassan Kadi, a political analyst of Syrian origin, shared his views on what was behind the reported Israeli attack.

A few days after¬†Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognising the Golan Heights as¬†Israel’s territory, the Syrian state-owned media reported that Israel had launched air strikes against¬†the Syrian city of¬†Aleppo. Tel Aviv neither confirmed nor denied the claim.

Commenting on¬†the alleged attack, Ghassan Kadi, a political analyst of¬†Syrian origin, suggested that “Israel’s main objective in¬†the Aleppo airstrike is to¬†demonstrate to¬†the regional players, including Russia, that Israel is still capable of¬†launching such attacks”.

At the same time, “they are also for¬†public consumption in¬†a bid for¬†Netanyahu to¬†win votes in¬†the upcoming elections”, he said, referring to¬†the early parliamentary vote that will be held in¬†Israel on¬†9 April 2019 to¬†elect members of¬†the Knesset, the country’s unicameral parliament.

Netanyahu Vows to Further Counter Iran in Syria Day After Reported Aleppo Raid

“In reality, and unless they turn into¬†massive and continuous air-raids, which is something that Israel will find extremely difficult to¬†achieve, with¬†or without¬†risking retaliations that can reach deep into¬†Israel, sporadic strikes will not create much impact on¬†the ground either against¬†Syria itself, or in¬†favour of¬†the so called ‘Tel Aviv struggle against¬†Iran'”, the political analyst opined.On 28 March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his vow to¬†prevent any alleged deployment of¬†Iranian ballistic missiles in¬†Syria.

“Iran is constantly trying to¬†place in¬†Syria precision long-range missile [sic] that are very advanced and highly lethal missiles. We are not prepared to¬†accept this. Our activity against¬†Iran’s attempt to¬†establish military bases in¬†Syria and to¬†place advanced weapons there, continues all the time”, he said.

Why Trump’s Golan Move Failed to¬†Spark Protests on¬†the Ground

When asked why Donald Trump’s recognition of¬†the Golan Heights as¬†Israel’s territory had failed to¬†stir fierce protests akin to¬†those triggered by¬†the transfer of¬†the US Embassy to¬†Jerusalem, Kadi agreed that “the condemnation remained mainly official”.

“Jerusalem is different”, he explained. “Jerusalem is not only seen as¬†the capital of¬†Palestine, but¬†also as¬†a Muslim holy shrine. Its American recognition as¬†the capital of¬†Israel stirred up¬†religious emotions throughout¬†the Muslim World”.

As for¬†Trump’s Golan move, the analyst believes that it is much of¬†a symbolic nature and does not change anything on¬†the ground.

“America’s recognition of¬†Israel’s sovereignty over¬†the Golan is no more than¬†tokenistic and does not change anything”, he said. “The issue at¬†hand is the Israeli occupation, and not how superpowers of¬†vested interest regard it”.

A mock road sign for Damascus, the capital of Syria, and a cutout of a soldier, are displayed in an old outpost in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria, Thursday, May 10, 2018
Gift to Bibi or Blow to Syria? Possible Motives Behind US Golan Heights Decision

According to¬†the analyst, the same applies to¬†Washington’s recognition of¬†Jerusalem as¬†Israel’s capital: “It did not change anything other than¬†stirring emotions”.”It is neither America nor Israel that has the authority to¬†legitimise any question that involves justice and morality. Throughout history, bigger and stronger nations have allowed themselves to¬†pillage smaller ones under¬†the law of¬†big-fish-eat-small-fish. This does not make it legitimate though”, he emphasised.

Following Trump’s¬†recognition of¬†Israel’s sovereignty over¬†the Golan Heights, the UN made it clear that the move would not affect the legal status of¬†the Syrian territory, which has been occupied by¬†Israel since¬†1967. Russia, Turkey, as¬†well as¬†a number of¬†Arab and European states,¬†condemned Trump’s move.

The move followed¬†Washington’s transfer of¬†the US Embassy from¬†Tel Aviv to¬†Jerusalemon¬†14 May 2018, which was accompanied by¬†massive protests launched by¬†the Palestinians in¬†several cities across¬†the disputed territories. For its part, Hamas, an Islamist movement, announced the beginning of¬†the third intifada (“rebellion”).

Russia Continues to Play the First Fiddle

Washington’s political gestures towards¬†Israel raises question as¬†to whether Trump will pass the “military baton” to¬†Netanyahu after¬†the US withdrawal from¬†the region.

“When we talk about¬†the US withdrawal from¬†Syria, we have to¬†seriously ask ourselves, which withdrawal?” the analyst remarked, referring to¬†Trump’s regular flip-flops on¬†the issue.

According to¬†Kadi, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions, which indicated no collusion with¬†Russia, have untied Trump’s hands: “After the Mueller report, Trump may become more at¬†liberty to¬†do what Trump wants, including withdrawal from¬†Syria if this is what he really wants”, the analyst noted.”But if and when this happens, inadvertently, he would not be passing the baton to¬†Netanyahu, but¬†to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin”, he said in¬†a reference to¬†Russia’s increasing role in¬†Syria and Middle Eastern affairs in¬†general.

In late December 2018,¬†Donald Trump announced the withdrawal¬†of¬†the 2,000-strong military contingent from¬†Syria. However, in¬†response to¬†mounting pressure from¬†US lawmakers and Washington’s allies, the US president announced in¬†February 2019 that the Pentagon would leave at¬†least 400 US troops in¬†the region after¬†the pull-out of¬†most US forces from¬†Syria this spring.

Meanwhile, Russia has maintained a military presence on¬†the ground in¬†Syria since¬†2015. Moscow’s intervention at¬†the request of¬†the legitimate Syrian government led by¬†Bashar al-Assad has become a game changer in¬†the Syrian Civil War and contributed much to¬†the elimination of¬†Daesh (ISIS/ISIL)* in¬†the region.

*Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia while Russia thus far has failed to name the White Helmets as terrorists officially though there is every reason to do so. (ed)


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  1. Putin was living a steady intelligence life in Leningrad during Golan takeover. Trump recognizing Golan is by no means a takeover, just as damnation of Yanukovich didnt prove to be one. Aleppo was in fact the Berlin of the 21st century, almost the entirety of history repeated and this time with a different media winner than in 1945. Had this been as in 1945 then the US would be publicly hanging the entire Alawite party just as Schutzstafel or Saddam, and Netanyahu would have been parading at Isil camp locations.

  2. So is Putin just another deep state cutout, or someone trying to do the best he can within outside constraints? Certainly the Russian actions in the Syrian conflict are logically inconsistent if the goal is a unified and peaceful Syria within its legal borders.

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