Islam Times 2 Mar 2019 042019000000Sat, 02 Mar 2019 04:37:56 -0500 4:37 -------------------------------------------------- Title : Will Netanyahu Come Back With A Nostrum From Russia? -------------------------------------------------- Islam Times - The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The visit was delayed for a week under excuses related to the Israeli home affairs. Text : As Netanyahu announced on Sunday, the key topic of the talks with the Russian leader will be Iran. Over the past year, the Israeli regime several times bombed the Syrian territories after the central government in Syria, supported by Russia, Iran, and Lebanese Hezbollah, gained an upper hand against an array of terrorist groups and reclaimed much of the country s terrorist-held regions. The Israeli PM is seeking dialogue with Putin while back at home he is hit by serious challenges. On the one hand, he is grappling with the charges of corruption and on the other hand, he is facing a coalition of the moderate parties that could defeat his party Likud and thus endanger his and his party s political future as the snap parliamentary elections are arriving. Last week, Israeli media reported that the reason behind delaying Netanyahu s Russia visit was his efforts to unite the camp of the right-wing parties for the upcoming vote. But this did not seem all of the reason for the delay. Despite the fact that he is under heavy pressures of his political opponents and very likely the court will convict him of corruption, it is highly unlikely that Netanyahu postponed a pre-planned official trip to Moscow for these home issues. Since the downing of the Russian Il-20 surveillance plane in Syria in September 2018, for which the Israeli regime was held responsible by the Russian president, this is the first in-person meeting between the two leaders. Due to the crucial Russian role in the Syrian developments, it does not seem that Netanyahu delayed the visit for the election and personal issues. The Israeli snap elections were announced a couple of months ago. The Likud leaders could foresee that the opposition may coalesce against them. So, countering this scenario could never be abrupt. The more credible theory for the delay is the Moscow-Tel Aviv differences over the Iranian presence in Syria. The Israeli PM is optimistic to get Putin to his side in the efforts to curb the burgeoning Iranian and Hezbollah force and ground gain next to the Israeli borders. The Israeli concerns can be seen even better if we refer to the recent remarks made by the chief of Iranian Supreme National Security Council Real Admiral Ali Shamkhani who asserted that Tehran gained 90 percent of its goals in Syria, dismissing the influence of the Israeli air raids on the Syrian positions. The Iranian announcement was deemed a painful blow to Netanyahu s propaganda about his military s airstrikes in Syria and his cabinet s military and security measures to protect the Israelis. In early June 2018, Tel Aviv persuaded Moscow to push for the Syrian allies exit from the border regions with the occupied territories in Syria s west. Now Netanyahu has the hope to seal a similar deal with Putin. If he strikes this aim, he will hit a jackpot in the home politics and can amend his party s shaky position while elections, planned for April 9, are nearing. The main question is that will Russia make a deal with the Israeli regime on Syria once again? The fact is that it has not been long since the Russian, Iranian, and Turkish presidents held a meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi to discuss pushing the political solution to the Syrian conflict, now in its ninth year. The outcome was an emphasis on the sovereignty of Syria as an independent state and prevention of foreign intervention. Certainly, the success of the political settlement and rebuilding was tied to the army s full defeat of the armed groups. This important aim was materialized over the past few years under an unwavering cover of support by Russian alliance with the Axis of Resistance, led by Iran. The one-week delay of the trip should not be seen disconnected from the negative response of Moscow to the Israeli missile strikes on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. The Russians are familiar with the rules of play in the region. Russia, over the past years trying to restore the lost Soviet position in West Asia region, has managed to transform into the key international player in the region s developments on the strength of coalition with the Resistance camp. While its power on its climactic point regionally, Moscow s concessions to Tel Aviv which views the US, not Russia, its key ally will deal a blow to the Russian interests realized by the strategic cooperation with Iran and damage the trust regional allies have in Moscow, in a time the Trump s profit-seeking approach to the foreign policy drives the regional nations, mainly the Arab world, to seek alternatives to the Americans as strategic allies. Additionally, while the Israeli government gives no credibility to the Palestinians and is spoiling the peace efforts by building new settlements and bombing the civilians in Gaza, a couple of months ago, Moscow hosted the Palestinian factions in hope of reaching a consensus on the future actions. The move, stirred negative response by the Israeli officials, has since been a source of Israel-Russian division. Furthermore, Russia was one of the main countries that opposed the anti-Iranian Poland conference held this month with highlighted efforts of the US and the Israeli regime officials. The Kremlin opposed the meeting s agenda and that was clear in comments made by the Russian diplomats. With all these in mind, it does not seem that the Israeli PM can come back home with a remarkable deal aimed at curtailing the widening Iranian foothold in the region.