By Elijah J. Magnier – @ejmalrai
Last Thursday, the Israeli Air Force bombed a weapons warehouse in Masyaf, Hama, 100 km from the Lebanese-Syrian border, destroying it. The Israeli airplanes fired their precision missiles within the Lebanese air space, constantly violated due to the lack of anti-air missiles within the Lebanese Army arsenal. It doesn’t seem Israel is challenging Russia, on the contrary, Israel is not breaking the agreement established with Russia since September 2013: Moscow will always stay out of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and won’t intervene if Israel is defending its national security by acting against Hezbollah armament.
Some analysts refuse to accept the fact that the Syrian war is coming to an end without a regime change. These started to drop their usual leaflets containing the same boring rhetoric by accusing Syria of “developing chemical facilities”. Analysts failed to detect a US direct intervention similar to the Hollywoodian Tomahawk performance against the Shuay’rat military airport. It is very simple: the US will only intervene in Syria against ISIS, even if this objective doesn’t fit with US allies in the region, mainly Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Thus, the Israeli target was a Hezbollah-Iran advanced weapons and ammunition warehouse simply because Tel Aviv and Washington drones are in the Syrian air space 24 hours a day, watching also any armaments for Hezbollah designated for Lebanon and not for the war in Syria. Nevertheless, no drone or jet can fly over Tel Aviv in direction of Lebanon and Syria without being seen by the Russian radars and reach.
Israel fired precision missiles against the target in Hama, similar to the ones fired against the Hezbollah militant Samir al-Kintar in Damascus. A military commander in Syria said “the Russian S-300 and S-400 can deal with multiple objectives and the radars can see any flying jet and bring it down willingly”.
“It is impossible for any state to have jets in the area where the Russians are operating a substantial military force on the ground, in the sea and in the air without informing and coordinating with the Russian operational room, otherwise it will be shot down”, said the source.
That doesn’t means Moscow approves or disapproves the Israeli strike on Syrian soil and against an Iranian or a Hezbollah target: it is just not concerned and looks after its own interest in the Middle East.
Moscow is aware Assad is the only partner in Syria who can protect the Russian interests in Bilad al-Sham. Both sides know that Assad is not a Russian proxy and will never swear loyalty to the Kremlin but is looking after mutual interests. Russia acknowledges that a strong government in Syria led by Assad can guarantee its long strategic stay in the Levant, a permanent window to the Mediterranean, and a base close to NATO (Turkey) operations. With Iran and Hezbollah, Assad shares an existential relationship and an indestructible bond.
Moreover, Russia maintains interests with all countries of the region, including Israel and the Gulf countries. Moscow is aiming to develop commercial partnerships and to attract investors, above all the rich oil countries, to sell its products to, and boost its military industry.
It was indeed the idiotic US foreign policy, when trying to cripple Russia’s economy by influencing Ukraine to change loyalty and join the EU-US camp, a country where Russian gas crosses into Europe. Russia’s economy relies on the gas delivered to Europe and soon realised the US intention to hit its vital income. In fact, before the events in Ukraine, Russia preferred a long and stable relationship with the US rather than covet the entire Middle East, happy to leave it as a US influential arena. But the war in Syria presented itself as a convincing opportunity for Russia to give up the US-Russia friendly relationship and put an end to the US’s unilateral ruling of the Middle East.
The US-EU mistake in Ukraine was the driving force for Russia to get heavily involved in the Levant and, therefore, offered victory to Iran and Hezbollah on a golden plate. Today, the US, the EU and many Gulf countries stand humiliated in Syria after investing billions of dollars in a failed regime change.
Today Moscow would like to maintain a good relationship with the US’s allies (not the US itself) in the Middle East, it needs to compete with Washington and establish itself, creating a fair balance with Israel and the countries of the region without interfering in their own internal disputes, and specifically the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.