Russia has managed to weigh ties between sworn enemies Iran and Israel, developing strategic relations to both as it ultimately pursued its own goals in war-torn Syria. As recent Israeli strikes against Syrian and suspected Iranian positions in Damascus proved, however, this delicate balancing act could fail at any point. Now each of these players look to Moscow to prevent such a catastrophic result. Rather than choose a side in Israel and Iran’s conflict, Russia has elected to engage with both nations in hopes of deconflicting tensions and restabilizing Syria under President Bashar al-Assad. Still, government-controlled territory is regularly subjected to airstrikes from Israel as it strives to prevent the establishment of any forward bases by Iran, Assad’s other major ally and an influential regional force deeply hostile to Israel. As for why Russia’s state-of-the-art air defenses stay silent when Israel attacks, Moscow-based PIR Center President Evgeny Buzhinskiy, a retired Russian lieutenant-general who is also vice president of the Russian International Affairs Council, told Newsweek: “It seems to me they have a kind of bargain between Russia, Israel and Syria, as far as those strikes.” “First of all, they’re not detrimental; second, they inflict no major damage on Syrian positions,… Read full this story
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