Sunday, September 13, 2015

Israeli National Security Expert warns: Russian Presence in Syria Spells Trouble for Israel.

Israeli National Security Expert warns: Russian Presence in Syria Spells Trouble for Israel. (Algemeiner).

“Israel has to worry about potential Russian deployment in Syria, because in the Middle East, if you don’t worry, you pay the price,” Dr. Dan Schueftan, director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, told The Algemeiner this week.

He was responding to recent reports about Moscow’s stepped-up efforts to assist the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which purportedly involve the dispatching of military personnel and equipment, for the purpose of setting up an air base in the area of Latakiya, which Assad controls.

More specifically, Schueftan was referring to claims in the Arab press indicating that this turn of events could mean Israel will be prevented by Moscow from conducting its own operations against terrorists over Syrian skies.

According to the Beirut-based, pro-Hezbollah daily, Al-Akhbar, Tel Aviv “will face the predicament of a resistance region in southern Syria that has Russian cover.”

“There is a grain of truth to this,” said Schueftan. “The Russians have indeed stepped up their involvement in Syria to aid the Syrian regime. And since the regime depends heavily on Hezbollah, and since Israel and Hezbollah are in a permanent state of war, initiated by Hezbollah, Russian presence presents a problem.”

Israel, he added, “might have to fight Hezbollah terrorism [from the air, over Syria], or forcefully prevent the delivery of major modern weapons systems from Iran through Syrian into Lebanon. Israel has already, on a number of occasions, attacked such convoys without admitting it.”

Therefore, Schueftan explained, “Having the Russian military in the way makes this more difficult. Israel cannot afford to disregard Russian interests. It will thus have to consider whether and when each proposed IDF action comes close to the red lines Israel assesses Russia would tolerate it crossing.

He then went on to answer his own rhetorical questions: “Will this prevent Israel from operating in Syria and Lebanon? Certainly not. Will it create constraints? Yes. But these constraints will be limited to what Israel assumes are the kind of extreme cases that would cause the Russians to take action against it.”Read the full story here.

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