November 20, 2017

Putin and Netanyahu or journeys of a bibliophile

Netanyahu’s trip to Sochi to meet Putin and to persuade him that Iranian corridor to Mediterranean is not a good idea, doesn’t seem to be a great success story.

The Russian version of that same article in Pravda is titled: “Netanyahu’s Fiasco in Sochi…“. For the English version the Pravda’s editors have chosen a softer version:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s nightmare comes true as Putin crushes his plans

The author of that article is slightly derisive of our Bibi, as could be seen in the opening paragraph:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s nightmare is coming true. The guards of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and Hezbollah fighters prepare to attack Israel by using Syria as a springboard. The Israeli Prime Minister shared the “terrible news” on August 23, 2017 during a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi (the meeting lasted for almost 2.5 hours). Despite Netanyahu’s emotional state, the Russian leader remained calm.

The article, however, is not wholly unsympathetic to Israel’s stand on Iranian expansion:

According to experts, Netanyahu does not exaggerate too much when he talks about Tehran’s plans to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.

Putin, as usual, displayed his majestic indifference:

“Iran is Russia’s strategic ally in the Middle East,” Putin said. “But Israel is also an important partner for Russia in the region,” he added.

In other words: nothing doing, Bibi. As a matter of fact, Russia is not as neutral as the above quote might make you think. The article doesn’t mince words:

The truth is that Tehran is the only counterbalance for Moscow to the powerful alliance of wealthy Arabian monarchies that try to establish an Arab analogue of NATO in the endeavor to impose Washington’s rules in the entire Middle East.

Therefore, the Kremlin is interested to further strengthen Tehran’s influence in the region. The question of accepting Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has almost been resolved. It is Russia that advocates the early adoption of Iran at the SCO. When it happens, the fact itself will remove US plans for air strikes on the Iranian territory.

And the conclusion is quite unequivocal:

Benjamin Netanyahu failed to convince Russian President Putin of the need “to stop Iran’s expansion in the Middle East.” Israel is a friendly country for Russia, but it is not up to Tel Aviv to teach the Kremlin how to structure Russia’s policy in the Middle East.

Makes sense if you sit in Kremlin, of course.

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The uncharacteristically brief statement by Bibi, after he emerged from the meeting, seems to confirm the Pravda’s points. Very unlike the usually bombastic overwhelming success reports from same source.

Jerusalem Post, which in most cases is sympathetic to Bibi, has a completely different view of the meeting and its purpose(s). In the article What Netanyahu hoped to gain from meetings with Putin, its author, Herb Keinon, explains:

So why did Netanyahu go? Because the objective is less to try to convince Putin of Israel’s position, and more to look him in the eyes and tell him squarely what Israel will do if Iran begins to militarily entrench itself in Syria.

Israel’s message to Putin, which is the same message that was conveyed to the Americans last week via a blue-ribbon security delegation headed by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, is that Israel will act militarily.

Netanyahu wants this to be a factor in Putin’s decision-making process.

That, of course, puts the visit in a totally different light – if you believe it.

Whatever. In any case, Bibi might (deservedly) claim that he didn’t return from Sochi empty-handed. Because:

At their meeting in Sochi on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a copy of the first-ever Bible printed with Rashi’s commentary.

Putin certainly knows how to sweeten the bitter medicine, after all it is not the first time:

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu received a special gift from Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow on Thursday — a nearly 500-year-old copy of Roman-Jewish historian Josephus’ book The Jewish War.

Well, at least there is a beginning of a library, if not much else.

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Cool.

About Snoopy 15 Articles
Snoopy the Goon grew up in the Soviet Union, and now lives in Israel. He blogs at Simply Jews

1 Comment

  1. Shalom Snoops.
    Great article, thanks for posting it.

    I kind of agree with the Jerusalem Post for once on this one. Putin can’t really afford a war in the ME or anywhere else just now, especially financially. While Russia has some good weaponry and some good troops, we both know the majority are armed with antiquated gear, and there’s a great deal of dissension between Muslim and native Russian military that has even involved shootouts sometimes. I see Putin as trying to walk the tightrope, at least for now.

    Besides, the last time the Russians took on the IDF directly, it didn’t end so well for them, nachon? I’m sure you remember.

    Actually I think the real security problem isn’t going to be Iran, but Hezbollah, their proxies. Iran probably wants to do nothing overt while they’re still getting their nukes together, but they’ll use Hezbollah in Syria. And if that blows up, it won’t be like 2006…Israel will make an end to them this time, IMO.

    And remember, there’s a very pro-Israel president in the WH just now.
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