Between the Tug of War and the Tightrope in the Russian-Iranian-Israeli Relations

Russia’s diplomacy is walking a tightrope between Iranian pressures aiming to force it to backtrack from the major shift happening in its Israel policy – most recently going as far as committing to Israeli security – and Israeli pressures querying Russia’s intensions with Iran, which in turn could determine Israel’s handling of Russia. Yet the issue has less to do with publicized statements meant for political consumption, and more to do with the Kremlin’s ultimate strategic choices. Syria is the bottom line but there are secondary lines that include the strained Russian relationship with NATO and the implications for the efforts to revive the nuclear deal with Iran. US President Joe Biden is at the heart of these implications and could find himself forced to reconsider many of his policies, amid Iranian-Israeli escalation and Russian repositioning.

Moscow and Tehran have said they are drawing a roadmap to conclude a ‘strategic cooperation’ agreement. In reality, the existing relationship already goes beyond cooperation and is closer to being a strategic alliance, especially in Syria where Russia, the power really in charge, still direly needs Iran and Hezbollah.

Syria remains a strategic priority for the Kremlin and President Putin wants to ‘close’ the Syrian dossier next year and declare the war there over. His vision requires ‘liberating’ what remains of Syrian territory, not from Iran – as some believe – but from the United States and Turkey. The deal he wants with the Biden administration seeks to extract US recognition of Assad’s legitimacy. Assad is the key to maintaining Russian forces in Syrian bases, which the Kremlin will never relinquish. And if the price for this is to accept the reality of strong relations between the Assad regime and the Iranian regime, the Kremlin is willing to pay it.

Yet the Israeli dilemma in this equation is not secondary. Moscow has managed to strike a covert deal with Israel in Syria, where Israel refrains from conducting operations that weaken the Assad regime, in return for Russian (and American) consent to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. There was until recently a ‘balance of silence’ in this regard: Russian silence vis-à-vis Israeli actions in Syria. Syrian silence vis-à-vis repeated Israeli military operations on its territory. Iranian silence vis-à-vis the Russian-Israeli deal. Israeli silence regarding Iranian and Hezbollah influence in Syria. And Iran and Hezbollah’s silence over Russia’s consent to the Israeli annexation of the Golan, which includes denying them the ability to activate ‘resistance’ against Israel from the Syrian front.

The balance of silence continued until Russia’s foreign minister, in a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, declared that Russia is now fully committed to guaranteeing Israel’s security. This was a real game changer. The Iranian leadership was not impressed, as it made it appear to be part of regional and international secret deals that undermine its claim to be the spearhead of resistance against Israel, a claim it deploys to mobilize loyalist armies across the Arab countries led by Hezbollah. After all, silent accords are one thing, and overtly declaring Russia’s commitment to Israel’s security is another.

Thus Russia’s diplomacy was caught in a bind. During the visit of the new Iranian FM Hossein Amir Abdollahian to Moscow and his meeting with Mr. Lavrov, Abdollahian warned that the region could not tolerate any more escalation and provocation. He said Tehran would not accept any geopolitical shifts in the region, and will not accept a strengthened terrorist and ‘Zionist’ presence across it, citing the Southern Caucasus where tensions are increasing between Iran and Turkish-Israeli backed Azerbaijani government. According to informed sources, Iran is willing to use military force in Azerbaijan, if necessary, given the importance of strategic land corridors there.

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Lapid in Moscow: Israel reserves right to act against Iran to prevent nukes

“Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon is not only an Israeli problem; it’s a problem for the entire world,” said Israel’s foreign minister.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Sept. 9, 2021. Source: Yair Lapid/Twitter.

 Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a state visit to Moscow on Thursday that the Jewish state reserves the right to act to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

After meeting with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Lapid said during a joint press conference that “a nuclear Iran will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”

As such, he called for a strong, clear message to be sent to the Islamic Republic.

He said “Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon is not only an Israeli problem; it’s a problem for the entire world.”

The two foreign ministers also discussed Israel’s attacks on Iranian activity in Syria.

Lavrov said Russia is opposed to Syrian territory being exploited for attacks against Israel or any other country. He added that Russian and Israeli military officers conduct continuous security dialogue on a daily basis regarding Syria, adding that such coordination has proven its efficiency.

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Brazilian scientists claim they’ve discovered live, replicating adenoviruses in Russia’s covid vaccines

Brazilian scientists discovered a serious issue with Russia’s Sputnik V covid vaccine. This serious issue could lead to a new public health crisis, which is why Brazilian regulators have banned the import of this vaccine.

The vaccine in question was developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute. Like the AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Sputnik V covid vaccine uses a genetically modified adenovirus to carry genetic instructions into the cells of human recipients. Once inside the cells, these genetic instructions force the cells to develop the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2. If the process goes as planned, immune-responsive cells are supposed to respond to this new influx of spike proteins, which are delivered on the surface of the cells.

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Biden Executive Order Strips Americans Of Their Rights If They ‘Directly Or Indirectly’ Aid Russia

Joe Biden last month quietly signed a ridiculously broad executive order to allow the government to “deprive American citizens and organizations of their rights and property by arbitrarily linking those persons to real, imagined, or vaguely defined activities of the Russian government,” the American Thinker reports.

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Russia Is Practicing Killing Missiles (Like U.S. Missiles and More)… China Unveils Three New Warships…

Russia’s Aerospace Force successfully test-fired a new anti-ballistic missile (ABM) that can reach speeds in excess of three km/s or more than four times the speed of a bullet fired from the current version of a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

“The combat team of the Aerospace Force’s air and anti-ballistic missile defense troops conducted another successful test-launch of a new missile of the Russian anti-ballistic missile defense system at the Sary-Shagan proving ground (the Republic of Kazakhstan),” the Russian Ministry of Defense ministry said in a statement, according to a report from Tass. The ABM system was developed …

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Escobar: Putin Rewrites The Law Of The Geopolitical Jungle

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Saker blog,

Putin’s address to the Russian Federal Assembly – a de facto State of the Nation – was a judo move that left Atlanticist sphere hawks particularly stunned…

The “West” was not even mentioned by name. Only indirectly, or via a delightful metaphor, Kipling’s Jungle Book. Foreign policy was addressed only at the end, almost as an afterthought.

For the best part of an hour and a half, Putin concentrated on domestic issues, detailing a series of policies that amount to the Russian state helping those in need – low income families, children, single mothers, young professionals, the underprivileged – with, for instance, free health checks all the way to the possibility of an universal income in the near future.

Of course he would also need to address the current, highly volatile state of international relations. The concise manner he chose to do it, counter-acting the prevailing Russophobia in the Atlanticist sphere, was quite striking.

First, the essentials. Russia’s policy “is to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens and for the stable development of our country.”

Yet if “someone does not want to…engage in dialogue, but chooses an egoistic and arrogant tone, Russia will always find a way to stand up for its position.”

He singled out “the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions” to connect it to “something much more dangerous”, and actually rendered invisible in the Western narrative: “the recent attempt to organize a coup d’etat in Belarus and the assassination of that country’s president.” Putin made sure to stress, “all boundaries have been crossed”.

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British Newspaper Headline “. . . World War . . . in Four Weeks” — Diplomat too: “A war with Russia is being worked out”

A veritable garbage dump of British media, “The Sun” newspaper, has a headline in yesterday’s edition ” . . . World War could be triggered in Four Weeks” over the ongoing and escalating situation in Ukraine. 

Gee, that would put us at about May 2, the precise date I mentioned on my radio show last week, for the start of this conflict!

The April 3 issue of The Sun reports:

WORLD War could be triggered in just four weeks in Ukraine as Vladimir Putin sends thousands of troops to the Russian border, experts have warned.  

The bombshell claims come as convoys of tanks and armoured vehicles were filmed being mass transported in regions close to rebel-held eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea. 

With tension sharply rising, Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said it now requires a “psychoanalyst” to determine Moscow’s intentions but warned events could see “war in a month.”

Those who have actually followed the development of these troubles don’t need a psychoanalyst to understand what’s going on, we understand quite clearly.

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Russia Joins China’s Wuhan Virus Lie Campaign

In early 2020, Chinese propagandists began blaming the U.S. for the virus. One agit-prop anti-America howler accused a U.S. Army reservist of bringing the disease to China in October 2019. China’s 2020 lie mimicked a Cold War-era Soviet KGB lie about the origin of the AIDS virus. Kremlin communists claimed U.S. biological warfare scientists created AIDS in 1973. The KGB lie appeared circa 1983. Over time, the lie mutated, as all sick gossip does. A 1986 version I read in a Southeast Asian paper claimed that the virus was engineered to kill black and brown people. In 2002, while visiting east Africa, I heard this version again.

Twenty-first-century Chinese and Russian lies have become both more pervasive and more sophisticated in targeting audiences with disinformation that seeds fear, doubt, despair, anger and confusion.

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