T. Belman Why would Israel tell Russia what it plans to do. Its enough to draw the red lines.
Former National Security Council Advisor Yaakov Amidror says Netanyahu’s visit to Sochi is important so that the Russians have an understanding of how Israel will act if its hand is forced.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s primary objective during his upcoming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be to try to convince the Russians to prevent an Iranian permanent presence in Syria, but rather to let them know what Israel plans to do if Tehran tries to set up such a presence, former National Security Council Advisor Yaakov Amidror said on Tuesday.
Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to Sochi on the Black Sea for a meeting with Putin on Wednesday, returning home the same day. This will be his fourth trip to Moscow in the last 16 months.
The main goal of the meeting, Amidror said, needs to be for the Russians to have a better understanding of Israel’s concerns and Red Lines, and how Israeli is likely to react if those Red Lines are crossed.
“Israel is not coordinating with the Russians, but it’s very important for Israel that the Russians understand where Israel stands,” he said in a phone call with The Israel Project.
Israel should not try to convince Putin, but rather what is important is to make sure that if Israel is forced to act in the future, “the Russians will not be surprised. They will understand what motivated Israel and why Israel is acting as it will.”
Netanyahu, said Amidror, who has sat in on numerous meetings such as these in the past, will bring to Putin all of Israel’s “facts, assessments and concerns” so that the Russian leader will be able to take them into account. This way, he continued, if Israel feels compelled to act, the Russians –though they might not agree – will understand why it happened.
Israel has come out clearly against the cease fire being brokered in Syria between Russia and the United States, fearing that it will enshrine a permanent Iranian military presence in the country. Neither Moscow nor Washington, however, have apparently been moved to alter their positions because of Israel’s concerns.
Amidror did not hold out any high hopes that Netanyahu’s visit to Sochi will change that situation.
“We can give them our perspective and I think it’s important they will have it, but I’m not sure that they will agree with us about the details,” he said.
Amidror defined two issues as of critical importance to Israel in the future arrangements in Syria. The first is that Iran will not have the ability to build bases there that will serve as a launching pad against it in the future, and the second is that Syria will not turn into a state through which “game changing” weapons — including Russian weapons systems — are moved into the region.
“It should be well understood all over, mainly in Moscow, that Israel will do whatever is needed not to let the Iranians build these bases, and not to let Hezbollah to get these weapons systems,” he said. “These are the two main concerns of Israel and they should be very clear in this meeting.”