Is Russia A Better Friend To Israel Than The U.S.?

It happened again this week: The Israel Air Force attacked a Syrian target in Kuneitra in response to mortar fire that “leaked out” from the Syrian civil war to Israel’s Golan Heights.

The attack was barely noted internationally – and can be considered a significant achievement for Israel.

The Israeli response is a clear signal to Syria to make sure it does not take advantage of the chaos there to attack Israel.

No one was hurt on the Israeli side, and neither were casualties reported in Syria.

However, as analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis) noted, Israel could have been heavily criticized in the international arena for its attack – but it wasn’t. This “reflects a significant achievement by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that is mostly ignored” Lerner writes.

Netanyahu, who visited Russia last month, has apparently reached an understanding with Russian President Putin, Lerner writes, “that allows [Israel], under various circumstances, to attack both Syrian and Hezbollah military targets within Syria – despite the deployment of a protective Russian anti-aircraft umbrella covering the entire country.” Lerner added that he “doubts” Israel would have had a similar understanding with the U.S. if it was an American umbrella.

The Israeli response was not totally overlooked on the Arab side: Iranian commander Brig.-Gen. Khosro Orouj of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) criticized Russia earlier this month because “the anti-aircraft systems that Russia has brought to Syria shouldn’t allow even one single [enemy[] aircraft to fly over the country – but this is not happening.”

Syria continues to bleed heavily from its 50-month-old civil war.

Just this week, 38 soldiers were killed in a tunnel blast, eight people were killed by mortar fire in Damascus, and 19 civilians were killed in fighting in Haleb. It was also reported today that Syrian President Assad made a secret visit to Russia prior to Netanyahu’s visit, and discussed with Putin a plan by which Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Given the inroads that ISIS has made in Syria, even those on the far left of the Israeli political spectrum are no longer seriously considering this option.

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