Israel papers asks 'where is Putin leading Middle East'

GMT 07:08 2015 Tuesday ,22 September

Arab Today, arab today Israel papers asks 'where is Putin leading Middle East'

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Gaza City - MENA

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday highlighted a visit paid by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow.

The paper said that Monday's visit is held on the backdrop of a significant increase in the Russian military presence in Syria.

The paper said that the Russian move is aimed at saving the Bashar Assad regime from collapse, as Russia appears to be the only world power supporting the Syrian president's survival unconditionally, although it is still unclear how it plans to achieve this goal.

"Through extensive guidance of new recruits in the dwindling ranks of the Syrian army? By arming the Iranian army and Hezbollah units with upgraded weapons? Where is President Vladimir Putin leading the Middle East?", the paper asked.

"Netanyahu will likely be briefed on Putin's intentions during his visit and will present Israel's policy and its demands for an agreement on Syria's future to the Russian president," the paper said.

It added that both Israel and Russia believe that Iran and Hezbollah together are incapable of saving the Assad regime despite their direct and prolonged involvement in the fighting. "Their weakness stands out in light of their joint failure and raises doubts in Russia in terms of their quality as allies on the ground."

YNet said Israel, for its part, has shown its determination not to allow Iranian and Hezbollah activity in the Golan Heights, and this aspect has surely not escaped Putin's eyes and he must take it into account when outlining his policy in Syria.

"Alongside Netanyahu's visit to Moscow, we are seeing the world powers scampering between the United States and Russia, the paper said. "After Moscow's opening shot, Washington began working on its own response - it has been involved for a while now in air strikes against Daesh in an airspace close to Russia, in addition to the wider strategic aspect of the ancient battle between the two powers over areas of influence in the Middle East."

The papers stressed that there is a desire on both sides to prevent a deterioration, hence the decision to establish immediate security-ties which may expand to comprehensive negotiations on Syria's future, including the issue of the Iranian presence on its territory.

"Putin's handling of external crises indicates that he makes plans step by step, while maintaining options for quick changes in a direction dictated by unexpected events on the ground," the report concluded.

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