Netanyahu Paid High Price to Putin for Prisoner’s Freedom
After Dina Cohen traipsed through wintry mountainous terrain across the Syrian frontier on her quixotic protest against the hate her compatriots feel toward their Arab neighbors, Bibi Netanyahu faced extraordinary pressure to win her release. He turned to someone with whom he’d done business before quite successfully: Vladimir Putin. They had together negotiated previous prisoner exchanges and weathered numerous military crises which they’d resolved.
This time, Putin made clear that he set the bar high. The concessions expected would be serious and cause some discomfort, especially to Israel’s military planners.
Much has been made of the hundreds of thousands of doses of Russians Sputnik COVID vaccine which Israel purchased for $1.2-million and then gave to Bashar al Assad. But that was child’s play compared to Putin’s big ask.
Russia has largely achieved its goals in Syria. It has vanquished ISIS. Assad’s rule, though brutal and bloody, is now secure. But there are critical factors which continue to destabilize the country. One is Turkey’s intervention to attack Kurdish regions of Syria where it’s fighting against its long-time enemy.
Equally problematic are Israel’s hundreds of air attacks inside Syria on Iranian and Hezbollah targets. The pace of these attacks has only increased over the past few months. They are part of Netanyahu’s tough-guy act toward the two parties who he has turned into Israel’s Public Enemies Number 1 and 2. Quite useful when you face four elections in the span of two years.
These attacks have marred the graceful exit Putin had planned for Russian involvement in Syria. As long as Israel and other parties continue to mount attacks inside the country, Russia cannot leave Assad to his fate there.
Intelligence Online reports that the deal came at a high price, which included an Israeli agreement to cut back IAF strikes in Syria. Putin is eager to reduce the damage to the Assad regime as he seeks to extricate himself from the decade-long conflict. Since the deal was signed earlier this month, there have been no new Israeli attacks. We’ll see if this period of quiet continues.
Netanyahu prides himself on being seen by Israelis as Mr. Security, which is an obsession of voters. Ceasing attacks on Israel’s mortal enemies there will not go over well. And there is yet another election looming in March. That’s a key reason why he clamped down on reporting by slapping military censorship on this story. But I’m happy to defy him and the censor by reporting it here: at your service!
Another important point in the IOL report is that Netanyahu shut his formerly trusted Mossad chief out of the deliberations over this deal. Instead, he turned to his national security chief and the Israeli military attache in Moscow. Israeli media have spoken of an increasing coldness on his part toward Cohen, who will leave his post in a few months. The soon-to-be ex-chief clearly has his eyes set on politics and would be a formidable rival to the prime minister’s leadership; or a credible candidate to succeed him should the corruption trials he faces land him in prison. Netanyahu has a long history of cultivating young protégés like Bennett,, Lieberman, Ari Harow, etc. then turning on them when they become a political threat to his dominance. Relations with Cohen could be taking the same path.
13 thoughts on “Netanyahu Paid High Price to Putin for Prisoner’s Freedom – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“Since the deal was signed earlier this month, there have been no new Israeli attacks. ”
Quiet as a mouse pissing on cotton.
@ Sepp: Sorry to piss on your parade, but the deal with Putin was signed on February 17th. These attacks were prior to that. But do keep trying. One of these years you’ll hit paydirt.
Syria reports Israeli missile attack near capital, Damascus
You can piss on my parade, but don’t piss on our backs and tell us it’s raining.
a more reliable source:
@ gary: RT is NOT a reliable source.
@ Sepp: First, the report that Bibi had agreed to reduce air attacks on Syria came from Intelligence Online. Your feeble attempts at Gotcha seem designed to catch me out in error. The error, if there is any, is with Intelligence Online.
Further, the report didn’t say Bibi agreed to stop all attacks. Only that he agreed to restrain such attacks–to lessen them.
Finally, there is always the possibility that Bibi simply stiffed Putin: agreed to something he never intended to honor. That’s a tried and true Israeli approach to relations with the outside world.
[comment deleted: snark is not a legitimate comment]
Russia’s concern for Syria and airstrikes by Israel has been on the agenda before. Ahead of the Biden inauguration, Israel has caused dozens of fatalities. Multiple strikes near Deir ez-Zor killed 57 on Jan. 13.
Russia refuses Syria’s use as an arena for an Iran-Israel confrontation: Lavrov says.
As Biden wants to secure relations with Old Europe in confrontation with Russia, Putin will up the stakes in the Middle East.
Appears there are further negotiations to reach a settlement with Arab states meddling in the Levant.
Israel, Syria and Russia had been negotiating before Dina’s visit to Syria.
Richard. Are you and I having a pissing contest?
Netanyahu is not in the habit of doing anything for Israeli citizens. What are Netanyahu’s motives? There is no electoral gain from setting free a left-wing woman.
Airstrikes on Syria by Mr. Biden himself … US might vs Iran
Ah yes…but Biden’s lipstick masks and makes the Pentagon piggery so much prettier than Trump’s barefaced chutzpah.
Israel said to hit Iranian targets in Syria – March 1
Syrian state media claims air defenses shot down several missiles; Hebrew media outlets indicate raid a retaliation for explosion that hit Israeli-owned vessel in Gulf of Oman