RUSSIA OUTSMARTS ISRAEL IN SYRIA

RUSSIA OUTSMARTS ISRAEL IN SYRIA

Photo: AP By Joshua Tartakovsky, February 26, 2016 It seems that Israel is slowly shifting away from the West by and large and gradually and incrementally turning to Russia. It is not doing so because it wants to.  Israel has been spoiled by very generous US aid for decades. Traditionally, Israel has been tied to and subservient to the West, but enjoyed its constant support, while also having its ready ear when it comes to Iraq and Iran. But recently the US has been becoming less and less reliable. Not only have there been clashes between Obama and Netanyahu, but US ambassador to Israel spoke openly against the country, US has been decreasing its defense aid, Israeli F-16s now have trouble upgrading to their latest versions, and Russia is proving itself to be a power to be reckoned with in Syria.This is not to say that Israel’s dangerous policy of supporting jihadist groups in Syria is not continuing. It is. And Israel is also keen on weakening the Islamic Republic of Iran since it fears it more – despite the fact that Iran is not just a country but a great civilization – and therefore the former is supporting terrorists in Syria. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon put it in a crude way typical to his close-minded, narrow thinking, personality: ISIS is less dangerous than Iran.  Netanyahu made similar statements in the past. Only ignorant people fail to realize that ISIS is demolishing historical remnants of our common history while Iran is preserving them. But Ya’alon belongs to the old-school pro-US camp, did his time in Washington’s think-tanks, and is obsessed about Iran. Moreover, Israel’s liberal paper Haaretz said Israel should call for Western intervention in Syria in support of “moderate rebels.” That’s a call...

How Russia Should Respond to Erdoğan’s Hate-Mongering?

Joshua Tartakovsky, 5 December 2015 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is one who thrives from exploiting ethnic and religious tensions. For him, the more commotion and incitement, the better. Following the brutal bombing of Kurdish and Turkish protesters in Ankara, a bombing that took place with the police absent from the area and with many indications of the Deep State’s involvement, Erdoğan blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is a Kurdish militant group in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey, with an anti-centralized state ideology that has been fighting for independence since 1984.  Why would a Kurdish militant group blow up fellow Kurds who share the same desire for independence? But the Turkish masses seemed to believe him. Erdoğan sees enemies everywhere, while the pro- Erdoğan media incites the impoverished public who see in him a hero, a resister and one of their own, wrongly persecuted and always innocent. Erdoğan’s Justice and development Party (AKP) gained power in 2002 after decades of neglect of the Muslim working class by the Turkish elite.  It is a popular, Islamist, pro-US party that seeks to overturn decades of secularism instilled since the founding of the secular republic. Turkey’s professed secularism ran contrary to the wishes of many of the poor living in villages and cities who could not find in the government or army a non-condescending official.  The military, the protector of Turkey’s secularism, did not intervene after AKP won. Erdoğan could finally pursue a process of Islamization of the country and a revival of neo- Ottomanism. Erdoğan’s Turkey feels that it has been oppressed for decades if not centuries. Now it is breaking free....
Israeli Strikes in Syria: An End to the Russian-Israeli Agreement?

Israeli Strikes in Syria: An End to the Russian-Israeli Agreement?

By Joshua Tartakovsky 3 November 2015 The recent Israeli air strikes in violation of Syria’s sovereignty raise the question of whether Russian-Israeli collaboration is coming to an end or whether it was part of a mutually accepted agreement.  On October 31, Israeli planes attacked two military facilities, which Haaretz claimed belonged to the Syrian Arab Army and to Hezbollah, in the two separate areas of Ras al-Ein and al-Qatifa in the Al-Qalamoun mountains. This was the first Israeli airstrike in Syria following the launching of Russia’s military operations against Western-backed terrorists in the country. In September 21, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rushed to meet with Russian President Putin, with three senior defense figures after he realized that Russia will intervene in Syria. Initially, Netanyahu may have tried to dissuade Putin, but the latter explained that Syria does not pose a danger to Israel as it is currently fighting for its survival.  Some have argued that in the meeting Israel agreed to share intelligence with Russia on jihadist groups in Syria and that in return Russia agreed to turn the other way when Israel bombs arms which were may be transferred to Hezbollah.  And yet, several days ago, Israel struck bases of the Syrian Arab Army. Does this mean that the Israeli-Russian agreement collapsed or is Israel operating within the agreed parameters? The Middle East Monitor reported that Netanyahu and Putin agreed to “allow the Israeli air force to carry out operations freely in Syria, even in areas where the Russian army is stationed on the Syrian coast”.  But the problem is that in this case Israel attacked arms...
Does Obama confuse moral strength with political weakness?

Does Obama confuse moral strength with political weakness?

Off-Guardian, October 17, 2015 Joshua Tartakovsky comments on Obama’s recent observations on Russia and Vladimir Putin in his Sixty Minutes interview US President Barack Obama said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not operating from strength but actually from weakness and therefore he had to ‘invade’ Ukraine and is now operating in Syria. In his view, Russia does not know how to get out of the Syrian situation and is pushed to the corner. Putin is desperate, according to Obama, with no exit strategy. According to this perspective, Putin is simply trying to save his dignity by taking desperate moves. Obama made several mistakes in his calculations, even grave ones. First, unlike Obama, Putin does not think that to be ‘strong’ and ‘powerful’ one has to invade countries when one’s country is financially comfortable in order to reap more benefits. Unlike the United States, arguably the richest country in the world, which can never put an end to its greed and invaded dozens of countries in past decades to satisfy the insatiable hunger of its military-industrial complex, Russia did not engage in offensive wars or in bombing for the sake of regime change and taking over foreign markets. Russia believes in the moral cause of defense rather than offense, but when defending its interests it will fight until the end while the US can afford to turn many countries into a new Vietnam while remaining unscathed (besides a few thousands of coffins of soldiers wrapped with the star and stripes). So the very premise behind Obama’s words that the US is not weak because it bombs incessantly but Russia...