According to the leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Netanyahu was in Moscow to present concrete evidence to the Kremlin that Russian arms were making their way to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. The Israeli agenda allegedly also included persuading Russia not to sell its S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.
The S-300 system has been bothering Israeli war planners for a while, particularly since the mysterious case of the “hijacked” Russian ship, the Arctic Sea, came to light in late July. Ostensibly carrying timber bound for Algeria, the vessel was reported to have been captured off the coast of Sweden by pirates and vanished until it was “rescued” by the Russian navy some 25 days later, near the Cape Verde Islands.
Since the waters of Scandinavia are among the safest for mercantile shipping and given the hush-hushing of the incident by the Russian government, strong suspicions emerged that the Arctic Sea had something more valuable on board. An anti-piracy official of the European Union as well as an unnamed general from the Russian navy suggested that the freighter was taking S-300 or Kh-55 missiles to Iran via an organized Russian crime syndicate. Mossad got into the act with hints that the Arctic Sea was transporting “a Russian air defense system for Iran”.
It strikes anyone who is familiar with Russian history that any “natural alliance’ between Russia and Islamic states is anything but natural. But ignorance of history is an American pastime. The central reason why Russia has sold so much technology to Iran and other Muslim states is because Russian needed the cash in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. A secondary objective is the support of anyone who would be a counterweight to the U.S., whose hegemony Russia has never liked.
What’s really important here from an American standpoint is this:
A key question regarding Netanyahu’s rope trick is why he resorted to a secret face-to-face with the Russians…if he just wished to warn them or convey war plans…
The answer lies in the mounting mutual distrust between Israel and its longtime special ally, the United States, over restarting peace talks with the Palestinians. Since the Barack Obama administration has taken charge in Washington, unprecedented pressure has been applied on Israel to completely halt Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
So low is the confidence of Netanyahu’s right-wing government in Obama that an internal memo by Nadav Tamir, the Israeli consul general in Boston, lamented recently that “the distance between us and the US government is causing strategic damage to Israel”. Racially insulting depictions of Obama in Arab headdress and as a Muslim who is partial to Palestinians have proliferated in Israel, especially among settlers adamantly defying the recalibrated American position. They reflect popular angst that the greatest insurance policy to aggressively pursue Israeli national interests – a blank check from Washington – is now outdated.
That’s a major volte-face in American policy. But it’s interesting that Netanyahu thinks that the Russians might be an effective counterweight to the U.S. The Israelis do have technology that the Russians find interesting (not surprising since Russian Jews emigrated en masse to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union) and the Russians still have a long natural emnity with the Islamic world.
Such an overture, if pursued, would be a major shift in the Middle East. It also puts a lot of prophecy teaching in play too. Since the days of Hal Lindsey, American prophecy preachers have insisted that the power from the north that would invade Israel would be Russia. But the powers from the north that invaded Israel in Old Testament times were what we could call now Syria, Iraq and Iran. (The invasions came from the north because geography dictated passage through Syria and Lebanon to get to Israel.) It’s dangerous to not always be right but never in doubt.