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Title: Moscow May Ditch The Astana Format For The Russian-Israeli One
Source: [None]
URL Source: https://www.memri.org/reports/mosco ... ana-format-russian-israeli-one
Published: Mar 5, 2019
Author: MEMRI
Post Date: 2019-03-05 09:10:01 by A K A Stone
Keywords: None
Views: 33

Ng.ru's military "observer" Vladimir Mukhin posted an article titled "Moscow Is Changing the Astana Format for The Russian Israeli One" on February 28, 2019. Instead of reliance upon Turkey and Iran, the basis of the peacekeeping force in the north of Syria will be composed of Russia's military police and contingents from the international coalition. Mukhin explained that Russia is disenchanted with its allies in Syria Turkey and Iran. Both are needlessly interfering with Russia's ambitions in Syria. Turkey under the cover of fighting Kurdish terrorists is coveting more Syrian lands, while Iran in its struggle with Israel is also seeking to expand its presence thus preventing the regional stability that Moscow wants. A formula that would obtain the withdrawal of foreign forces (Turkish, Iranian and American) leaving essentially the Russian military police presence was presumably worked out with Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to Moscow. Mukhin's article follows below:

"The main accomplishment of Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to Moscow, as reported by the Israel media is the possible formation of a working group of Russia, Israel and a series of other countries with a view to extracting foreign forces from Syria. This is what was related on Wednesday by high ranking Israeli officials

"Objective preconditions exist for such a decision by Israel and Moscow, who are striving for stabilization in Syria. The terrorists of the Islamic State (ISIS is banned in Russia) are essentially defeated. The regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad with Moscow's support is embarking on a peaceful existence and is trying to consolidate various forces as part of an internal dialogue.

"It cannot be excluded, that in the discussions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli premier a long-term strategy for the attainment of common goals was already worked out. We are talking about a compromise in accordance with the interests of the parties that are uninterested in the presence of Iranian forces in Syria as well as the Turkish army (fighting against the Kurds) as well as coalition forces headed by the U.S.

"US President Donald Trump has already announced the withdrawal of his soldiers from Syria. And the remaining limited peacekeeping contingent of the Pentagon that remains should defend the Kurds whom Moscow and Tel-Aviv also support. Simultaneously, it can be assumed that the joint Russia-Israel group can via political methods (via the U.N., other international institutions, etc.) can act in concert against the Iranian-Turkish presence in Syria. True, for this Moscow will apparently need to 'bury' relations with Ankara and Tehran in the 'Astana Format' framework.

"Judging by the announcement of the Israeli leadership, the country's armed forces after Netanyahu's visit to Russia intend to continue destroying Iranian military targets in Syria. Moscow, as long as Russian servicemen are not harmed, will not interfere. It should be noted that relations between Moscow and Tehran on that week grew increasingly tense. Iran.ru, an internet portal close to official Tehran cites Nasser Kandil[1] a Shi'ite analyst in the Arabic Lebanese paper Al-Binaa who observed that 'Bashar Assad's visit to Tehran preceded Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to Moscow and carried a message that Israel should pay a price for any future attacks on Syria'. And this quite definitely sounded not only a warning to Tel Aviv but also a reproach to the Russian leadership.

"Tension is also increasing in relations with Turkey. Military-diplomatic sources report on Moscow's plans to expand its military police contingent in the northeast part of the country. Foreign Ministry chief Sergey Lavrov last Sunday did not exclude similar actions by the Russian Defense Ministry.

"The President of Turkey Recep Tayip Erdogan, anticipating the possibility of such developments criticized Lavrov, who chatting with journalists announced that 'Russia and Turkey have not reached a common understanding on which Kurdish forces should be considered terrorist and which not'. In Lavrov's words, Ankara has 'its unique position'. Moscow understands 'its unease, but it is still necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff and see which of the Kurdish forces are really extremist and constitute a threat to the Turkish Republic.'

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