Our World: Israel and the Russian challenge

Israeli Air Force commanders are reportedly deeply worried about Russia’s military presence in Syria.


When Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed his forces to Syria last year, he claimed that the deployment would be brief. Russian forces were placed in Syria, Putin said, to protect Assad and would leave once he was able to defend himself.


Last week, when the terms of the deployment agreement concluded between Russia and Syria were made public, we discovered that those early claims were false. Under the terms of the deal, Russia can maintain permanent bases in Syria.


Israel’s Air Force is no match for Russia’s. The S-400 anti-aircraft system Russia is deploying to Syria covers half of Israeli territory. Russia’s deployment means that Israel has lost its regional air superiority.


To be sure, Putin’s decision to set up permanent bases in Syria is not directed against Israel. He is interested in defending Russian interests in areas like oil and Syria where Israel is not an actor. This is the reason that Russia and Israel have been able to reach tactical agreements over Syria.


Among other things, the sides agreed to deconflict their aircraft flying over Syria.


But Israel’s ability to reach tactical understandings with Russia doesn’t mean Israel can trust that Russia’s operations in the area will not harm its national security in significant ways.


Read More: Our World: Israel and the Russian challenge – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

1 reply

Comments are closed.