The earth is moving in Syria as the Trump effect takes place in the Middle East. The administration’s forceful support of Israel, along with behind the scenes negotiations with Russia, and yes, the American withdrawal from the Iran deal, seem to be having a positive effect.
There are several consequences of Trump’s pullout from the JCPOA that need to be highlighted. One is that Iran will no longer have tens of billions of US dollars to spend on Russia weapons, which was the genesis of Putin’s support of the regime in Tehran. Moscow’s support for the Mullahs was not ideological, it was based on hard currency that Russia expected to receive, and desperately needs to fund social programs and continue its military modernization.
The second consequence is that America is now firmly once again behind its best ally in the region – the Jewish State, having just moved America’s embassy to Jerusalem, and put to bed any doubts that maybe America would continue the Obama policy of betraying Israel, by supporting a path for Iran to become a nuclear power.
These policies have changed the Middle Eastern chessboard.
Today Haaretz reported, “Israeli political and military leaders believe Russia is willing to discuss a significant distancing of Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from the Israel-Syria border. The change in Russia’s position has become clearer since Israel’s May 10 military clash with Iran in Syria and amid Moscow’s concerns that further Israeli moves would threaten the stability of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.”
Reports are now circulating that Russia will agree to force Iran 60 kilometers from the Israeli border in Syria. The buildup of Iranian forces and the support of the theocracy in Tehran for its militia armies close to the Golan has been a primary Israeli concern. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also made multiple trips to Moscow to discuss the situation with Putin and prevent sophisticated Russia weapons from falling into the hands of hostile forces near its border, and get Putin’s blessing to destroy any weapons that do enter Israel’s seclusion zone. The transfer of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon is also a significant concern for Netanyahu.
Of course, Iran’s other proxy in Israel proper, Hamas, has resumed massive rocket attacks against Sderot, Ashkelon, and other Gaza border cities. The Palestinian goal is to shape the narrative that Israel is committing war crimes, a narrative only too easily swallowed by the corrupt Mainstream Media in the US and Europe. However, this pressure will not work, and will likely backfire as Israel will take the defensive measures needed to suppress the threat.
In another interesting press report, Russian state news agency TASS is writing that the U.S. may give up bases in the region in exchange for Moscow’s support in pressuring Iran. “The US used to consider the At-Tanf base important not only from the viewpoint of economic pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad as it blocked the Damascus-Baghdad highway, but also in terms of monitoring Iran’s flurry of activity,” Anton Mardasov, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), told the paper. “As a matter of fact, the US has managed to construct another base recently – in Jordan – which is almost adjacent to the Syrian border. Judging by satellite images, it already has helicopters based there. In addition, unmanned aerial vehicles may be deployed there. The US may keep tabs on what’s going on even without At-Tanf. Another matter is that it is unlikely that Washington will dismantle the base just to observe agreements on the southwestern de-escalation zone with Russia. More likely Russia will be asked to influence Iranian activity somehow,” wrote TASS.
This points to behind the scene negotiations, that are being slowly played out in press reports as well, between the Trump administration and the Kremlin. All of this may also be tied into negotiations over North Korea.
Someone tell the Norwegian Nobel Committee.