cc. On 15 February 2018, after a drone entered Israeli territory and was downed, after a renewed Israeli military strike on positions in Syria and the shooting down of an Israeli fighter plane, the Israeli newspaper “The Times of Israel” reported (<link www.timesofisrael.com russian-official-if-iran-attacks-israel-well-standing-with-you>www.timesofisrael.com/russian-official-if-iran-attacks-israel-well-standing-with-you/) on an interview with the Russian deputy ambassador to Israel, Leonid Frolov. He had said: “In case of aggression against Israel, not only will the US be on the side of Israel, but Russia, too, will be on the side of Israel.” Willy Wimmer, former Secretary of State in the German Ministry of Defense and former Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, puts this opinion into the wider political context.
A thing like that has probably never occurred before. A Russian Vice Ambassador by the name of Frolov said something in Tel Aviv, and the whole world listened. He declared Israel a country against which Russia will not allow aggression. He went even further. He said that if Iran were to attack Israel, Russia would side with Israel, alongside the United States – words that travel around the globe with an echo of thunder. The charm of these words uttered by Mr Frolov on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea proceeds from one circumstance: it is not about expressions uttered on the chicken ladder of a hierarchy. Whoever listened to Mr Frolow, heard his president named Putin. A vice-ambassador has rarely spoken with more power behind his words.
The two Caucasus wars of the 1990s have already demonstrated the United States’ activities on the soft underbelly of the Russian Federation. The peoples of the Caucasus, who have populated the Levant states since the Caucasus wars of the 19th century, have been positioned against the Russia of today.
The United States – and you have only to listen to the short-term American Security Advisor and retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn – have covered the area from Afghanistan to Libya, which can justifiably be called one of the cradles of our civilization, with the torch of war. A new map is the objective, and it is hell for the Russian Federation. It is well known that trees do not grow to reach the sky, and in Berlin one was well advised to listen to the excellently trained and extremely knowledgeable former East German top diplomats in their judgment of this region in order to grasp the dimension of the dispute. In this connection, the Iranian revolution triggered so many things, so for instance the fact that this revolution brought the United States to the point of losing its communication intercept stations directed at the Soviet Union strategic forces on the Iranian-Soviet frontier, and that the Soviets feared a rebuilding of these stations on the Afghan-Soviet border. This was preceded by an invasion of Afghanistan. Since then, this struggle between Moscow and Washington has dominated events in the region, and Washington has not shied away from destroying the region as completely as possible.
The United States, with their “perpetual war allies”, namely England and France, cared neither for international law nor for the protection of the cultural heritage of five thousand years when they ravaged the region between Kabul and Tripoli. Moscow’s approach was different, as shown by Moscow’s support for the legitimate Syrian government. Actually, after the 2014 coup in Kiev in favour of Washington, Russia’s ability to act in the Near and Middle East improved by leaps and bounds. There was and is an endless coming and going of Iranian, Israeli and Saudi state leaders in Moscow. President Putin gets along with everyone, though and especially because he is on the side of a legitimate government in Damascus. Gaining time is always a diplomatic maxim.
The Western disgrace is that while the United States are open for every war, they have no enthusiasm for peace. Perhaps one can make an exception regarding the current president Trump and perhaps one should do just that. However, the appearance of his security general adviser McMaster in Munich has made it clear that he seems to have been walled up by Pentagonists. How different is the picture conveyed by the Russian president Putin.
We should all remind ourselves that before the outbreak of the war in Syria, an agreement between Tel Aviv and Damascus to resolve the Golan problems, and thus the end of decades of conflict, was pending, the implementation of which failed due to the Israelis changing their mind. In Tel Aviv, one will appreciate what is to be thought of Mr Frolow’s pithy statements. We will also have to ask ourselves whether an expression of the possibility of peace as credible as the one that can be taken from this Russian “echo of thunder” will ever be obtainable again. Not only Tehran will have to make some decisions, but Israel will have to do the same. •
* Willy Wimmer was a CDU (Christian Democrats) member of the “Bundestag” from 1976–2009, Secretary of State in the German Ministry of Defense from 1988–1992 and Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly from 1994–2000. He is co-author of the book “Die Wiederkehr der Hasardeure. Schattenstrategen, Kriegstreiber, stille Profiteure 1914 und heute” (“The Gamblers’ Return. Shadow strategists, warmongers, silent profiteers, 1914 and today”) together with Wolfgang Effenberger, 2014 and author of the book “Die Akte Moskau” (“The Moscow File”), 2016.
(Translation Current Concerns)
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