Israel’s US-Russia summit divides over Iran

The unprecedented conference focused on the situation in Syria


The diplomatic coup of hosting a trilateral meeting of the national security advisors of Israel, the United States and Russia in Jerusalem this week was somewhat dimmed for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Nikolai Patrushev’s remarks in favour of Iran.

The unprecedented conference between (pictured, l to r) Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr Patrushev, Russia’s Secretary of the Security Council, along with their senior staff members, focused on the situation in Syria, especially on Iran’s presence. The meetings on Monday and Tuesday were, according to Mr Netanyahu’s closing statement, testament to “the strong relationships Israel has” with Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

He highlighted the fact that “Israel has acted hundreds of times to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, while it actively works and calls for our destruction.” He promised that “Israel will continue to prevent Iran from using neighbouring countries as platforms to attack us.” But while Mr Bolton was on the same page, saying that “the radical regime in Iran and its terrorist surrogates engage in yet more rounds of violent provocations abroad,” Mr Patrushev said that “Iran is contributing a lot to fighting terrorists on the Syrian soil and stabilizing the situation there.”

He also called Israel’s attacks on Iranian targets in Syria “undesirable,” and that it was “unacceptable” to equate Iran’s actions to those of terror organisations. “Iran has been and remains our ally and partner, with whom we are consistently developing relations both bilaterally and in multilateral formats.”

In recent months, senior IDF officials have acknowledged that the Russians have expressed their dissatisfaction with Israel’s attacks on Iranian and Hezbollah targets inside Syria. However, they stressed that Russia, which has a “deconfliction” mechanism with Israel to ensure that the two countries’ aircraft do not clash with each other, has not actively tried to block Israel from carrying out these strikes.


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