Last night I reported that Bashar Assad is visiting Moscow for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev. The two leaders are celebrating the traditional warm friendship shared by Syria and Russia, not to mention discussing a deal for the sale of Russian Iskander missiles to Syria.
Close on the heels of the Assad-Medvedev love feast comes a reported phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the Russian president. A coincidence? You decide.
According to Ynet News:
Medvedev, Olmert discuss Caucasus conflict
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev phoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Wednesday in an apparent effort to ease tensions between the countries amid Moscow’s conflict with Georgia.
Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik announces MKs will visit battle-stricken region soon in order to assist in post-war rehabilitation. ‘As member of Jewish people, when I see convoys of destitute refugees this war has left behind, I can’t just sit by,’ she says
The leaders spoke at length about a host of issues, including the situation in the Caucasus, the Middle East peace process and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s current visit to Moscow.
Assad and Medvedev are expected to meet at the resort city of Sochi along the shores of Black Sea to discuss the strategic alliance between the countries. The Syrian leader said he would use a visit to expand military ties with Moscow, whose arms sales to the Middle Eastern state have angered Israel and the United States. The Russian leader is expected to offer Syria advanced weaponry.
It seems that Russia is unhappy with prior Israeli assistance to the Georgians:
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On Tuesday General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of staff of the Russian Military revealed the extent of the military assistance Moscow claimed Jerusalem had given Georgia.
“Israel armed the Georgian army,” he told reported at a press conference held in the Russian capital.
According to Nogovitsyn, Israel provided Georgia with “eight types of military vehicles, explosives, landmines and special explosives for the clearing minefields.”
Vladimir Putin is adept at playing the old game of “Let’s You and Him Fight”. If Russia is surrounded by enemies — which has been the common theme of its foreign policy since Ivan the Terrible — it makes sense to set them to war with one another.
Iran, the United States, Israel, the Arabs, various European countries, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Japan…
As much trouble as possible, among as many of these players as possible: that’s what serves the interests of Russia.
Hat tip: Abu Elvis.