Saudi Arabia's Asharq Al-Awsat reports today (Google does a decent job translating from Arabic):
وأكدت المصادر أن إسرائيل نفذت فقط غارتين جويتين على سوريا بعد تلك الحادثة، بتنسيق مع القوات الروسية. وفي كل مرة، كان الروس يبدون تبرمهم من هذا النوع من العمليات. والمعروف أن حكومة بنيامين نتنياهو فشلت حتى الآن في تسوية الخلافات مع موسكو. فالرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين صد مطالب نتنياهو للقائه على الأراضي الروسية طيلة الشهرين الفائتين. وعندما وافق على لقاء نتنياهو في باريس، الأسبوع الماضي، خلال حفل عشاء ضمن الاحتفالات بذكرى مائة سنة على الحرب العالمية الأولى، أصر على أن يكون اللقاء قصيراً (ربع ساعة) ومقتضباً، وذلك بعد جهود إسرائيلية وأميركية كثيرة مع موسكو. ومع أن نتنياهو اعتبره لقاءً مهماً ومفيداً، فإن بوتين اعتبره لقاءً عابراً، مؤكداً أنه من غير المرجح أن يلتقي معه مرة أخرى في المستقبل المنظور. وتبين من تقرير داخلي في المؤسسة الأمنية في تل أبيب أن «روسيا أوضحت لإسرائيل بطرق مختلفة أن الوضع الذي كان قائماً في السابق قد انتهى، لأن عمليات تل أبيب في سوريا تضر بمشروع موسكو الأساسي في المنطقة، أي استعادة الحكومة السورية سيطرتها على معظم أراضي البلاد، لضمان مصالح روسيا الاقتصادية والأمنية في سوريا. وهي تستغل حادثة الطائرة بكل قسوة لتحقيق أهدافها». وأكد التقرير أن الجانب الروسي بدأ يستخدم لهجة صارمة، تتسم بعض الأحيان بفظاظة، في اتصالات التنسيق مع العسكريين الإسرائيليين عبر ما يسمى «الخط الساخن»، الخاص بمنع وقوع الحوادث
Translation: The sources confirmed that Israel carried out only two air raids on Syria after that incident, in coordination with Russian forces. Each time, the Russians began to sign these kinds of operations. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has so far failed to settle differences with Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin blocked Netanyahu's demands to meet him on Russian territory for the past two months. When he agreed to meet with Netanyahu in Paris last week at a gala dinner marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War, he insisted that the meeting should be short (one-quarter of an hour) and brief, following many Israeli and American efforts with Moscow. Although Netanyahu considered it an important and useful meeting, Putin considered it a passing meeting, asserting that he is unlikely to meet with him again in the foreseeable future. "Russia has made it clear to Israel in different ways that the situation that existed in the past is over, because the Tel Aviv operations in Syria are harming Moscow's basic project in the region, that is, the restoration of the Syrian government's control over most of the country's territory, To ensure Russia's economic and security interests in Syria. It is taking advantage of the aircraft incident with all its cruelty to achieve its goals. " The report said that the Russian side began to use a strict tone, sometimes crude, in coordination contacts with the Israeli military through the so-called hotline, the prevention of accidents in Syria, between the parties.
This report comes on the heels of my publisher sending me yesterday a link to Bernhard's (MOA) excellent piece on Israel, which I read by then anyway. But Asharq Al-Awsat reports also on a significant increase of the sorties by Russian VKS' aircraft in Syrian air space and all this fits perfectly the pattern which I (well, forgive me, but can I feed my ego at least once in a while?) predicted within hours of IL-20s tragedy. This brings up this ever important issue (and I will soon resume my Russia's Non-Jewish History series of posts) of true influence of alleged Jewish (Israeli) lobby on Russia. As I already stated not for once, Russia's foreign and defense policies are immune to any kind of influences which contradict Russia's crucial national interests. Russia is interested in stable and secure Israel but not at the expense of own strategic interests. For sure, Israel has her own legitimate security concerns but the main question is what is the extent of this legitimacy? I don't know, I am not a specialist in the region, but the issue of new settlements and, inevitably, of Golan Heights will come up once Syria recovers most of her territory and will start in earnest postbellum restoration.
Theoretically, Russia can guarantee Israel's survival but it will come with a lofty price tag. Obviously, for Israeli and American Likudniks (neocons, Israeli-firsters, what have you), who got used to kick US Congress around any way they want, such a disposition where they have to actually listen and not talk is huge humiliation, but, I hope, even most delusional Zionists both within Israel and US power structures, must recognize that Russia does have many strategic options, they--don't. As Asharq Al-Awsat reports:
كشفت مصادر سياسية في تل أبيب أن القيادة العسكرية الإسرائيلية تبدي قلقاً من فشل القيادة السياسية في تسوية الأزمة القائمة مع روسيا في الشهرين الفائتين، منذ سقوط طائرة التجسس «إيل - 20» في 17 سبتمبر (أيلول) الماضي. وتقول إن استمرار هذه الأزمة يتسبب في تناقض مصالح مع روسيا، وبات يضيق على إسرائيل في خياراتها القتالية ضد الوجود الإيراني في سوريا، وحتى ضد نشاط «حزب الله» في لبنان.
Translation: Political sources in Tel Aviv revealed that the Israeli military leadership is concerned about the failure of the political leadership to resolve the crisis with Russia in the past two months, since the fall of the spy plane "El - 20" on 17 September. She says that the continuation of this crisis is causing a conflict of interests with Russia, and is narrowing Israel's choice of combat against the Iranian presence in Syria, and even against the activity of "Hezbollah" in Lebanon.
The name of the "crisis", of course, are two (or three--who knows how many) battalions of S-300PMU2 Favorit and the evolution of this whole situation could serve as a classic example of the Force In Being translating into tangible (geo)political results. Russia really wanted to work with Israel but Israel, obviously, grossly overestimated own capabilities, especially against the background of gross underestimation of Russian ones--a scenario replayed constantly in the US which still remains enamored with Israel's military "achievements" against traditionally weak Arab military and para-military formations. Things are changing, though. I will go out on a limb here and speculate that Syrian Arab Army's prestige among Arabs is extremely high, as is prestige of Hafez al-Assad, who defied Israel, international Jihad, Turkey and NATO. Syria IS emerging as a pivotal state of Arab secular nationalism whether intentionally or not--but it is the fact of life. Read MOA's review on some indications of that. Long term geopolitical, economic and cultural ramifications of that for the region are immense and Russia is only happy to benefit from that, apart from satisfaction from playing a key role in saving the last secular Arab state. Just one small fact:
One may argue, justifiably, that this is so far only LOI--sure, but the breakthrough for Russian civilian aircraft into rich Gulfies' market is a good sign, considering the fact that Russian weapons there are in high demand and Qatar and Saudis are really interested on getting their hands on S-400s. For Arabs, in general, the fact of containment of Israel is huge and it matters that Israel was contained by Russian weapons. Israel has only herself to blame for finding herself in such a conundrum but, and this is my profound conviction, Israel got used to beating on weak and exerting an immense influence on the United States internally so much, that she simply forgot that Russia is not the United States and it is inconceivable to have THIS in Russia, in the US--it is a normal occurrence. And that is the difference Israel should understand and the faster she does it, the better it will be for all parties involved. In the end, you reap what you sow.