Israel To Take ‘More Aggressive’ Stance Against Russia To Curry Favor With US

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Substack,

Israel isn’t planning to send early warning systems to Ukraine out of solidarity but is really trying to curry more favor with the US as its war with Hamas reaches the endgame, though Tel Aviv is disguising its true intentions as a signal of displeasure with Moscow’s balancing act between Israel and Hamas.

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN announced late last month that his country is “working to provide Ukraine with early warning systems”, which was followed by a hardline lawmaker promising that “Israel will take a more aggressive stance against Russia.” This came after the new Israeli Ambassador to Russia caused a scandal in early February by misportraying Russia’s regional policy, which readers can learn more about in this analysis here that hyperlinks to nearly two dozen relevant pieces about it.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacted to this development by lamenting “The fact that people in the region, especially Israeli politicians, perceive and follow the path imposed on them by the ‘exceptionalists’ – the US”, which has “exacerbated and brought closer this catastrophic situation in the region, given it an eerie momentum, provoked it.” Although Israel is still legally considered a “friendly” country by Russia, that could soon change depending on what it does.

So long as it refrains from sending offensive arms, however, then it might not make that list. Even if it does, then Russia might still keep it off of there for now in order to explore whether diplomacy can result in reaching a “new normal” between them before tensions spiral out of control, similar in spirit to why Russia didn’t designate Turkiye despite it sending Ukraine attack drones. Relations with Ankara remained manageable and mutually beneficial for the most part so ties with Tel Aviv might end up the same way.

Nevertheless, this shift in Israel’s approach towards NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine – which is already an undeclared but limited hot war after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inadvertently revealed that Western troops are secretly on the ground there – isn’t being done out of solidarity with Kiev. Rather, it superficially appears to due to Israel’s displeasure with Russia’s balancing act between it and Hamas but is really an attempt by Tel Aviv to curry favor with Washington as its war with Hamas reaches the endgame.

Two detailed reports from American media in late November can be interpreted as an evolution of the Biden Administration’s pressure campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. The Washington Post informed their audience how he let Qatar fund Hamas, while the New York Times claimed that Israel was allegedly aware of Hamas’ sneak attack plans more than a year before its early October sneak attack. Both are damning and could fuel more protests against him once the conflict ends.

About those, the Biden Administration was already implicated in the unprecedented nationwide ones that rocked Israel last spring, which were analyzed here as being motivated by its ruling liberal-globalists’ ideological opposition to the self-professed Jewish State’s conservative-nationalist government. Anticipating a repeat of those events upon the conclusion of another ceasefire ahead of Ramadan, it’s very possible that Bibi sought to preempt more meddling by agreeing to send those systems to Ukraine.

In his mind, this desperate move could potentially alleviate some of the expected grassroots pressure upon him in that scenario by influencing the US to exercise a greater degree of self-restraint by not involving itself as much in any forthcoming round of Color Revolution unrest. The public pretext upon which these early warning systems are being sent is Israel’s displeasure with Russia’s balancing act between it and Hamas in order to deflect scrutiny from his real motives.

After all, there’s no credence to the claim that Russia supported Hamas’ sneak attack, whether militarily or politically. The Kremlin has repeatedly condemned it as an act of terrorism but also condemned Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinians in response. Moscow’s hosting of Hamas’ political wing is solely intended to revive peace talks and secure the release of the hostages, the latter task of which “is under the personal control of the president of the Russian Federation” according to a senior diplomat.

However much Israel might dislike this policy due to its desire that all countries take its side over Hamas’ per the zero-sum choice that it’s pressured them to make, this could continue to be conveyed through conventional diplomatic means instead of escalating matters by unilaterally sending such systems to Kiev. The reason why Israel’s export of this early warning equipment is so concerning to Russia is because it could lead to “mission creep” whereby air defense systems and possibly offensive arms soon follow.  

Any significant Israeli-backed improvement of Ukraine’s air defense capabilities could lead to a symmetrical Russian-backed improvement of Syria’s, though this analysis here argues that Moscow won’t risk a wider war to stop Tel Aviv’s increasingly frequent strikes against Damascus. At any rate, these two might slip into a dangerous security dilemma since each might accuse the other of obstructing their strikes against what they consider to be legitimate military targets in those neighboring nations.

The consequences could see Russia and Israel ramping up their respective strikes in Ukraine and Syria so as to more effectively break through these new defenses there. That won’t change the military-strategic dynamics of the Ukrainian Conflict but could risk a worsening of the West Asian Crisis if Iran feels comfortable enough to attack Israel from Syria under its host’s Russian-supplied umbrella. In that event, Israel could either react with a ground operation or might even launch one preemptively.

From Bibi’s self-interested political perspective, widening the war to Syria in any ground or special forces capacity could perpetuate the West Asian Crisis to his domestic and international benefit. On the home front, he’ll likely be able to exploit that move to remain in power and avoid (possibly politically driven) corruption charges, while the foreign one could see the US alleviating potentially impending Color Revolution pressure upon him due to Israel more directly containing Iran in Syria per their joint interests.

It’s unclear whether he’s gamed everything out this far, and even if he did, it can’t be taken for granted that events will evolve in that direction and not be offset by some hitherto unpredictable variables. Regardless of whatever his plans may be and however far he’s looking into the future, the fact of the matter is that Israel’s partial compliance with the US’ anti-Russian demands risks ruining ties with Moscow, and this could quickly reverberate throughout West Asia depending on the scenario trajectory.


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