Tidigare i veckan hade jag möjlighet att ringa in en fråga till Israels tidigare premiärminister (1999-2001) och försvarsminister (2007-2013) Ehud Barak om Rysslands militära närvaro i Mellanöstern och dess roll som säkerhetspolitisk aktör i regionen.
Transkribering av hans svar:
”The Russian presence is something that was created by the vacuum left by the Obama administration after the inability to follow on the red line about chemical weapons. Putin entered immediately, skillfully and took the major role.
He doesn’t have overlapping interests with the Iranians. He probably might prefer to see them out but he cannot fully influence it. And he wants to make sure that Assad is not fully defeated.
As he once told me, I don’t have a love affair with the Assads, but we, namely the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation, invested forty years in this dynasty, and I cannot afford seeing my client having the same fate as Mubarak, the American client, in Egypt.
Basically he is there… I think once he is there he is not only a part of the problem but a part of the solution. This a major power, international global superpower, they are a stabilizer much more than a source of friction. They are not interested in any major clash, and they have certain influence, not full control, but certain influence on both the Syrians and indirectly some influence over the Iranians.
We Israelis have good contacts with them. We try to avoid any casualties from any action that we are taking. We try to listen to their needs and interests when we plan our determined operations against Iran inside Syria.”