Patrushev and Bolton decide the fate of Iran
A meeting of the heads of the Security Councils of Russia, the United States and Israel has started in Jerusalem. Will Nikolai Patrushev, John Bolton and Meir Ben-Shabbat be able to agree on the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria and the prevention of war between the United States and Iran over tankers in the Gulf of Oman?
While the attention of the whole world is focused on Georgia, the fate of another problematic state, Syria, is decided two thousand kilometers south of it. A two-day meeting started in Jerusalem with the participation of the leaders of the Security Councils of Russia, the United States and Israel - Nikolai Patrushev, John Bolton and Meir Ben-Shabbat.
A month ago, when information about the preparation of a tripartite meeting was leaked to the Israeli media, experts rushed to call it a “fake” and a “disinfestation” directed against Iran. After all, the negotiations were presented as a "conspiracy" between Russia and Israel and the United States in order to achieve the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria in exchange for recognition by the West of Bashar Assad.
It is not known whether such a variant of exchange will be discussed. But the fact of the meeting gives grounds for reflection and speculation.
Why does Patrushev speak with representatives of countries unfriendly to Iran? According to the official version, which is confirmed by all parties, the three countries are concerned about security in the Middle East.
The withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria
However, each of the participants has a different explanation of who is to blame for the destabilization of the region. In the United States and Israel, Iran, its expanding influence and the development of ballistic missiles by it are seen as the root of the problem.
Bolton and Ben-Shabbat are primarily interested in finding Iranian military and militias in Syria. A year ago, with the participation of Moscow, Iran’s troops were moved to a safe distance for Israel - 80 km from the Golan Heights. Now Washington and Tel Aviv are demanding the complete withdrawal of Iranians from the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR).
Prevent US War with Iran
The second important moment for all three players is the situation in the Persian Gulf. In mid-May and June, four tankers were attacked in the waters of the United Arab Emirates and Iran. In each of the attacks, the United States and its Sunni allies placed the blame on Tehran. Last week, the Iranians shot down an American drone in their airspace, which also added fuel to the fire. Donald Trump first threatened to strike at Iran, but later said that the downed drone was not yet a reason for a military operation.
Although escalation can be avoided, the threat of war remains high. The United States sent 1,500 servicemen to the Middle East, an aircraft carrier group led by the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and the Patriot air defense system.
Bolton and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently returned from a Middle Eastern tour, are the main supporters of the regime change in Iran and the military response.
Russia is not interested in the collision of the United States and Israel with Iran in Syria, or in escalating the conflict in the Persian Gulf with the participation of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on the side of the Americans. The first one harms the efforts of Moscow to restore the unity of the SAR, the second threatens the stability of the Transcaucasus adjacent to the Middle East.
Patrushev’s statements before the tripartite summit dispelled rumors about Russia's readiness to put pressure on Iran.
Iran is in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government and is actively involved in the fight against terrorism. Therefore, of course, we will have to take into account the interests of Iran,
- he said.
Before the talks, Nikolai Patrushev made it clear that the interests of Russia, the USA and Israel “have different directions,” and the goal of Moscow is to convey Iranian interests to the Israeli and American sides.
Meeting for the meeting
Americans do not want to listen to the opinion of Russia. Or they agree on something, for example, that it is necessary to act together, and then behave somewhat differently. If this meeting gives something, it is that the parties will be able to take into account each other’s views. Given the current situation in this region, this is already important. Russia will not “merge” Iran, because it is a strategic partner and one of the constituent units, including within the framework of the geopolitical triangle “Moscow - Tehran - Ankara”.
If this event has value, it will be a major achievement for Benjamin Netanyahu and the State of Israel. This is a clear and public confirmation that Israel is the state that was able to gather the leaders of the security services of the two largest countries of the world to discuss ways of Syrian settlement and the status of Iranian forces in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
The presence of Iranian forces in Syria is associated with the existence of the Iranian regime in Tehran, and as long as the Ayatollah regime is in Tehran, the presence will continue. In practice, Moscow cannot demand Iranians to leave Syria. Russia and Iran are guests on Syrian soil for various reasons. How can a guest ask another guest to leave?
The decision on the presence of the Iranian Armed Forces, if it depends on someone, is Bashar Asad, Eldib added.
Russia will not make concessions not only because Iran is an ally, but because of the unwillingness of the United States to keep its promises.
In such a situation, it is difficult to admit that Patrushev and Bolton will find a common language on the issue of Iran’s presence in Syria. Just as the US needs the Iranians to leave the SAR, Russia needs their preservation to the same extent. Without the support of the IRGC, the Russian VKS and Bashar Assad will find it extremely difficult to bring the Idlib province under control of Damascus and achieve a termination of the US occupation of northeastern Syria.
For Moscow, a more priority task is to avoid escalation in the Persian and Oman gulfs. Russia could initiate a collective security system for the Middle East with the participation of Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. If the Americans reject this proposal, they will officially sign off in provoking a war in the region.