Will Russia fight with Israel for Iran?
While some journalists are looking for the causes of the fire of Notre-Dame-de-Paris, while others worry about the fate of Julian Assange issued by the Ecuadorian embassy, another reason for a big war has appeared in the Middle East. From October of this year, Iran will lease a port in Latakia from Syria and build a base for the Navy there. The decision was made during the February meeting of Bashar Assad with Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.
I must say that Iran is already strong in Syria, it has about a dozen strong points and about 12 thousand military. But if he acquires a base on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, Iran will simply not be stopped. Something like this, these movements are perceived in Israel, where the Islamic Republic is considered the "enemy number one."
Threat for Russia?
The problem is that the Iranians will build their base in Latakia, 72 kilometers from the Russian Navy base in Tartus and the Hmeimim airbase.
Israel has shown by its behavior many times that it will not tolerate the Iranian presence in Syria. The transfer of the Russian S-300, though it altered the flight routes of the IDF air force, did not stop them. Israel does air strikes, flying from Lebanon and Iraq.
The distance from the place where the Iranian base will be created to the Russian bases is decent, but not safe. If tomorrow Israel starts bombing Latakia, the situation with the IL-20 transporter brought down may be repeated. Even if this does not come to this, then all the same, Israeli military aggression not far from the positions of the VKS will spoil Russian-Israeli relations.
The situation may take even more alarming proportions if the States are involved in the case. After all, Donald Trump, like Benjamin Netanyahu, will not rest until he expels Iran from Syria. So, the expansion of the Iranian military presence will give a new reason for the US to launch a missile strike. The legal ground for the attack is ready - Washington has recently added the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the list of terrorist organizations.
Assad chose Iranians Russian?
Another risk for Russia is associated with Bashar Asad. Some experts believe that the Syrian president may withdraw from the influence of Russia by moving closer to Iran. The argument is that in the confrontation with Israel, the Russian S-300 is silent, but the Iranian air defenses will certainly protect Syria from Israeli air raids.
Asad smoothly comes out from under the influence of Moscow, no longer as often as before, he confers with Russian President Vladimir Putin and does not ask for military assistance. This is normal for the Middle East. Many liberal experts believe that the Iranian influence in Syria is dangerous for Moscow and spoils its relations with the "partners" in Tel Aviv. However, the liberals ignore the fact that Russia, unlike Iran, has a wider circle of partners in the region and can communicate directly with both Tehran and its opponents in Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Assad is interested in de-isolation in the Arab world, and Iran cannot provide it - unlike Russia. This feature, along with the superiority of the VKS in the Syrian sky, makes Moscow an indispensable ally of Damascus.
Why Russia should not give up on Iran
The above risks of war may be somewhat exaggerated, but still exist. But do they mean that Russia needs to stop Iran from consolidating on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean? No.
First, by limiting Iran, Russia automatically strengthens the United States and Israel. That is, those who are trying to dismember Syria. Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1967 and is not going to return them. The United States supports the Kurdish militia and with their hands they create an independent Kurdistan beyond the Euphrates. Unlike the Americans and Israelis, Iran, together with Russia, is engaged in restoring the unity of Syria and fighting against terrorists.
Secondly, Iran is a potentially important economic partner of Russia. It is already involved in the North-South project, connecting Moscow through Baku and Tehran with the Indian Ocean. In addition, Iran can give Russia direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Tehran pulls the railroad to Latakia through Iraq and Syria. To complete this project interrupted by the Syrian war, it is necessary to complete a couple of kilometers of roads in Iraq and 3% of the canvas in Syria. Russia and Iran have maritime traffic across the Caspian Sea. Therefore, nothing prevents Moscow from joining this transport corridor.
The Iranian military base in Lattakia increases the risk of Israeli and US aggression in the region. But quarreling in this situation with Tehran for the sake of the USA and Israel will cost Russia much more.