On Friday, there was a very dramatic assessment from US National Security Council spokesperson Admiral John Kirby that military ties between Russia and Iran were developing into a “full-fledged defense partnership.” did. The backdrop is Russia’s dire need of a war with Ukraine, but the political and geographic context is much broader.
“Let’s be clear, this partnership poses a threat not only to Ukraine, but also to Iran’s neighbors,” Kirby said. The US shares this information with its Middle East and other allies, he added.
Signs of how Iran and Russia are getting closer have been showing for months. Iran has made up for a shortage of Russian drones that have helped destroy Ukraine’s energy and water infrastructure. But in the last two days, Iranian drones have reappeared in Ukraine’s skies. The Kiev government said it cut power to the entire region of Odessa, Ukraine’s main port on the Black Sea, from Friday to Saturday. With near-zero night temperatures in Odessa, 1.5 million Ukrainians are left in the dark and cold.
Drones are just part of the Russian shopping list. Iran has developed considerable ballistic capabilities. The US and UK say Russia has procured hundreds of Iranian ballistic weapons. Destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure has become a major goal as Russian forces have returned to defensive positions on the battlefield and suffered heavy losses. Putin spoke openly about it on Friday, mocking the “hustle and bustle” the West is making on the issue. “We stick around,” he said. And they persistently need to replenish their inventory.
According to the Biden administration, Russia and Iran will start co-manufacturing drones in Russia. But weapons and ammunition only flow in one direction. “Russia is providing Iran with an unprecedented level of military and technical support, seeking to transform the relationship between the two countries into a full-fledged defense partnership,” Kirby said.
The severity of the US warning is unusual. The war in Ukraine threatens security far beyond its borders, which now includes half of the Asian continent, including the Middle East.
All means and all partners
Moscow’s regime is all-in on victory in Ukraine and cannot let go. Compromise, or concession, or withdrawal will seal the fate of the entire Russian elite. The definition of victory has not changed: the complete surrender of Ukraine. It must stop being an independent state and become a docile Russian state like Belarus, even if it continues to exist on paper.
Ten months ago, Putin believed that this goal would be achieved in the blink of an eye. He gave up these expectations without giving up the purpose of war. This means that he is ready to go to any lengths and resort to the most dubious partnerships. Now that Russia has ceased even to pretend to care about international stability, there is no longer any reason to assume that it will hesitate to undermine this stability both in the near and long range.
It now unites its destinies in two countries. The aim is to disrupt the status quo in their respective regions.North Korea, Russia’s undisputed source of ammunition, is testing an ICBM capable of hitting Washington and New York. Iran seeks to establish a land line between the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and gain supremacy in the Gulf.
expiration date approaching
For years, Israel has avoided openly discussing the issue of Russia’s intentions in Syria. Israeli leaders have repeatedly praised the strategic agreement with Putin. These understandings, however reliable they were to begin with, are nearing their expiration date. The need to limit Iran’s influence in Syria is far less in Vladimir Putin’s interest than the question of what help Iran can give him to eliminate Ukraine. Israel no longer has reasonable grounds to assume that it can rely on Russia’s goodwill.
According to the White House, Iranian pilots are training in Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and it’s only a matter of time before Russia starts supplying them to Iran. And Iran will undoubtedly benefit greatly from Russia’s know-how in developing drones and ballistic missiles.
Since the 1960s, Israel has not found itself in a situation where a major active adversary seeking its utter destruction and establishing regional hegemony can rely on the advanced military equipment of a superpower. The enemy at that time was Egypt, led by Nasser, and the superpower was the Soviet Union. Things have changed, but the dynamics haven’t changed.
jets, jockeys, intentions and expectations
The impression that strategic shifts are underway around Israel’s borders also intensified last week in the south. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “historic” visit to Saudi Arabia has revealed the extent to which China has decided to enter the Middle East. Chinese leaders received a friendly welcome in Riyadh from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who worked to honor Xi. There is first a ceremonial fly pass by a smoking jet, then a ceremonial escort by horsemen, and finally a cordial handshake that goes far beyond the lukewarm welcome given to President Joe Biden earlier this year. had.
It remains to be seen what Xi’s visit will accomplish beyond a ceremonial declaration and some cooperation agreements that do not require his presence. But perhaps more important than the visit itself was China’s announcement before the visit, which indicated its intentions and expectations.
“This will be the largest and highest-level diplomatic event between China and the Arab world since the founding of the People’s Republic of China,” said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. It will be a momentous event.” On Chinese-Arab Relations. ” There was certainly no superlative absence.
The US issued a veiled warning
The United States is anxiously watching these events unfold. “Some kind of partnership with China will put limits on what we can do,” said Brett McGurk, Middle East portfolio manager at the White House National Security Council, at a conference in Bahrain last month. warned. to do. ”
His warnings were kept under wraps, but in the past the US has urged friends to refrain from giving Chinese tech giant Huawei access to its 5G systems. The U.S. believes Huawei is looking for new markets not just to make money, but to fulfill duties assigned to it by China’s security services.
It’s easy to guess what China’s long-term goals are. China, like most of the world, believes that the long-standing U.S. hegemony is coming to an end on nearly every issue. Although China has voiced its opposition to the very concept of a “political vacuum,” it certainly assumes that such a vacuum is emerging and growing in the Middle East. So China has a very big step in the door.
Saudi Arabia’s young crown lives happily ever after with an aging Chinese dictator. Both hate democratic governments that speak out about their country’s human rights situation. Tyrannical brotherhood is a tragic motif of our time, from Moscow to Tehran, from Beijing to Riyadh.
December 11, 2022 Israeli Business News, published by Globes – en.globes.co.il –
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.