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Friday, October 16, 2015

It's come to this: Russia sets up hotline with Israel over Syrian operations

Russian President Vladimir Putin seems more concerned with clashes with Israel over operations in Syria than with clashes with the 98-pound weakling in Washington. Putin has set up a hotline to coordinate with Israel over Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday that its forces in Syria had set up a “hotline” with the Israeli military to avoid clashes in the sky over the war-torn country. 
“Mutual information-sharing on the actions of aircraft has been established through a hotline between the Russian aviation command center at the Hmeimim air base and a command post of the Israeli Air Force,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency, adding that the two sides were undergoing training on how to cooperate.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his army was going to increase its activity in the Syrian theater, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow to meet with him. During the September 21 meeting, Netanyahu and Putin focused on coordinating Israeli and Russian operations in Syria’s airspace.
“It could come down to Israel and Russia agreeing to limit themselves to defined areas of operation in Syria, or even that they fly at daytime and we fly at night,” a former adviser to Netanyahu told Reuters at the time.
“What’s important is Putin’s commitment not to get mixed up in arming Hezbollah, which should help Israel, if it goes in there, to keep a safe distance from the Russians. It is pretty clear that Putin is not looking for a fight with Israel,” the former adviser was quoted as saying.
Several days after that meeting, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon referred to understandings reached in the meeting between Netanyahu and Putin, saying he did not expect the Russian campaign in Syria to interfere with Israel’s “freedom to act” in Syrian airspace.
Pretty amazing that the announcement came from the Russians, who apparently felt the need to let everyone know that they won't stand in Israel's way. I guess Putin realizes that Netanyahu still has some red paint.

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