Translated by Ollie Richardson
The head of the Federation Council International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev commented on the situation in the Middle East…
What is happening along the line Iran-Syria-Israel, certainly, causes more and more concern among all the international community. Exchanges of missile attacks, mutual recriminations, and military preparations all point towards the growing possibility of a new military conflict with the participation of States that are very well armed, which means there can be many potential victims.
Israel called the missile attacks that took place on the early morning of May 10th reciprocal in connection with the shelling of the positions of the Israeli army in the Golan Heights, which Tel Aviv blames Tehran for. This happened for the first time since 1973, since the third Arab-Israeli war, and, of course, it caused an impassioned reaction in Israel. In turn, Iran threatened to retaliate against the airstrikes on military positions in Syria in April when several Iranian soldiers were killed.
Anyway, the escalation continues, and the statement of the US President D. Trump about America’s exit from the agreement on the nuclear program of Iran, of course, became a burdensome (and even provocative) step.
However, there are some circumstances that give certain hope that everything won’t go according to the worst scenario. Judging by statements, the parties are still against an escalation — although, of course, nobody wants to call themselves the aggressor and the initiator of the conflict. But the actions themselves — we are still talking exclusively about military targets for attacks. At the same time, Israel attacks objects not in Iran, but in Syria (however, thereby violating the sovereignty of this country, don’t forget). And the positions of Israel are subjected to attacks in the Golan Heights, which the world doesn’t recognise as Israeli territory. Most likely, the “red lines” for both States reside where the territories of these States actually begin and where civilians will be affected. It is possible to foretell that if these lines are crossed, then the probability of a conflict will grow many times.
As for Russia, we are absolutely categorically against the strengthening of military activity in this area and not only because our troops are now there. Any escalation would put an additional burden on the shoulders of the Syrian people (as well as everyone else in the region), will lead to new victims, and will hardly bring notable dividends to any of the sides. Only extremists (there are already media reports that militants tried to exploit the Israeli missile attacks and capture Syrian army positions near the city of Al-Ba’ath in the Golan Heights) and opponents of peace in the Middle East can win.
In this sense, Russia doesn’t act unequivocally with one of the parties to the conflict (in difference, for example, from the US). And although we now have quite constructive relations with Tehran in the realisation of the Astana format of the inter-Syrian settlement and in opposition to terrorists in Syria, nevertheless the participation of the President of Russia and Prime Minister of Israel in the “Immortal Regiment” event in Moscow on May 9th was very indicative. It is also a unique political and diplomatic position for Russia, which needs to be used as much as possible for common interests. For Russia there is no enemy in the Iranian-Israeli confrontation, for the enemy is the confrontation itself. And we, including through the parliamentary line, are ready to work with each of the parties (and we have quite good labor relations with colleagues both in Iran and in Israel) in order to reduce tensions and search for mutually acceptable decisions.
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