With Turkey invading Syria to battle the Kurdish minority—making an already volatile Syrian civil war even more complicated and dangerous—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the situation in Syria with both the United States and Russia in a span of four days. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Netanyahu to congratulate him on reaching his 70th birthday, and during the call they also discussed “the situation in Syria and developments in the region,” according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office. The call comes one day before Putin was scheduled to talk with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Russian Presidency Twitter feed.
The discussions on Syria with Moscow follow a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem last Friday. According to a press release from the US State Department, Pompeo and Netanyahu discussed “regional security and the announcement of an immediate ceasefire in northeast Syria” between Turkey and Kurdish forces. CNN has since reported there have been numerous alleged ceasefire violations by both sides. Meanwhile, Syria wasn’t the only regional hotspot discussed by Pompeo and Netanyahu—Iran was another.
“We talked about all the efforts we’ve made to push back against the threat not only to Israel, but to the region and the world, from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Pompeo to Netanyahu per a separate State Department press release, “and we shared our ideas about how we can ensure Middle East stability together and how we would further our efforts to jointly combat all of the challenges that the world confronts here in the Middle East, and we appreciate all that you and your country does to assist America in keeping its people safe as well.”
For his part, Netanyahu acknowledged not only the crises in the region, but also the role the US-Israeli partnership has to play.
“We’ve had important discussions about strengthening our alliance, the region, the various challenges that we face together, and I want to thank you and the President for your consistent support for Israel,” said Netanyahu, per the State Department press release.
“The Middle East is a sea of troubles and turbulence, but if there’s one thing that stands out, it’s the durability, stability, and strength of the American-Israel alliance. We talked about making it even stronger. And I want to thank you for your consistent support.”
With Syria a powder keg of instability, Iran causing havoc and Islamic terrorists a constant threat, Israel is a key partner for the US.
“The remarkable close relationship between our two countries is as strong as it has ever been,” said Pompeo. “…We had a chance to talk this morning about all the challenges that the world faces and that Israel and the United States face head on together. As an important beacon of hope and democracy here in the Middle East, the American people value this relationship.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 21, 2019)