Putin And Iranian Military Leader Have Secret Deal That Raises Big Red Flags
by Jack Davis, Western Journalism Russia’s increased military presence in Syria is the result of a partnership between the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and Russian President Vladimir Putin and reflects a strategy to carve up the Middle East to their liking, according to American and Israeli media reports. Russian escalation alone resulted in two calls of concern in the past week from Secretary of State John Kerry to his Russian counterpart, Fox News reported. “The Russians are no longer advising, but co-leading the war in Syria,” one intelligence official told Fox News, which reported that Russia’s escalation came on the heels of a late July meeting between Putin and Quds head Qassem Soleimani. The Quds Force is the international arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. It has been linked to terrorist activity in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Increased Russian and Iranian military involvement in Syria was part of “Russian-Iranian cooperation as a result of a meeting between Soleimani with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Ynet news reported Friday, which quoted a senior Israeli security official discussing the arrival in Syria of both Iranian and Russian forces. Russia is building a powerful force, Fox reported, including Special Forces and elite Airborne Corps units. Transport plans and ships have delivered aviation, intelligence and communications facilities to support the buildup. Media reports paint the partnership as part of a strategy that protects Russian and Iranian interests. “It seems that Russia is determined to protect its interests in Syria and is preparing for all possible scenarios in that arena,” said an analysis released on Thursday by Zvi Magen and Sarah Fainberg, researchers at the Institute for National Security Studies, a think tank based in Israel. “These include defense of the Assad regime, even if it is forced to retreat to the coastline; promotion of a compromise that would end the fighting; and, if possible, recruitment of broad regional support for these moves, also for the sake of containing the threat the Islamic State poses to Russia.” “Moscow’s ‘master plan’ is to ensure the survival of the Syrian regime, and its recent decision to step up military support to Damascus should not have come as a surprise,” Nikolay Kozhanov, a fellow at Chatham House, a U.K.-based think tank, wrote Thursday. He noted that Russia supports containing ISIS. “In August 2014, (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov called ISIS ‘the primary threat’ to Russia in the region.” Russia’s interests align with Iran in this case, Fox reported. Iran’s fear, according to the Fox report, is to prevent ISIS from moving on into Lebanon and “posing a threat to Iran’s proxy Hezbollah.” ” Iran … wants Syria to serve as its buffer zone between ISIS and Hezbollah,” Fox reported.