Putin to Israel: Beware 'not that smart' wars, like ones in Iraq, Afghanistan
'To do something without knowing the final consequence isn't that smart,' Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week, citing US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was in Israel, warning leaders there of risks of a military strike against Iran.
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“Look at what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. To do something without knowing the final consequence isn’t that smart,” Mr. Putin said this week during an official visit to Israel.
Standing next to Israeli President Shimon Peres at the presidential palace, Putin then added a message for the West, which Russia views as practically itching to intervene in Syria as it did in Libya last year: “On the Syria issue, we need to think hard whether the opposition that could take power would be what the West wants it to be, or something completely opposite.”
Putin has been in Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories this week proclaiming through energetic statements largely devoid of traditional diplomatic niceties what he has not flat-out announced: Russia is back in the Middle East, and intends to be a major player there.
The unspoken subtext is that Russia intends to reassert its leadership role in a region where it sees American leadership no longer as dominant as it once was.
Russia and Israel have conflicting viewpoints on numerous issues, ranging from Iran and Russian arms sales to Iran and Syria, to Georgia and Russia’s conflict with the former Soviet republic. Russia tends to take the Palestinians’ side in international talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Putin, in talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during this trip, revived the idea of a big Moscow conference to jumpstart peace negotiations – something for which Israel has no enthusiasm.