During the recent Israeli general election campaign, Donald Trump brazenly tipped the scales in favor of incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu against challenger Benny Gantz. On the eve of the Israeli prime minister’s March 25 visit to Washington, the US president endorsed Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights in violation of United Nations resolutions. Netanyahu hailed this as “a miracle.” Then, Trump topped this dramatic move by declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp of Iran, a sworn enemy of Israel, a terrorist organization a day before the 9 April polling date.
In between, Russian President Vladimir Putin provided Netanyahu with an electoral gift that captured the public’s imagination. Following his 4 April meeting with Putin in Moscow, Netanyahu announced that the remains of Sergeant Zachary Baumel, missing in action in Syria since 1982, had been returned to Israel. In a country where conscription applies to all Jewish citizens with a few minor exemptions, the news had personal resonance for nearly 80 percent of the population.
Trump’s announcement on the IRGC caused concern in the Kremlin. Since September 2015, the Russian military in Syria has coordinated activities with its Syrian counterpart, which has become increasingly dependent on the logistical, technical and training support of the IRGC.
Putin has managed to maintain cordial relations with arch-enemies Iran and Israel simultaneously by depending on different sets of pillars. As for Israel, the treatment of Jews in contemporary and historical Russia is a major element. Equally significant are Putin’s personal views on Judaism and friendly relations with leading Jewish business people and officials. In the case of Iran, geopolitical and economic interests are primary factors. As littoral states of the inland Caspian Sea, Russia and Iran share fluvial borders. Endowed with huge oil and natural gas deposits, they have a common interest in assuring robust prices for these commodities.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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