Opposition lawmakers that sit on Israel’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee are demanding answers regarding a Russian letter outlining a quid pro quo deal for the removal of Iranian troops from Syria in return for sanctions relief on the Islamic Republic. The Russian missive reportedly was delivered in September to Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, with a view to enhancing relations between Moscow, Washington and Jerusalem through a “grand bargain” on Iran and Syria.
Notably, the proposal was made prior to a sharp deterioration in Israel-Russia ties due to the downing that same month by Syrian soldiers of a Russian reconnaissance plane, an incident the Kremlin nevertheless blamed on the Israeli military which minutes earlier had conducted a nearby aerial assault targeting an Iranian weapons depot.
Accordingly, it is unknown whether the Russian offer was kept on the table or retracted amid resulting tensions.
“Israel has constantly asked Russia to apply pressure on the Iranians to end their military operations in Syria, and for the Kremlin to comply it needed something in return,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, previously head of the Israel Defense Forces‘ Strategic Planning Division, conveyed to The Media Line.“Israel has constantly asked Russia to apply pressure on the Iranians to end their military operations in Syria, and for the Kremlin to comply it needed something in return,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, previously head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Strategic Planning Division, conveyed to The Media Line.
Source: The Jerusalem Post
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