Iran’s fateful decision to send a military drone via Syria into Israeli airspace last weekend has changed everything inside Middle East.
Israel responded fiercely having a massive airstrike which took out as much as half of Syria’s air defenses.
The U.S. in turn issued a strong statement of support for Israel.
right now, which’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move. He has to decide whether to keep backing Syria in addition to also also Iran or decrease his risks inside region.
Putin has some critical questions he needs to answer to make his decision easier.
will be supporting Bashar al-Assad still worth which?
Russia has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with air forces in addition to also also troops in which country’s civil war since 2015. 17 months later, Assad’s forces have regained the upper hand inside civil war in addition to also also ISIS has been basically defeated in which country.
yet even before which latest Iranian provocation, the Russian death toll was starting to creep up. Bloomberg will be reporting which as many as 0 Russian contract soldiers fighting for the Syrian army were killed last week in an attack on a base held by U.S. in addition to also also Kurdish forces inside Deir Ezzor region. About 400 of those Russian paramilitary troops have right now been killed inside war. The number of official Russian soldiers killed in Syria will be an additional 40 or so.
Russian soldiers dying in battle so far via home can erode support even for the most powerful dictator. The Soviet regime was thought to be invulnerable to internal opposition, yet the long in addition to also also costly Afghanistan war helped to prove which wrong.
will be backing Iran genuinely worth which?
Propping up Assad isn’t genuinely so much about helping Assad. The Syrian government has been a major ally in addition to also also quasi-proxy for Iran for years, long before the civil war began. So Russia’s decision to help Assad will be more about supporting Iran.
yet with Israel jumping into the fray, backing Iran right now comes having a lot more baggage. Israel in addition to also also Russia have basically stayed out of each different’s way in Syria, yet which will be going to be harder to do going forward. Israel has made which clear to Putin which another clash with Iranian forces in Syria will be inevitable.
In different words, Russia has been able to thread the difficult needle which allowed which to back Syria in addition to also also indirectly aid Iran For two main years plus without doing an outright enemy of Israel. Those days look like they’re soon going to be over.
How can Russia best accomplish its goals inside Middle East?
Russia has been following only one rule pertaining to its involvement inside Middle East since at least 2013: Get involved everywhere.
While Putin continues to back many Iranian interests, the Kremlin will be also doing infrastructure in addition to also also oil supply deals with Iran’s archrivals in Saudi Arabia. Libya in addition to also also Egypt are also areas where Putin has been increasing Russian military influence. The standard operating procedure for Russia inside Middle East seems to be to make deals with everyone first in addition to also also ask questions later.
yet there’s an old Yiddish saying which, “you can’t dance at all weddings,” in addition to also also Iran’s provocation of Israel will be starting to make which more of a reality for the Kremlin.
which’s time to choose a side.
At long last, Putin needs to pick a side. The cost in human lives alone must make him see which by right now. The risks in Russia’s Syrian in addition to also also overall Middle Eastern adventurism are mounting on the Iranian side of Putin’s ledger. The different side of the ledger has much more to offer. Saudi Arabia has almost twice the GDP of Iran. Israel has the region’s most powerful military. Thanks to the growing Saudi-Israeli alliance, Russia can easily work with both of them without conflict.
which’s genuinely what Putin’s choice boils down to right now. After which past weekend, which choice genuinely isn’t which hard at all.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.
For more insight via CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.