Continued Israeli airstrikes on Syria are testing Moscow’s patience, Jerusalem would do well not to poke the Russian bear | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Continued Israeli airstrikes on Syria are testing Moscow’s patience, Jerusalem would do well not to poke the Russian bear

How Russia responds to Israel's attacks on Iranian targets inside Syria could make all the difference as to whether the region boils over into full-scale war or continues to simmer at its current, already dangerous, level.

In an official statement last week, the special envoy of the president of Russia to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, indicated that Moscow was rapidly losing patience with Israel over airstrikes against alleged Iranian targets on Syria soil. “Sooner or later, the cup of patience, including the Syrian government, may be overflowing, and a retaliatory strike will follow, which will accordingly lead to a new round of tension. These attacks must be stopped, they are counterproductive. We hope that the Israeli side will hear our concerns, including concerns about the possible escalation of violence in Syria.”

The language, though diplomatic, leaves little room for misinterpretation. By using the term “including” about the Syrian government losing patience, Lavrentiev left no doubt that the other “inclusive” party was Russia. This linkage carries over into the not-so-veiled threat of a “retaliatory strike” and “possible escalation of violence.” In short, Lavrentiev’s warning was as blunt a threat against Israel that could be made short of stating the obvious – if Israel continues to bomb Syria, Russia will have no choice but to shoot down their planes.

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