Russia to Iran: know your place

This is interesting:

Russia is working to move Iranian forces and their proxies 100 km. from the Syrian border with Israel, a senior diplomatic official said Monday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov.

The Israeli official said Jerusalem’s goal is to remove Iran from all of Syria, and if Moscow wants to deal in the first phase with the buffer zone, then that is fine, “but that does not satisfy us even in the first phase, because they [Iran] have weapons [in Syria] that go beyond that range.”

It’s interesting because Russia appears to be in a position to agree with Israel how close to their border Iranian proxy forces go. There were no Iranians in the meeting; presumably they were waiting outside the door to get their instructions from Lavrov once he emerged.

As it happens, Israel rejected the offer:

“We will not allow the Iranians to establish themselves even 100 kilometers from the border,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Israel’s air force will not cease its operations to protect Israeli citizens as long as Iranian forces possess the capability to fire long-range missiles at Israeli targets,” the senior official said. Location in Syria does not matter, because long-range weapons are positioned well outside the 100-kilometer zone.

“Iran wants to turn Syria into a second Lebanon,” he noted. “And we’re determined to prevent that,” rather than wait until Iran has hundreds and thousands of missiles in Syria.

I’ve said before that Russia could have a positive role in keeping the peace between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria, and their latest offer seems to support that theory. Relations between Russia and Iran have always been rocky, based more on common enemies and a need to buy and sell weaponry than mutual friendship. If we assume Russia wants to be top dog in Syria once Assad regains control of the place, they need to send a clear message to the Iranians to fall into line. Furthermore, there was this:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chastised Iran on Monday for calling for Israel’s destruction during a panel discussion in Moscow where Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was sitting with him on the dais.

“We have stated many times that we won’t accept the statements that Israel, as a Zionist state, should be destroyed and wiped off the map. I believe this is an absolutely wrong way to advance one’s own interests,” Lavrov said in Moscow at the Valdai International Discussion Club conference entitled “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.”

I expect this brought considerable comfort to Israeli ears, probably more so than anything said by Barack Obama over his two terms. Despite the rhetoric emerging from Iran’s leadership, they have very few friends right now and can’t afford to fall out with Russia. Russia knows this, which is why they’re ordering them around. I don’t see this as a bad thing.

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17 thoughts on “Russia to Iran: know your place

  1. I am in the process of buying some specialized equipment from a Russian individual in Russia. My lawyer and I had a chuckle that one of the terms of his proposed agreement was that it can be amended at any time by the Russian Federation.

    Dont fuck with the Feds then, is how we read that, and yes we are accepting the term.

  2. I am in the process of buying some specialized equipment from a Russian individual in Russia.

    Russians are great, warm, hospitable, loyal, friendly people.

    Except when it comes to business, money, and commerce: then they’ll kill you stone-dead soon as look at you. The same people, too.

    I exaggerate, but not by much.

  3. Yes I am as always wary as a matter of course in business dealings and was surprised that the seller identified himself as an individual intrepreneur (sic) “Индивидуальный предприниматель” in the agreement. Our guys have been there seen him and the gear, we really need it to get out of a bind in the Mideast, the price is very good and we will not have time to set up escrow accounts or letters of credits to pay him. I have went back to him to reduce the first milestone payment down to 5% of the total price, its a euro payment into a German bank account, I have pointed out to the board that I consider this first payment to be at risk!

    We have a German middle man that will facilitate the deal and when I said that unsecured deposits wouldn’t work for us he replied that “I knew the chaps father since 20 years and he is chief designer Moscow sewerage! But pure commercially seen you are right.”

    If he defaults we can always take it up with “При невозможности урегулирования споров путем переговоров споры передаются на разрешение в Арбитражный суд г. Москвы” the Arbitration Court of Moscow”, what do you reckon our chances would be as an Aussie company the buyer of getting a positive ruling out of them?

    If it comes of and I obviously think it will we well may be onto a very long term mutually beneficial relationship as he has a lot more of what we need.

  4. I wish you all the best! They’re not all gangsters when it comes to business, and indeed I knew some gangsters who were pretty reliable business partners, but it’s best to assume they are!

  5. Thanks mate, it will all happen quickly either way and I will let you know how it goes, it’s either a very good deal with a new business partner or a very expensive flagon of chilled Novichok!

  6. Back OT and couldn’t see anywhere in your links where Russia agreed or contemplated Iranians not being within 100km of Israeli borders, not forgetting that Damascus is only 45 miles from the Golan Heights as the crow flies.

    http://tjpeiffer.com/crowflies.html

  7. Back OT and couldn’t see anywhere in your links where Russia agreed or contemplated Iranians not being within 100km of Israeli borders

    First link, and the part I quoted.

  8. This claim was made by an unnamed senior Israeli diplomat and not by a Russian?

  9. This claim was made by an unnamed senior Israeli diplomat and not by a Russian?

    I’m going to assume the Israeli diplomat was speaking a broad truth and not telling barefaced lies about his Russian counterparts.

  10. Personally speaking I wouldn’t hang my hat on what an unnamed Israeli diplomat claimed that Russians has said about Iranians in Syria unless an actual Russian with authority confirmed it.

    This is the only statement by a Russian official that I can find on this issue, maybe there is a Russian update but I haven’t seen it.

    “Laborious diplomatic efforts undertaken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent years and months to convince Moscow to expel Iranian proxies from the precarious border on the Golan Heights were rebuffed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who claimed that the Kremlin had never committed to fully removing the forces, nor had it signaled willingness to comply with Israeli demands that Iranian proxies or military bases be expunged for the country.”

    I can understand the Israeli wishes here, but I don’t know if they will get any purchase as Trump to his credit wants to bury the hatchet and get out of Syria and the fact that he is tweeting up the rhetoric on Iran gives me some kind of comfort that Iran won’t be a flashpoint either.

    The US has also recently confirmed that is does not expect Russia to influence Iran in Syria.

    “We have assessed that it’s unlikely Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement and counter Iranian decisions and influence” in Syria, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum.

  11. Iran is remarkably bad at making allies. They couldn’t even get s Shia 5th column going in Iraq in Saddam’s time.
    The flip side is that they will be impervious to wise advice. I can see them launching a missile strike against KSA and dancing in the streets… for about 5 minutes.

  12. Russia has managed to keep a lid on its ‘stans’ lately but Iran sometime down the line will always see an opportunity for grief so the Russians are wise to throw their weight around.

  13. @Bardon,

    make sure the industrial equipment was looted from Donbas fairly recently. If it was looted from Abkhasia, it is probably pretty rusty by now, although they will put a nice fresh coat of paint on it.

    As for Арбитражный суд г. Москвы – not to worry: your espionage case will be outside its jurisdiction anyway.

  14. Proof of ownership is step 1 in our DD, the gear is beaten up and we are buying it “as-is” although I have had a tortuous couple of days delay with the Soviet negotiating technique and haven’t yet done the deal. Donbas wouldn’t be developed enough to have this type of equipment, Kiev maybe.

  15. So it’s on like Donkey Kong!

    Dear Bardon,

    Thank you for the signed contract!

    We are all in the process of proof-reading and minor/technical correcting the contract. Once finished (I hope 1 – 2 hours) I ll send the corrected and signed version to you!

    Thanks for the opportunity as well! I really believe the business will be good for both sides.

    And I really hope the machines will get a second life and will be used for good! These machines were more than just assets for me – they were a big part of my life for a number of years (Mr Fritz knows), I hope they serve you a good service as well.

    Thanks for the resultive effort to have the deal closed this week! Have a good weekend!

    Best,

    Vladimir

    On 27 Jul 2018, at 11:22, Bardon wrote:

    Good morning Vladimir,

    Please find attached the signed sales agreement. Apologies for not adding the translation at this stage, my staff are in different offices and it is Friday evening in Australia. If there are any minor translation type issues I can re-sign again if you require.

    Thank you for the opportunity and we look forward to doing business with you.

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