The Talking Dog

April 30, 2005, Pooty, Arik Getting Along...

Our visit to Pravda gives us this explanation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision not to sell Syria a class of Russian made missiles (during a visit to Israel), though Russia is planning on selling a shorter range, fixed air defense system to Syria (though the Russians have evidently fully disclosed the specifications to Israel, including noting that the system proposed cannot be used as shoulder fired missiles).

Although I understand this is the first visit by a Russian leader to Israel, Russia's relations with Israel (when compared, say, to the Soviet era) are "pretty good". For one, Israel has something like around a million ethnic Russians in its population these days, many of whom still have friends and/or kin back in mother Russia. For another, Russia just wants to be a player, and it jealously guards its role in 'the quartet" (the US, UN, EU and Russia) to try to broker a Mid-East peace settlement.

Supposedly, the US of A threatened sanctions against Russia if it sold certain systems to "terrrorist sponsoring" Syria (notwithstanding the Administration taking full credit for Syria's decision to leave Lebanon, or at least, have its overt military presence there come to an end). Russia notes that it is not that big a player in Mid-East arms sales (a possible growth market!)

A world where the Russian President visits Israel is topsy turvy enough, I guess... everything else that follows can't be all that surprising...