Last week and back-to-back, Netanyahu and Erdogan made day trips to the Russian capital for personal meetings with Vladimir Putin. Polite to both, he also dismissed the worries that brought his guests to Moscow. Why?
Like the setup for a volleyball slam, Putin launched an easy serve with greetings for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Netanyahu returned the volley by comparing today's would-be Persian empire to yesterday's enemy of biblical lore, Haman. With a smile on his face, that's when Putin spiked the ball. That happened "in the 5th century BC," he said. "We now live in a different world."
In two days, Netanyahu is making a day-trip to Moscow. Unaccompanied by the press corps, his biggest concerns center on Syria. Specifically...
In the middle of political attacks vis-a-vis Russia, US President Donald Trump has made his first military move in Syria. Two days before Netanyahu goes to Moscow, it is a direct challenge to Russian expansion in its Middle East stronghold.
Unwilling to wait for Trump to deal with his political enemies, Moscow has scoffed and quickly moved to re-align with Iran in Syria. As a result, Tehran's military presence is solidifying across Israel's northern borders, both in Syria and, via its Hezbollah proxy, in Lebanon.