Relations between Israel and Russia are on a knife edge. Events in the Middle East are moving at a very fast pace. With the downing of a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane on September 17th, it would seem that Russia, sensing an opportunity, is trying to both reset relations with Israel as well as redraw the operational limits of their own involvement in Syria and the Middle Eastern theatre. They are doing this whilst at the same time drastically curtailing Israel’s ability to act against her ever-more-entrenched regional enemies in Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
Events began on September 17th with an Israeli Defense Force attack on a Syrian military facility located in Latakia. It was believed by Israel to be housing a lethal, high precision weapons systems bound for use by Hezbollah in Lebanon, something that has always been a very clear red line for the Jewish State.
After the successful airstrikes, the Israeli F-16 warplanes were engaged by Syrian air defenses. As a direct consequence of Syria’s wide-ranging and highly imprecise anti-air fire, a Russian IL-20 military plane with 15 Russian servicemen on board was shot down over the Mediterranean. All Russian servicemen died. This has created a firestorm for Israel, one which has the potential to severely impede her operational capabilities, not only in Syria but also in her ability to successfully defend her own homeland… more