There are some pretty strange ideas floating around that Russia is obligated to help Syria/Iran in their decades-long squabbles with Israel, and that Putin is “betraying his people” by not doing so.
Well, last time I checked, Putin is President of Russians, not Syrians/Iranians. Indeed, the term “сирийские братушки” (“Syrian brothers”) has long been an ironic meme on Runet to denote the absurdity of such appeals. I don’t even disagree with the assertion that Putin betrayed his people. It’s just that it happened in 2014, not on any of the dozen occasions when he failed to wage a nuclear war with Israel to indulge some Westerners’ peculiar ideological fantasies about Russia as the antipode to the Zionist menace.
In any case, Putin never even reacted to the outright American murders of Russian mercenaries in Syria, so it would if anything be absurd – not to mention supremely insulting (to Russians) – if he was to do more for Iranian ones.
Alexander Mercouris spelled out why Russia has no rational incentives to take a side in Arab/Israeli squabbles back in 2017:
It is not just that the Western media can be relied up never to criticise any action Israel takes however wrong or outrageous it might be. The dismal truth is that none of the world’s major governments do so either. Not only does the US invariably support Israel whatever it does and however outrageous its actions might be, but the days when Israeli actions would come in for strong criticism from the governments of Russia and China are long gone.
The Russians and the Chinese have their hardheaded practical reasons for this change of stance. Since the Arabs are incapable of taking a united stand against Israel, there is little sense in them doing so. Besides the Russians were badly burnt during the period from roughly 1967 to 1985, when they took a strong stand against Israel only to be blamed by the Arabs for their own failures, and when they found that Arab Jihadis were far keener to fight them in Afghanistan than to fight the Israelis. Needless to say after that experience the Russians have no intention of sticking their necks out for the Arabs again.
And more recently:
When following the 1967 Six Days War the Russians did commit themselves wholeheartedly to one side in the Arab-Israeli conflict – backing the Arabs diplomatically, arming the Arabs intensively, sending a strong military force to defend Egypt in 1970 from Israeli air attacks, and breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel – the result for Moscow was a catastrophe.
The USSR’s large Jewish community became alienated, the USSR found that by making an enemy of Israel it had further poisoned its relations with the Western powers at precisely the time when it was seeking detente with them, and the USSR quickly discovered that its Arab ‘allies’ in whom it had invested so much were both ungrateful and treacherous, so that by 1980 the USSR’s entire position in the Middle East had completely collapsed.
The final straw came after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, when volunteers from across the Arab world rushed to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, in a way that they had never shown the slightest indication of wanting to do against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.
Not surprisingly, the Russians have therefore since the mid-1980s been determined never to become directly involved in any part of the Arab-Israel conflict again.
Thus whilst Russia maintains good relations with the Arab states, and whilst Russia continues to voice support for the Palestinians, Russia has always striven to maintain good relations with Israel as well, and has forged significant economic links with Israel.
One additional point I would make it is that many of these fervent opponents of the AngloZionists were also some of the most active at propagating the meme about how intervening in the Ukraine in 2014 was an AngloZionist trap to draw Russia into WW3 and praising the 666D chess brilliance of the Minsk Accords, while shouting down its critics as hysterical panickers, if not outright sixth columnists.
So sorry to break it to them that Russia is not going to fight a war with Israel, or even cut economic ties, for the sake of the desert training arena. Actually not very sorry at all. The rise in oil prices is to be looked forwards to.