Hailed as an early diplomatic achievement for President Trump, he announced a ceasefire in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month. This is likely to stop ISIS and other Islamic radicals from overthrowing Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. However, the state of Israel lobbied against the agreement, fearing that it would embolden their Iranian enemies.
According to a Haaretz report, Israel, the United States and Russia were involved in secret deliberations before the ceasefire was finalized last month. During those deliberations, Israel lobbied aggressively against the agreement citing that it would strengthen the Iranian regime. Israel’s primary foreign policy goal is to weaken their Iranian enemies, even if it means empowering ISIS and other extremists in the region.
Trump and Putin considered the advice from the Israelis, but ultimately chose to move forward with the ceasefire agreement anyway. “Israel is aware of Iran’s expansionist goals in Syria,” a statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. Netanyahu publicly expressed his dismay with the agreement on July 16.
In spite of the discord, Russian and U.S. officials have not forgotten about the concerns of the Israelis and will be taking them into concern as the ceasefire is effectuated. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assured the Israelis that their security concerns would be taken into consideration while U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed that removing Iranian military forces from Syria was a necessary precondition for America agreeing to the ceasefire.
“The direct presence of Iranian military forces inside of Syria, they must leave and go home, whether those are Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces or whether those are paid militias, foreign fighters, that Iran has brought into Syria in this battle,” Tillerson said at a State Department press conference last week.
Although it is clear both Russia and the U.S. are allied very closely with the Israelis, it is obvious that neither country will be taking orders from them when it comes to foreign policy.