Israel’s Expanding Relationship with Vietnam

In March, following a few years of improving ties, the Israeli president Reuven Rivlin made an official visit to Vietnam. Alvite Ningthoujam writes:

Israel’s Vietnam policy resembles the overtures it made during the 1950s and early 1960s toward the sub-Saharan countries, with which it shared technical expertise in agriculture and healthcare. . . . A similar [approach] is now being followed with Vietnam. Israeli-Vietnamese relations are expanding in the fields of agriculture, commerce, science, and technology, and—most importantly—in the defense sphere.

Israel and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in July 1993, and their economic relationship is relatively healthy. Bilateral trade volume touched $1.3 billion last year, and the countries aspire to take it to an annual $2 billion. . . . Israel and Vietnam are [also] engaged in joint ventures in the production of weapons systems suitable to the needs of the Vietnamese armed forces. Israel’s entry into this defense market is timely, as Hanoi is undergoing modernization programs for all three military services. . . . These steps have likely been taken by the Vietnamese government in response to the Chinese military build-up in the South China Sea. . . .

[During his visit], Rivlin pushed not only for the existing cooperation to continue but also for Vietnam’s political support, especially in multilateral forums like the UN. If good relations are to last, this element—in addition to economic and military cooperation—will be very necessary.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Reuven Rivlin, Vietnam

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine