The Russian Navy’s Plans for the Middle East

Sept. 22 2022

On July 31, Vladimir Putin officially adopted a new maritime strategy in the form of a 55-page document made available to the public. The new doctrine is more aggressive than its 2015 predecessor, writes Daniel Rakov, and also gives considerably more attention to the Middle East:

Moscow wants to enhance its ties with Syria, where it has a naval base that ensures a permanent Russian military presence in the Mediterranean. Russia is planning to establish more techno-logistical outposts in the region. Russia has a political role in ensuring Middle Eastern regional stability.

Moreover, Moscow is eager to increase its collaboration with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Russia intends to keep a naval presence in the Persian Gulf “based on techno-logistical outposts in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and to use the infrastructure of the countries of the region for Russian naval military activity.” Russian warships rarely visit the Gulf these days, and Russia lacks permanent bases in the area. It has been unable to persuade the Sudanese government to agree to the long-term lease of a portion of Port Sudan.

In developing its long-term strategy, Israel must consider Russia’s objectives to expand its military footprint and political activities in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

The extensive references to the Middle East in the doctrine are unparalleled in Russian national-security documents, [closing] the gap between the region’s fundamental importance to Moscow and its absence from policy texts over the previous ten years. [The document] regards the eastern Mediterranean (and thus the Middle East) as an “important area” and is willing to use force to safeguard its interests there.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israeli Security, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Russia

 

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank