The consultations of national security advisors of Russia, the USA and Israel, Nikolai Patrushev, John Bolton and Meir Ben-Shabbat, that took place in Jerusalem on June 24-25 will to large extent define the agenda of the upcoming talks of the Russian and US presidents on the Middle East in Osaka late this month. It can be said for sure that Donald Trump refused the last moment to take aggressive actions against Iran fearing to disrupt his meeting with Vladimir Putin… Results of the negotiations of Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev with his counterparts also prove this conclusion.
The American and Israeli sides quite predictably paid the main attention at the meeting to the "withdrawal of all foreign troops from Syria." The main topic was Iran, which John Bolton labeled as a source of international terrorism, evil and corruption. Naturally, Washington accuses Tehran of all mortal sins and threatens to use disproportionate power if the Persians let themselves to attack American military objects one more time. Bolton said that Iran and all other states should withdraw their troops from Syria after the hostilities end there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the final press conference on Israel's part. He mainly repeated the American slamming of the Iranian leadership and again confirmed Israel's right to defend against armed provocations and to take any measure to establish durable peace in Syria and to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Benjamin Netanyahu favors the withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria but at the same time he highlighted that Russia's military presence there doesn't limit the interests and doesn't threaten Israel's security. Although frankly speaking it is hard to believe now that it was thanks to the Russian military presence that the Israelis were forced to stop missions of their military aviation in the skies over Syria and deliver missile strikes on Iranian facilities on the Syrian territory even more prudently and accurately. Moreover, the combat capacity of the Syrian air defense has grown several times thanks to Russia's assistance.
It was expected that Russia's position on Syria and Iran wouldn't change: the political process there should be preceded by the complete defeat of armed Muslim terrorist and extremist units and other irreconcilable opposition. Moscow will use all means it has to ensure the victory of the Syrian governmental army and its allies.
As for Iran, Russia didn't back down believing that the Iranian military was present in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government and on the basis of bilateral agreements. Iran made a hefty contribution to the destruction of the Islamic State (ISIL, a terrorist organization banned in Russia) and has continued destroying illegal opposition armed units in Syria.
Nikolai Patrushev voiced profound doubts of Iran's involvement in attacks on civilian vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and pointed at the fact that the American unmanned reconnaissance vehicle was downed by Iranian air defense means over its waters.
He also warned the USA and Israel that it was unacceptable to take any force actions against Israel, as it would inevitably lead to a new regional armed conflict with unpredictable consequences. The Iranian military presence in Syria is Damascus's domestic affairs, and this issue can be resolved after the end of the war only there, Nikolai Patrushev stressed.
The consultations revealed the positions of the sides on a number of regional problems and are characterized by serious differences that will be discussed at the Russian-American negotiations in Japan on June 28-29. The very fact of the Jerusalem meeting proves the USA's interest in making a step towards normalizing relations with Russia and engaging it into the settlement of acute regional problems in order to avoid the further escalation of the situation. Results of the consultations will become recommendations for the Russian and US leaders at the summit.
As it had been expected before, the parties didn’t sign any document and ruled out a possibility of establishing trilateral consultative bodies. All issue will be resolved in Osaka.