Mistaking Cause and Effect in Syria

Russia's President Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister Netanyahu during Mr. Netanyahu's visit to China, surely a diplomatic oddity.  (Chinese Premier Li Kegiang answers the hotline in Beijing and says, "Oh, sure.  Hey, Bibi, it's for you.")  President Obama called him there as well, making Netanyahu appear to be the most important man in the world at the moment.  Both conversations were reportedly about Syria and what appears to have been Israel's demonstration of the utility of red lines and the inutility of Syria's Russian air defenses. At least one report says Putin told Israel in no uncertain terms that Russia would not let Israel, the U.S., Turkey or anyone else overthrow Assad.  Another press report suggests that Putin told Netanyahu that the (presumed) Israeli strike would result in the sale to Syria of an SS-300 missile battery -- something Syria has long sought and Russia has previously denied Assad.  This upgrade, analysts said, "would make...(Read Full Article)

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