Russian President Vladimir Putin today told Israeli leaders not to launch a preemptive military strike against Iran. The question is whether Putin “cautioned” Israel or “warned” Israel not to use force. Publicly, the conversation is being described as Putin urging Israel not to act “prematurely.” But I’m curious to know if behind the scenes Putin is privately issuing a much stronger warning that Israel must not harm Russia’s closest ally in the Middle East or suffer consequences. We’ll have to watch carefully as the trip unfolds. “Putin expressed his reservations over the prospect of a military strike in Iran, urging Israel Monday to learn from negative US experience in Afghanistan and Iraq,” reports Ynet News. “Putin’s comments were made in a meeting with Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, after Israel’s president asked the visiting leader to speak out on the Iran issue. ‘Look at what happened to the Americans in Afghanistan and in Iraq. I told Obama the same thing,’ the visiting president said in a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, cautioning against hasty military action. ‘There is no need to do things too quickly; one should not act without thinking first….Iraq has a pro-Iranian regime after everything that has happened there. These things should be thought out ahead of time before doing something one will regret later….One should not act prematurely.'”

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