Just days after Vladimir Putin was named by Forbes magazine as the “world’s most powerful person,” Israel has announced Prime Minister Netanyahu will head to Moscow to meet with Putin. The meeting is set at the Kremlin for November 20th.
Russia’s alliances with Iran and Syria are likely to top the agenda. “Netanyahu and Putin last met for emergency talks at the Black Sea resort of Sochi in mid-May to discuss the situation in Syria, amid concerns that Moscow could soon provide Damascus with a cutting-edge missile defense system,” reports the Times of Israel. “At the time, Moscow’s overriding message to Netanyahu was one of restraint, urging political, rather than military, means of resolving the almost-three-year conflict. While Putin and Netanyahu acknowledged that the ongoing violence in Syria is detrimental to the entire region, the Russian president said that the only way to resolve the crisis was ‘the soonest end to armed conflict and the beginning of political settlement,’ Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.”
“Vladimir Putin has usurped President Obama as the Forbes’ Most Powerful Person in the World this year for the first time in Obama’s presidency,” reported ABC News on October 30th. “The magazine published its annual list today and noted that the Russian president had overtaken the American one in part because of Russia’s role in the Syria conflict this summer.”
“Putin has solidified his control over Russia and anyone watching the chess match over Syria has a clear idea of the shift in the power towards Putin on the global stage,” Forbes wrote. “The ex-KGB strongman–who controls a nuclear-tipped army, a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves – is allowed to serve another six-year term, which could keep him in office until 2024.”
“Putin has flaunted his power over the past year, including during heightened tensions with the U.S. over Syria when he penned an Op-Ed critical of Obama and published it in The New York Times,” ABC noted. “As Russia and the U.S. came to agreement over disarming Syria, Putin was also touting the fact that he provided refuge for Edward Snowden, the intelligence leaker sought by the U.S. for publishing National Security Agency’s secrets. As Russia prepares to host the Olympics early next year, Putin used his clout to change the official launch date of the Soyuz spacecraft so that it could take with it the Olympic torch for a spacewalk, making Russia the country that netted the torch the most miles before an Olympics.”