(Jerusalem, Israel) — As 2019 begins, I will be writing a series of columns on leaders, countries and global trend lines to keep a close eye upon.
Chief among them: Russian President Vladmir Putin’s diplomatic and military activity in recent months. Putin is steadily building strategic alliances with Israel’s worst enemies, from the leaders of Iran who long to create a nuclear-armed Persian empire to President Recep Erdogan of Turkey who sees himself as a modern day sultan longing to create a new Ottoman empire.
- On November 24, 2017, Putin, Iranian President Rouhani and Erdogan held a summit together in Sochi, Russia.
- On April 4, 2018, the three met for a summit in Ankara, Turkey.
- On September 7, 2018, the three met for a summit in Tehran, Iran.
- On December 28, 2018, it was reported that the Russian, Iranian and Turkish leaders would hold their next summit in Moscow in early 2019.
This would be cause for concern enough if the U.S. superpower was playing a robust and proactive role in the Epicenter. But it is all the more concerning with President Trump’s recent decision to remove all U.S. forces from Syria in recent months and his statement yesterday that Iran “can do what they want there (in Syria), frankly,”
It’s still more concerning when you look at the other countries in the Middle East and North Africa that the Kremlin is selling arms to and building alliances with.
I will provide more analysis on this soon. For now, take a look at these recent headlines and you’ll get a sense of what Putin is up to.
- Iran, Turkey, Russia threaten Israel in Eastern Mediterranean (Jerusalem Post)
- An emerging Russia-Turkey-Iran alliance could reshape the Middle East (FPIF)
- Syria faces brittle future, dominated by Russia and Iran (New York Times)
- Three things the Tehran summit exposed about Russia, Turkey, Iran alliance (Al-Monitor)
- Russia to hold Mediterranean drills as Syria tensions rise (Times of Israel)
- Russia Has a Plan for Libya—Another Qaddafi; Vladimir Putin is working to fill voids left around the world as Donald Trump puts America first. (Bloomberg
- Czar Vladimir? Putin Acolytes Want to Bring Back the Monarchy — Pro-Kremlin activists want to restore Russian traditions—and hope for a longer reign for Mr. Putin (Wall Street Journal)
Russia’s game in Libya (Pravda)
- Russia set up two military bases and sent troops on ground in east Libya (Libyan Express)
- Algeria has bought half of the Russian weapons sold in Africa (Middle East Monitor)
- What is behind Sudan’s ‘rapprochement’ with Russia? Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir paid a visit to Russia in a desperate attempt to stay in power. (Al-Jazeera)
- Russia and Sudan look to develop military cooperation (Middle East Monitor)
For some, this may sound like a political thriller of mine — The Ezekiel Option or The Kremlin Conspiracy. But what makes it chilling is that these headlines are all too real. Stay tuned.
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