Russia’s ambassador to Syria this week issued what some saw as a veiled threat should Israel continue bombing Iranian assets in the war-torn country.
On February 6, an aerial attack on a target near Damascus killed 20 Syrian and Iranian military officials. It also caused Syrian air defenses to inadvertently fire on an airplane carrying 172 passengers. The plane managed to safely land at a nearby airport.
Israel Defense Minister Naftali Bennett later hinted that the attack was just another in a long series of Israeli strikes against Iranian assets that are admittedly in Syria for the purpose of threatening the Jewish state.
But Russian Ambassador Alexander Yefimov wasn’t interested in Israeli justifications.
In an interview with Sputnik Arabic, Yefimov called the Israeli raids “provocative and very dangerous.” He further cautioned that “this increases the possibility of conflict over Syria.”
Since Syria is already in conflict, his warning was taken to mean that the ongoing Israeli raids could eventually result in an armed clash between the Jewish state and Russian forces in the region.
Israeli political and military officials have never been shy about referencing the biblical “War of Gog and Magog.” It’s something they believe is going to happen.
However, given the warm relations between Jerusalem and Moscow in recent years, many found it hard to believe the traditional interpretation that this great Gentile army would include Russia.
But, Ambassador Yefimov is not wrong about the stage being set for the kind of incident, intentional or not, that could suddenly turn friends into foes.
Israel is aware of this risk, but apparently deems the threat of Iranian hegemony to be greater than the possibility of accidentally sparking an apocalyptic showdown with Russia.