If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is thinking of striking a deal with Russia regarding the future of Syria, he'd better think again, cautioned a senior US senator.
As Netanyahu was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted, "To our friends in Israel — be very careful making agreements with Russia re Syria that affect U.S. interests. I don’t trust Russia to police Iran or anyone else in Syria. U.S. must maintain presence in Syria to ensure ISIS doesn’t come back and to counter Russia/Iran influence."
To our friends in Israel – be very careful making agreements with Russia re Syria that affect U.S. interests.
I don’t trust Russia to police Iran or anyone else in Syria. U.S. must maintain presence in Syria to ensure ISIS doesn’t come back and to counter Russia/Iran influence.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 11, 2018
Netanyahu reportedly insisted in his first sit-down with Putin that Iranian forces in Syria be evacuated following the country's civil war. Putin replied that such a demand was unrealistic, leading some to fear that Netanyahu would agree to some kind of arrangement under which Russia promised to keep said Iranian forces in check, while allowing them to remain deployed within striking distance of Israel.
Graham seemed to concur with Putin's assessment that the Iranians can't be easily removed at this point, and instead wants to see a strong US military presence in Syria, too.
That position is shared by most US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, many of whom are now concerned that when President Donald Trump meets with Putin early next week, he might make some kind of deal that leaves Syria in the hands of the Russians, and their Iranian allies.
In Israel, this is all being viewed as a recipe for war.