08 July 2012

The mysterious Putin's visit to Israel and powers of self-deception

The above mentioned visit didn't leave me indifferent. Indeed, caught in a traffic jam in Jerusalem's center for about an hour because of said visit, I was really sizzling. The visit, which details weren't really published anywhere, didn't leave the press indifferent as well, and the lengthy analysis of the reasons of the visit, its goals, the closed door discussions with various VIPs and the (unpublished) results, could fill a good-sized book.

The search for the real reason(s), coupled with this peculiar Western notion of the unfathomable Russian soul, caused some remarkable results. I've collected several links and related quotes, which will be presented here in no special order.

A long series of diplomatic failures in regard to the “Arab Spring” by the Obama administration, and a conspicuous lack of a visit to Israel since Obama’s inauguration, have placed Israel in an increasingly tenuous and isolated position as America’s influence wanes in the region. It is a strategic vacuum that Putin would like to fill.
They [Israel] will ask the Russians to back the unilateral sanctions imposed by President Obama and the European Union, and also to send a strong message to Iran that the world is very serious about these talks. I think Prime Minister Netanyahu will also tell President Putin to tell the Iranians that the military option is very credible.
The focus of the Netanyahu - Putin talks is expected to be on Iran and Syria, where the two countries have wide differences of opinion.
The main reason for the visit, officials here said, was the inauguration of a national monument in the coastal city of Netanya honoring Soviet Red Army soldiers who died during World War II and their role in the victory over Nazi Germany....Mr. Netanyahu said he was sure that Mr. Putin’s visit would further improve ties in agriculture, science, technology and space, among other fields.
President Putin’s visit was clearly calculated to be the mirror image of Obama’s last visit to the region. In a similar manner, while Obama chose to talk to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his first overseas telephone call as president, Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on the phone immediately after Putin's return to the presidency in May.What’s more, not only did Putin begin his tour of the Middle East in Israel, he also made a point in visiting holy Christian and Jewish sites, while entirely skipping the Muslim shrines.
Corruption in Russia today is frightening," more malignant than ever in Russian history, Kedmi writes. "Nothing endangers Russia's future more than corruption." Putin visited Israel this week; it seemed he felt at home.
Indeed, it would seem that Putin probably has genuine affection for a country which includes so many of his former citizens. No doubt without admitting it, he probably also recognizes that like Israel, Russia faces threats from Islamic fundamentalists and has strained relations with Turkey.
Putin's visit is intended to make the United States nervous and to try to lay the groundwork for shifts in Israel's relation to Russia that could pay off in the long run.
While the first item on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s agenda for his Israel visit Monday is the unveiling in Netanya of a monument for the Red Army, there are plainly more dramatic reasons for Putin’s two-day trip to the Middle East.

Among them, will he warn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to attack Iran, or is he coordinating with Jerusalem about a possible preemptive strike? And is he going to justify his continued support for the Syrian regime, which keeps on killing its own people?
The official spokesman of the Islamic Movement — a group that advocates Islam among Israel’s Arab citizens — issued harsh criticism against Putin, saying that the “Russian bear, who licks the blood of our relatives in Syria” had adopted a stance that “sucks up to the Israeli institution at any cost.”
So what does Putin get out of all this? A boost in the one thing he wants more than anything else: prestige.
And I cannot pass over this excellent expose of the secret talks between Bibi and Vovochka. Oh, and don't miss this comment!

Yeah, well, you have at least browsed through all of the above if you came to this point. You probably, realize that Occam's razor is a mortal enemy of many commentators and analysts. Many of them will be left without an income if they (and we too) had to follow its main principle: "to select from among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect".

I am not saying that there isn't a grain of truth in the notions quoted above, just that these grains, taken all together, hardly scratch the surface of the mysterious visit. So now you deserve something better. In short - forget all that, here comes the real skinny:

Gazprom to set up Israeli unit
"Oil and Gas Eurasia" quotes Israeli officials as saying that Russian gas giant Gazprom JSC (RTS: GAZP; LSE: GAZD; DAX: GAZ) plans to set up an Israeli subsidiary that will help develop the country's offshore natural gas reserves, especially Leviathan. The remarks were made following the meeting between Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

The sources said that Gazprom's Israeli subsidiary will focus on drilling as well as gas transmission from the country's offshore fields, the sources said. Gazprom has already expressed an interest in exporting LNG from Israel. All future international tenders issued by Israel in the gas sector would be open to Gazprom and other Russian companies.
For some reason this tidbit was overlooked by most of the above mentioned researchers of the Russian soul... More on the meaning of this agreement and of Israeli newly discovered energy reserves here.

As for Putin: here is a picture that characterizes the man best:

The man will not move his manicured finger for all and any of the reasons quoted from all the different analysts.  When he says something like "Russia has a national interest in assuring peace and tranquility for Israel," I really start to be wary.

The smell of profit, however, will wake him up anytime.

So there.

Hat tip: Dick Stanley, aka Texas Scribbler.


Dick Stanley said...

Then there's the quote somebody (I forget who) had that Putin is supposed to have said after donning a kippah and visiting the Kotel: "I prayed for the restoration of the Temple."

Eeeyah! No wonder he didn't ascend to the Dome on the Mount. Now you may say (have said) that if the quote is accurate he probably lied. But why would old Pooty Poot say any such thing in the first place?

Unless all that gas and shale oil has turned his head.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

You know, the Russian Black Hundreds or whatever they call themselves today, already said that Putin is a Jew (in ruder terms, of course).

So maybe this explains everything ;-)