If Putin is able to persuade Saudi King Salman to accept Assad’s return to the Arab League summit — and calm the animus between Iran and Saudi Arabia — the Russian leader's reputation in the Arab world will soar.
Last night Damascus was hit by two explosions. One, a suicide bombing at an officers' club, killed at least ten. The other happened at the Mezzeh airport. Damascus blames Israel. But, for disturbing reasons revealed by this Israeli intelligence report from DEBKAfile, Israel is an unlikely candidate. Who then? And why?
While the US and the West have focused recent attention on condemning Israel, Russia's President Putin has been a busy boy. He has announced a peace process that might stop, if not resolve, the civil war in Syria. Elevating Russia's standing in the Middle East, it is a process in which the US and the West are excluded.
Israeli analysts look at the fall of Aleppo and conclude that America "has no real say in the next chapter of [Syria's] horrific war." Instead, the US Democratic party is using Syrian bloodshed to delegitimize the President-elect. One purpose? To prevent a resolution in Syria that would trump Obama's failure.
What is Putin's assessment of the US accusation that Russia is tampering in its presidential election and, in retaliation, its cyber, economic and military threats aimed at Moscow? According to Putin, it is an attempt to distract voters. As for sanctions, the US and its allies can "screw themselves."