Like the setup for a volleyball slam, Putin launched an easy serve with greetings for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Netanyahu returned the volley by comparing today's would-be Persian empire to yesterday's enemy of biblical lore, Haman. With a smile on his face, that's when Putin spiked the ball. That happened "in the 5th century BC," he said. "We now live in a different world."
Unwilling to wait for Trump to deal with his political enemies, Moscow has scoffed and quickly moved to re-align with Iran in Syria. As a result, Tehran's military presence is solidifying across Israel's northern borders, both in Syria and, via its Hezbollah proxy, in Lebanon.
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.
Apparently, the US is reasserting its presence in the Middle East - in partnership with Russia. The move effectively coronates Putin as the superpower sovereign of the Middle East. Putin, in turn, and for now, is shutting down Iran and its proxies in Syria.
Three days ago, while Abbas was on his way to Rome and world leaders were making their way to Paris, the Secretary-General of the PA was in Russia. While there, he confirmed that Abbas is "ready" for face-to-face negotiations — in Moscow. Russia's government-owned news agency, TASS, reports.