TEL AVIV – Russia is preparing a contingency plan to prompt Hezbollah and possibly the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into a direct military conflict with Israel, according to a French official who has been apprised of the situation.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the contingency was meant to be used as a card against the West, particularly the U.S. and European Union, which has been engaged in efforts to isolate Moscow.
This past week, the U.S. and E.U. adapted tighter sanctions on the Russian economy, including restrictions on investments in the Crimea, with emphasis on Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration and tourism.
The official said there is information Russia in recent weeks successfully shipped to Hezbollah a large convoy of Iskandar ballistic missiles and surface-to-air missiles. The missiles were received, despite Israel’s alleged airstrikes in Syria targeting Russian-shipped weapons earlier this month, the official said.
The official said Russia has not made any decision about agitating a Hezbollah attack on Israel, but views a possible conflict in the Mideast as a card it can play in its confrontation with the West, particularly in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem traveled to Russia to meet with the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.
WND reported at the time that according to a source in Assad’s regime, Putin and Lavrov assured Moualem that Russia “won’t stand for” any Western attack on Assad and that the Russians pledged “support” and “protection” to the Assad regime.
That pledge came amid pressure from Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the Obama administration to expand the fight against ISIS in Syria to also target Assad’s forces.