Moscow backs Hizballah ahead of Netanyahu visit, eyes Lebanon’s gas

The Russians have switched their focus to Lebanon and are hailing Hizballah as a “force for stability and security” ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow on Feb. 21 for talks with President Vladimir Putin. Russian diplomacy and media are for the first time coming out with high praise for Hizballah, giving Netanyahu to understand that Putin has no interest in hearing about the Shiite terrorist movement’s misdeeds or Israel’s operations against its tunnels.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, Russian Ambassador to Beirut Alexander Zasypkin said in an interview with Sputnik that a new conflict could erupt between Israel and Lebanon “as a result of the United States’ actions aimed at sowing discord in the region, as well as Washington’s campaign against Tehran and the Lebanese Hizballah movement.”

When events started unfolding in Syria, Hizballah “sided with the lawful authorities in the fight against terrorists as its duty, ” he said. “Hizballah became directly involved in military operation at Syria’s request, alongside Russia and Iran and took a responsible approach.”

Turning to Washington, the Russian ambassador said, “Instead of trying to deal with tensions in the region together with Russia and other countries, the United States has launched a campaign against Iran and Hizballah, making the situation in the region even more volatile.”

Zasypkin went on to say: “As for a conflict between Israel and Lebanon, nothing can be predicted with certainty because the region is at a crossroads.”

Moscow’s compliments for Hizballah as a “positive and responsible” force in Syria and the region, may come as a surprise to many Israelis given some of the stories appearing in local media in the past month. DEBKAfile’s military sources offer three striking examples:

  1. The S-300 air defense missiles Russia delivered to Syria last October were wrongly reported as having become operational. Our sources stressed that the missiles are not operational.
  2. Iran was misreported as having completed and started production at a factory for manufacturing precise ballistic missiles in northern Syria. This story was shown with depictions of large chambers filled with machinery and it was presented to support an purported Israeli threat to strike the plant unless it is dismantled. DEBKAfile: In reality, the factory was built, but its halls stand empty and no precise ballistic missiles are as yet being produced.
  3. Tehran was said to have acceded to a Russian demand to evacuate from Damascus international airport the “Glass House” – by which Iran’s headquarters are known – to ward off Israeli attacks. DEBKAfile: There is no sign of the Iranians moving out of this building.

The Kremlin appears to believe that these unfounded stories were planted by the Americans and Israelis to drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran/Beirut and decided to nip this campaign in the bud ahead of Netanyahu’s arrival in Moscow.

DEBKAfile accounts for Moscow’s changed attitude towards Hizballah on two grounds:

  • Next Thursday, Feb. 14, Presidents Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Tayyip Erdogan meet at the Black Sea resort of Sochi for a thorough airing of the Syrian issue. This time, unlike previous summits, Putin realizes that his Iranian and Turkish guests will expect to hear him lay out a clear, substantive policy for the next chapter of Russian involvement in Syria. A decision to recognize Hizballah’s regional standing and forge ties with the pro-Iranian Lebanese group is one of its main ingredients.
  • Rosneft, the Russian energy giant, has planted a foot in Lebanon’s gas and oil industry, having recently signed a 20-year accord for the management of the oil and gas facilities in the northern town of Tripoli. Moscow may well swing its support behind Hizballah’s claim that Israel’s Leviathan gas field has commandeered some of the offshore Mediterranean gas that it says belongs to Lebanon. A dispute over control of this energy resource, with Beirut backed by Moscow, could become the pretext for an outbreak of hostilities, rather than the causes outlined by the Russian ambassador.
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23 thoughts on “Moscow backs Hizballah ahead of Netanyahu visit, eyes Lebanon’s gas

  • Feb 9, 2019 @ 18:44 at 18:44

    Russia is a small economy that hurts its citizens by not allowing them a subsistence, spends a lot in the military and makes wars around (see the aggression of Crimea). Putin comes from KGB, would not it be time to delete him? After having broken the bales with 70 years of communism, how long have the Russians and we have to endure the dictator Putin?

    • Feb 9, 2019 @ 19:37 at 19:37

      For a total of 10 good comments like this one you may grab a decoration “For Merit” Electronic Warfare Troops and a framed picture of Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, the most effective NKVD commander. Keep up the good work!

    • Feb 13, 2019 @ 18:54 at 18:54

      no let’s delete you instead

  • Feb 9, 2019 @ 19:44 at 19:44

    20 million Iranians fed up and want to get rid of their regime. But what is going to dislodge it? Normally it ha to be something pretty big.

    • Feb 10, 2019 @ 4:07 at 4:07


      Wishful thinking among the antisemitic islam-haters that there’s a huge “Bring back the Shah” contingent in Persia!

      “Hooray for the MEK” ain’t gonna fly, either.

      The squatter colony of europeans is going to have to come to terms with Iran’s superiority to their outpost, or they’re gonna self-immolate their whole racist project by writing checks it can’t cash.

  • Feb 9, 2019 @ 21:06 at 21:06

    We gonna need American support to confront the axis of evil, iran syria lebanon and the white pigs.

    • Feb 10, 2019 @ 0:13 at 0:13

      But Ez 38 says that the US will not come to Israel’s aid and unless the nation turns to JHWH she will get wiped out.

      • Feb 10, 2019 @ 3:53 at 3:53

        as an expert, i hope you plan to run for a seat in the knesset. under which party list?

  • Feb 9, 2019 @ 23:20 at 23:20

    The pure and true reality validated by our Russian experts in the field is: there are no Iranians in Damascus. Moreover, there are no more Iranians in Iran itself, and suddenly it is very much clear that there is no reason for the American sanctions on Iran.

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 0:29 at 0:29

    Instead of Netanyahu you should send some cleric to talk to Putin to show how interested you are in his opinion. A poor country that can hardly feed its population is trying to be big in the international arena… So sad.

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 6:51 at 6:51

    Unfortunately the atheist Russians backing Nazi Iran, The Hezoballah Nazi saluting battalions, and the Syrian Sunni Ethnic genocide killers are about to experience what Pharoah of Egypt experienced if they dare to continue to attack G-Ds Holy Nation of Israel that is charged with bringing G-ds light and goodness into the world as opposed to the murderers of the Russian Bear, and their Iranian Nazi lovers! If these Nations dont change and beg Israel and The remnants of what is left of Israel for forgiveness The G-D of Israel and People.of Israel will execute full judgement against the Russian, Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, and Hizballah Axis of Evil! Hopefully Turkey will stand down and hand over Erdogan the Hitler lookalike may both their names be erased and then G-d willing we will only have to eliminate that pig and do the Turkish a favor. Unfortunately for Russia and Iran they have chosen evil and will suffer the price! Russian soldiers should go home while they have the chance. They have still be good people.if they repent for their crimes.and turned back! Whoever attacks Israel will be afforded an honorable burial though it would be better for them to back out now so they can be with their children and families! Those who rise against Israel are cursed!

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 7:05 at 7:05

    problem is no reportage can be believed any more, any where. you can only believe what you see.

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 12:27 at 12:27

    Debka just figured out that all along Putin was after the riches of the natural gas in the Med? Was there ever any other reason for the Russian army and navy to be in the area?

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 15:44 at 15:44

    Praising a terrorist organization is a step further into madness. Russia is moving in a wrong direction and soon or later Russia’s ties with Iranian fanatics will turn out to be a big problem for them. F.e.:
    1. Shia fanatics will escalate the conflict with Sunnis.
    2. Shia fanatics will escalate the conflict with Israel.
    Russia is in delusion if they believe they can create stability in the ME with Iran. Quite the opposite, Iran is an aggressor and aggravates everything.

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 16:46 at 16:46

    The Soviet have long laid their foot in the Orient

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 16:49 at 16:49

    Well, perhaps. Russia has foolishly decided to eschew diversity and concentrate on developing two main industries: oil and gas plus advanced weapons systems. Russia is now the number
    two producer of weapons in the world after the US. Russia’s problem is that the price of oil has been often around $50 per barrel in recent years but many of its fields have difficulty covering their cost of $80 per barrel. This is what happens if a country does not diversify, it has all its eggs in only two baskets.

    The accession of the new US President has not made the glut of oil products on the world market any better for Russia. The US is now self-sufficient in oil which has kept the world price down, while in Russia there are municipalities that can no longer balance their books and the Russian population is being forced to do the usual for the state ever since 1917, in other words carry all the cost of such a great centralisation of power – which means poverty, and paradoxically produces patriotism also because the state by and large controls the media.

    But by getting into wars in the Middle East, Russia has increased its opportunities to sell its advanced weapons. However that is a double-edged sword. The more allies Russia makes the more they are likely to buy Russian weapons systems and pay Russia, improving Russia’s trade balance. At the same time getting into wars carries several kinds of risks, such as the risk of alienating other countries that are enemies of Russia’s weapons customers, and the risks involved in the proliferation of conflict that puts demands of engagement by Russia that over-stretch its military.

    What Russia would like to have is a stable bloc of countries stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Med (i.e. Lebanon and Syria to Iran or further afield) that are in alliance with Russia and that buy Russian weapons. It would be good PR for Russia if its weapons were shown to be the decisive factor in winning a war against US forces in some battle, but achieving that sales boost carries obvious risks.

    Richard above mentioned Ez 38, which is where this is all headed. If you read it carefully in English, every word on every line (and read Ez 39 as well) you will identify the motive of the attacker. Then ask an economist what would happen now that the Saudi oil is running out and an attacker gets control of the Egyptian and Israeli oil and gas reserves.

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 16:56 at 16:56

    What is Ez 38?

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 18:55 at 18:55

    Ez 38 refers to the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 38.

  • Feb 10, 2019 @ 21:11 at 21:11

    Palestine will graciously divide the Levithan Field with Lebanon, once the One State transition transpires

    • Feb 10, 2019 @ 21:14 at 21:14

      ‘graciously’ meaning ‘honestly’, or according to international norms, in this sense, as well as Palestine ‘owes’ Hezbollah big time, for help in bringing about the One State

  • Feb 11, 2019 @ 0:12 at 0:12

    USA based new energy technologies, long kept secret, would destabilize the entire World’s carbon business footprint, driving the price of oil and natural gas to such uneconomic levels that Russia, as well as all nations that depend upon same as their major source of earnings, would be bankrupt. Would the USA play this hand? Such is something Russia, with a GDP 25% smaller than the State of Texas, need be VERY worried about!

  • Feb 11, 2019 @ 22:47 at 22:47

    You should realise that you are not just playing with fire but you are incurring the wrath of God. This is the judgement of God 2600 years ago (1000 years before your prophet ever existed) against the Lebanon for her sins against Israel. The prophecy has never yet been fulfilled because it is destined for the End Times, i.e. now. The judgement is on your head.

    Ezekiel 28:6-26 NKJV.

  • Feb 14, 2019 @ 11:06 at 11:06

    Reagan those russians, as the ronald potus did after the carter disaster. Make them pay, for everything until Russian economy is down on the ground. Russia, is still badly divided, a little misery will ignite all this bad smelling vodka.

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