Inside the Putin-Netanyahu-Trump deal on Syria

Under the deal, Israel (and now the United States, presumably) will formally endorse the Assad regime’s control over the area and work to implement the 1974 agreement, which sets the physical borders and provides for U.N. observers to be deployed in between the Syrians and Israelis. Under the new deal, Russia agrees to keep Iranian troops and proxy groups 80 kilometers, or about 50 miles, from Israel’s border (if they can), and Putin promises not to object if Israel strikes Iranian assets in southern Syria, especially if Iran deploys weapons that threaten Israel, such as strategic missiles or anti-aircraft systems.

Of course, there’s broad skepticism about Russia’s ability to force Iran to do anything in Syria. “We have assessed that it is unlikely that Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement or counter Iran decisions and influence [in Syria],” Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum.

But overall, it’s a deal that Israel can live with and that establishes a framework for Israeli relations with its powerful new neighbor – Russia. You can’t blame the Israelis for being realistic about the fact that Russia, not the United States, is the power they have to work with most in the Middle East now.

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