According to Axios, Israeli national security advisor Meir Ben-Shabat arrived in Washington on Tuesday for talks at the White House with John Bolton, his American counterpart. The two of them ratified the U.S.-Israeli framework document on countering Iran agreed upon by the two countries last December, even before Bolton entered his role as national security advisor (though he was influencing the U.S. president long before his appointment).
The document reportedly seeks joint coordination to counter Iran’s missile program and its network of proxy forces in the Middle East. However, the first major change required in the document is to update it so that it shows the U.S. has already nixed the Iranian nuclear accord last month. The two countries allegedly want to be on the same page ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meetings next week in Germany, France, and England. Netanyahu’s visits will also focus entirely on Iran, even though the aforementioned countries are all committed to remaining within the Iranian nuclear deal’s framework.
Interestingly enough, reports are also emerging that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met his Russian counterpart on Thursday to discuss an alleged arrangement to keep Iran and its proxies away from Israel’s border with Syria. Israel is more or less convinced at this stage that Russia will be willing to assist, pulling Iranian troops at least 15 miles off the border between Syria and Israel.
According to a report from the International Crisis Group published in February:
“Israel, no longer content to remain a bystander as Damascus’s position improves, is now jockeying to reverse the deterioration of its strategic posture. In this endeavour it has formidable obstacles to overcome: the regime is more dependent than ever on Iran, which Israel regards as its most implacable state foe; other enemies, particularly Hizbollah and Iran-backed Shiite militias, are entrenched in Syria with Russia’s blessing; and the U.S., notwithstanding the Trump administration’s strident rhetoric, has done little to reverse Iran’s gains.
The report continues:
“Yet Israel’s hand is not so weak. Russia has given it room to act against Iran-linked military interests and appears to be more interested in balancing contending fighting coalitions than returning every last piece of territory to the Assad regime’s control.”
In light of the above, sources also reportedly said Bolton and Ben-Shabat will discuss joint military cooperation in countering Iran’s presence in Syria. If Russia is truly prepared to assist Israel, as Israeli media has insisted, in its bid to rid the Israel-Syria border of Iranian influence, it could present a unique opportunity to get a taste of the war that Bolton has been craving for years.