Thursday, August 17, 2006

Primakov on Lebanon

Moscow's true intentions regarding the Middle East conflict and Russia's role in it can be gleaned quite clearly from this RFE/RL Newsline report on recent remarks by Yevgeny Primakov:

RUSSIAN EXPERT SAYS ISRAEL WAS READY TO BOMB SYRIA AND IRAN

Middle East expert and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was quoted by "Izvestia" on August 17 as saying that Israel prepared its recent incursion into Lebanon "for a very long time...to bring about the collapse of Lebanon...and a possible civil war." He argued that the Israelis hoped that other elements in Lebanese society would then rally against Hizballah and destroy its power. Primakov believes that Israel was prepared to bomb Syria and Iran if they became involved in the conflict. He said that Israel did not succeed in its objectives, however, and must now return to the negotiating table, where Russia will play a key role. Primakov believes that there is little danger of a major confrontation emerging in the immediate future in the Middle East because the United States has no interest in one in the run-up to the November mid-term elections. He added that he hopes that Washington has "drawn the conclusion" from the latest crisis that it was unwise "to export democracy and revolution around the world. The Trotskyites have already shown that this is a hopeless task." Primakov recently said the United States would not mind seeing Syria and Iran dragged into the Lebanese conflict (see "RFE/RL Newsline," July 31, 2006). PM
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