The Russian forces are ostensibly tasked with rebuilding bridges destroyed by Israel during the recent hostilities with Hezbollah.
But they will be protected by commando platoons from two battalions led by Muslim officers — one of whom has been identified by a Russian news service as a “former rebel commander” in Chechnya — and they include a number of other former Chechen rebels.
Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick sees the move as part of Russia’s increasingly anti-Israel policy, and has ominous forebodings about Russian plans in the Middle East.
“The Russian bear has awakened after 15 years of hibernation,” she writes. “The clouds of the coming war are converging upon Israel. But our political and military leaders refuse to look up at the darkening sky.”
Glick cited a new report exposing Russia’s intelligence support for Hezbollah during its war with Israel.
According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, a Russian listening post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights gave Hezbollah a continuous supply of intelligence — and that intelligence caused significant damage to Israeli operations, according to Glick.
“It appears that Russia’s support for Hezbollah may well have been as significant as Syria’s support for the terror organization,” she writes. “And now we have Chechens in Lebanon.”
Glick says recent bellicose speeches by Syrian President Bashar Assad indicate that Damascus feels Russia will support Syria if it goes to war against Israel.
The columnist also points to Russia’s continuing support for Iran’s nuclear weapons program, highlighted by statements from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a recent visit to Tehran, that Russia opposes all international sanctions against Iran.
Glick concludes: “Any objective observer of the developments in our region understands that the storm of war is rapidly approaching us. With Moscow’s blessing, the Palestinians, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran are steadfastly preparing for battle.”