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When it comes to war on ISIS, Israel must take Putin’s side

Op-ed: Russia predicted the Islamic State’s formation a long time ago and is right to expect to West to team up to defeat this top strategic threat; Turkey, meanwhile, is dragging NATO to defend Turkish interests rather than shared interests.

Giora Eiland

The recent tensions between Russia and Turkey reminded me of two meetings I held years ago, one with a Russian and the other with a Turk, which can provide an additional angle on the two countries’ conduct.

About 11 years ago, the head of a Russian research institute arrived in Israel. In his meeting with me as head of the National Security Council and other Israeli officials, he claimed that the biggest danger to world peace was the existence of ISIS. True, the name “ISIS” was not mentioned, but the phenomenon represented by ISIS was predicted in amazing accuracy.

The man spoke about the creation of an Islamic caliphate in crumbling Iraq, which would try to take over the Middle East and send its arms northward through the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union towards Russia. Simultaneously, it would also take advantage of the West’s weakness and turn to Europe. That man’s conclusion was that both Russia and the Western countries and Israel have a shared enemy and a shared supreme interest to defeat it.


When I met with more official Russian elements, they repeated a similar claim, criticizing the United States’ “foolish war” in Iraq and describing it as the factor which accelerated this pattern.


About a year earlier, I met with a high-ranking Turkish official – the Israel-Turkey relationship was excellent at the time – who spoke openheartedly about the Turkish national perception. “We understand that we will not be able to regain the lands controlled by the Ottoman Empire unti


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