I’m convinced the horror in Israel is another front in Russia’s operations - Patrick Mercer

Launched by Tehran, fought in Gaza, but designed in Moscow: I’m convinced that the horror we’re seeing in Israel is just another front in Russia’s political and military operations against the USA. Convoluted? Conspiracy theory? Well conjure with this.

Ukraine, until earlier this week, is only the latest in a series of campaigns that Russia is waging in a number of different theatres and now Israel has been added. This is not a direct attempt to humble that country, but it’s another drain, another distraction for America as Moscow tries to jolt the world away from a US dominated balance of power to a new axis where Russia and her allies will prevail and the sun will set on the West.

Now, I’ve written before about the likelihood of Russia pushing hard against the US and her allies in Syria as an adjunct to their assaults in the Ukraine - and Kiev has even mooted a plan to send troops there to tie down more of Moscow’s forces: strategically, both theatres are part of the same conflict. Meanwhile, Russia has been busy in Azerbaijan and Armenia, Serbia and Kosovo, in West Africa and now Israel has joined the list.

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Now, key to every move that Hamas and its confederates make against Israel is the Islamic Republic of Iran - it's clear that she is Russia’s willing accomplice.

People attending a vigil outside Downing Street, central London, for victims and hostages of Hamas attacks. PIC: Lucy North/PA WirePeople attending a vigil outside Downing Street, central London, for victims and hostages of Hamas attacks. PIC: Lucy North/PA Wire
People attending a vigil outside Downing Street, central London, for victims and hostages of Hamas attacks. PIC: Lucy North/PA Wire

Remember the rash of meetings between Moscow and Tehran, the countless Iranian drones which have been used by Russia to deadly effect against Mr Zelensky’s troops and the fact that Iran is a sworn enemy of both Israel and the West? Then consider that Ismail Haniya, one of Hamas’s most significant figures, has made several visits to the Kremlin and there have been delegations from Islamic Jihad and Lebanese Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s men even fought shoulder to shoulder with Russia troops in Syria whilst all these people and ground are very familiar to President Putin.

Meanwhile, Iran is profiting and becoming bolder as a result of US ambivalence - or is it appeasement? Despite a continuing nuclear ‘research’ programme against which Israel warned continually, on President Biden’s orders sanctions were relaxed and $6bn worth of assets were released with which Tehran could do as it wished.

And all this was done, of course, as the Iranian Shahed 136 drones continued to deliver their lethal loads against the trenches and vehicles of America’s allies in Ukraine. It has to be wondered just how tenuous President Biden’s grasp of realpolitik has become.

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More tangibly, up until last January, the US had amassed huge stocks of artillery ammunition in Israel against the day when those rounds could be needed in a sudden outburst of violence in which the Pentagon might get involved. But then it was decided that Ukraine needed the shells more urgently - yet Tel Aviv’s need couldn’t now be greater. On top of this, the US has just deployed a carrier battle group to the eastern Mediterranean.

Heaven forfend, but if marines were landed to intervene, they would be grievously short of fire support. Then, looking further afield, Poland - which is at the very heart of the Ukraine conflict - has just promised a tranche of ammunition to Israel which, I have no doubt, was bound for Kiev’s embattled troops.

To take the theory a little further, just as Ukraine’s summer thrusts on the southern and eastern shoulders of the battle line came to an abrupt halt in the face of appalling casualties and stuttering logistics, Moscow’s troops turned to the offensive and began to gain ground.

Now, you won’t hear much about this in the Western media, but it’s a fact and makes total, tactical sense and should have been expected. What’s strange, though, is the Russian counter attack seemed to happen at exactly the same time as Hamas’s Iranian backed assault on Israel. It’s almost as if they were coordinated.

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And now look in the media for any mention of Ukraine. The whole ‘Special Military Operation’ has been subsumed by what’s happening in Israel at the very time when Congress’s finances are in chaos and what money is available is being called for in the Middle East. No, just when Kiev needs every cent it can get to hold the line over the winter, just when Western interest seems to be flagging, there’s a new show in town.

This litany of events can’t all be coincidence, can it?

But there’s another wrinkle. Straight from the Russian bloggers comes the observation that Hamas and the other terrorists are armed with weapons of NATO origin. Here’s a clear allegation that Western funded armaments received by Ukraine have been sold by them to the very people who are now attacking Israel.

Kiev and others have been very quick to repudiate these stories, turning the blame back on the Americans by suggesting that the NATO weapons in Hamas’s hands came from Afghanistan, dumped there in August last year when the US and its allies so disgracefully scuttled out.

Patrick Mercer is a former MP for Newark and Army colonel.