Posted tagged ‘Israel and Russia’

Russian monitors for Syrian Golan – not Iranians

May 11, 2017

Russian monitors for Syrian Golan – not Iranians, DEBKAfile, May 11, 2017

The issue came up during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on May 11, and a day earlier, in a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

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Moscow this week responded to Israel’s concerns about posting Iranian and Turkish officers on its borders to monitor the potential “de-escalation” zones Russia is proposing for Syria. In respect of those concerns, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that Russia agreed in high-level contacts in the last few days to replace them with Russian military officers in the Mt. Hermon region and the areas where Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian borders meet. The proposal also calls for the expansion of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which supervises the cease-fire between Israel and Syria on the Golan.

(DEBKAfile was the first publication to reveal Israel’s concerns on May 3 and May 5.)

The Russian military are preparing to establish four ceasefire safe zones in Syria. The southernmost would be located along Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan. The issue came up during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on May 11, and a day earlier, in a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, was also involved in the exchanges on the ceasefire zones between Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem during his visit to Israel this week as the guest of the Israeli chief of staff, Lieut. Gen. Gady Eisenkott. On Tuesday, May 9, Dunford said that “Israel is concerned about the possibility of having Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, such as Hizballah, so close to its border.” Both Putin and Lavrov promised that neither Iranian, pro-Iranian, nor Turkish officers would be placed in areas close to the Israeli border.

Our military sources report that during talks between Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem on Thursday, May 11, the three sides agreed to continue to discuss the Russian proposal.

Another issue raised among them was who will deal with the ISIS forces in the Yarmouk area near the Israel-Jordan and Israel-Syria borders, including the bases established by the Khaled bin al-Walid army, which has sworn allegiance to ISIS.

The coming DEBKA Weekly out Friday, May 12, also reveals positive US-Russian dialogue on more Syrian issues.  If you are not already a subscriber, click here.

Golan tension: Pro-Iran troops move on Quneitra

April 27, 2017

Golan tension: Pro-Iran troops move on Quneitra, DEBKAfile, April 27, 2017

(Please see also, Massive Explosion Reported Near Damascus International Airport Following Israeli Airstrikes. — DM)

There is no word yet on whether the warning issued by the defense minister from Moscow has produced a direct Israeli response to the provocation. Very possibly the five explosions and ball of fire they set off at Damascus international airport Thursday morning may prove to be connected to that response.

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Early Thursday, April 26, a mixed Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah force embarked on a general offensive in southern Syria ready for a leap on Israel’s Golan border. They moved forward in the face of Israeli warnings that were relayed from Moscow to Tehran and Hizballah.

This latest warning was issued by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting the Russian capital this week to attend an international security conference. After meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shogun, the Israeli minister stated clearly on Wednesday: “Israel will not allow the concentration of Iranian and Hizballah forces on its Golan border.”

By Thursday morning, it was evident that a decision had been taken in Moscow, Tehran, Damascus and Beirut to ignore Lieberman’s warning.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that early Thursday, Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, alongside Hizballah troops, organized as the Southern Shield Brigade, launched their offensive at Mt. Hermon southwest of Damascus, on their way to the Syrian-Israeli Golan border in the region of Quneitra. The Syrian contingents taking part in this push are the Syrian army’s elite 42nd Brigade and elements of the 4th Mechanized Division.

Their first objective is to capture a string of villages held by Syrian rebel groups in the region of Hadar on the Hermon slopes. They are advancing towards the Golan along the Beit Jinn route.

There is no word yet on whether the warning issued by the defense minister from Moscow has produced a direct Israeli response to the provocation. Very possibly the five explosions and ball of fire they set off at Damascus international airport Thursday morning may prove to be connected to that response.

Hizballah’s trust in Russia – strategic dilemma for Israel

March 19, 2017

Hizballah’s trust in Russia – strategic dilemma for Israel, DEBKAfile, March 18, 2017

Israel is not planning action against Russian forces in Syria, but if the Russian army, whether deliberately or unintentionally, grants Iran and Hizballaha military protection, as they counted on having at T4, Israel would not hesitate to disabuse them.

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Israel finally took a hand in the swiftly moving events looming from Syria over its northern borders by launching multiple air raids against the key northern Syrian air base known as T4 near Palmyra early Friday night March 17.

Those events are spearheaded by the pro-Iranian Hizballlah’s drive to capture the Golan in line with its war of “resistance” on the Jewish state.  This fixation came into sharp focus the day after the air strike in a rare admission by Hizballah of the loss of a commander. He was named Badee Hamiyeh and was described as having been killed “in the southern Syrian region of Quneitra near the Israeli-held Golan Heights.”  This was the first anyone had heard of any recent battle on the Golan.

A week earlier, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Hertzl Halevi showed President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin maps depicting the various military movements ongoing in Syria, with the accent on an armored convoy of several hundred Hizballah troops driving out of their Syrian stronghold of Zabadani towards Mt. Hermon. The convoy was clearing a path by overrunning some 30 Syrian rebel villages on the Hermon slopes, which command the Syrian Golan town of Quneitra and the Israeli border.

This evidence demonstrated that Hizballah had developed a single military stratagem for threatening Israel-held Hermon, ruling central Golan and gearing up for battle to restore the entire Golan area to Syrian sovereignty under Hizballah control.

Netanyahu had hoped that Putin would agree to stop the Hizballah convoy and keep his promise not to let Iran and Hizballah deploy on the Israeli border. However, the Russian leader was unresponsive. Not only were Russian commanders in Syria not instructed to restrain Hizballah, they acted to persuade Syrian rebels on the Hermon and the Golan to surrender to he Lebanese Shiite invaders.

And indeed, as the Hizballah advance continued. Its leader Hassan Nasrallah contrived an equation to justify his assault on the Golan. “They brought ISIS to the Beqaa [Hizballah’s Lebanese stronghold] and so the ‘resistance’ [Hizballah] went to Syria. They wanted this group to reach Beirut, and so, today, we are in Golan.”

Seeing Hizballah on the move unchecked and gearing up for an expeced showdown with Israel, Netanyahu and the IDF decided to take matters in their own hands. They ordered several air force strikes Friday on the relatively remote strategic T4 air base near Palmyra in northeastern Syria and hit several birds with one stone.

DEBKAfile’s military sources describe T4 as the main terminal for Iranian planes to land day by day and unload  war materials for their own forces as well as the Syrian army and Hizballah.This air base also houses Russian attack helicopters and special operations troops, whose presence there was trusted by Tehran and Nasrallah to be an effective shield against Israeli attack.

The IAF air strike Friday proved them wrong.

These developments were the subtext of the video statement by Netanyahu that was broadcast Friday night by Israeli media: “I can assure you that our resolve is firm, as attested to by our actions,” he said. “This is something that everyone should take into account, everyone!.” When he said, “everyone,” he was not just addressing Tehran and Beirut, but Moscow as well.

Israel is not planning action against Russian forces in Syria, but if the Russian army, whether deliberately or unintentionally, grants Iran and Hizballaha military protection, as they counted on having at T4, Israel would not hesitate to disabuse them.

The Kremlin got the message and, a few hours after the Israeli air strikes, Israeli Ambassador Cary Koren was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. There was no official protest, but Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov firmly informed the ambassador that Moscow would not tolerate any further Israeli attacks on Syrian bases where Russian forces were present.

In the course of the raid, Israel’s advanced anti-missile Arrow system made its first operational appearance. IDF chiefs feared that the Syrian anti-air missiles fired against the Israeli jets might fall on a populated location inside Israel and so decided it was necessary to intercept any incoming projectiles.

Israel’s military experts got into an argument, which will no doubt go on for years, over whether Arrow’s first appearance in this situation was a good or a bad move. However, the deafening bang that the IDF wonder weapon inflicted on millions of Israeli ears, within a radius of more than a 150 kilometers from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean, offered an inkling of how much worse it will be in a full-scale conflict.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards now opposite Israeli troops on 1967 ceasefire line in Golan Heights

March 12, 2017

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards now opposite Israeli troops on 1967 ceasefire line in Golan Heights, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Iranians at the gate. — DM)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated:

The threat of Shia Islamic terror is directed not only against us, but against the region and the entire world.

Perhaps Israel, more than any other nation, fully understands what “radical Islamic terrorism” is, and its primary goal of obliterating Israel.

“We do not want to see Shia Islamic terrorism led by Iran step in to replace Sunni Islamic terrorism,” Mr Netanyahu told the Russian President.

Iran continues attempts to destroy the Jewish state. They speak of this openly and write this in black and white in their newspapers.

Iran is now in a strategic position to try to destroy Israel directly (instead of through its proxies) as it expands its Shia base into Iraq and Syria.

Netanyahu could also not be clearer in his message that replacing Sunni terrorism with Shia terrorism is counterintuitive. Netanyahu is right about the global danger of mainstream Shia and Sunni terrorism, which is normalized in all too many Islamic states, not just in the Islamic State.

Netanyahu also once stated:

Islamic terrorism is inundating the world and inciting millions in many countries, from Jakarta to Africa to California.

“Iranian Revolutionary Guards opposite Israeli troops on 1967 ceasefire line in Golan Heights as tensions mount,” by Lizzie Dearden, Independent, March 10, 2017:

Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of using the Syrian civil war to “gain a foothold to fight Israel” amid fears over Iranian troops stationed along the border with the occupied Golan Heights.

Tehran is supporting Bashar al-Assad with deployments of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij militia and funding to allied militias including Hezbollah.

The IRGC are now reported to be present in Syrian-government controlled territory along the 1967 ceasefire line in the Golan Heights, which has seen months of Israeli air strikes met with rockets fired towards the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, a commander in Iran’s Basij force, was pictured surveying the border, while a Shia paramilitary group has formed a “Golan Liberation Brigade”.

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi force backed by Iran, is “ready to take action to liberate Golan” from Israeli occupation, according to spokesman quoted by Iranian state media this week.

The deployments have made the Iranian government a major power broker in the Syrian civil war, meeting with Russian and Turkish representatives at ceasefire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.

In a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Thursday, the Israeli Prime Minister said that any truce must not allow the continued presence of Iranian forces in Syria.

“We do not want to see Shia Islamic terrorism led by Iran step in to replace Sunni Islamic terrorism,” Mr Netanyahu told the Russian President.

“Iran continues attempts to destroy the Jewish state. They speak of this openly and write this in black and white in their newspapers.

“Today, we have our own country and our army, and we can defend ourselves. But I want to say that the threat of Shia Islamic terror is directed not only against us, but against the region and the entire world.”

He told reporters Iran was “arming itself and its forces against Israel including from Syria territory and is, in fact, gaining a foothold to continue the fight against Israel”.

After the meeting, the Israeli Prime Minister said the removal of Iranian forces from Syria were vital to “prevent misunderstandings”.

“I made it clear that regarding Syria, while Israel is not opposed that there should be an agreement there, we strongly oppose the possibility that Iran and its proxies will be left with a military presence in Syria under such an agreement,” Mr Netanyahu added.

A statement released by the Kremlin said he and Mr Putin discussed “joint efforts to combat international terrorism” and examined areas of bilateral cooperation.

Two years ago, Israel and Russia agreed to coordinate military actions over Syria in order to avoid accidentally trading fire but the risk of skirmishes is increasing as pro-Assad forces fight for more territory in the Golan Heights….

Recruit Russia in the fight against Iran

March 9, 2017

Recruit Russia in the fight against Iran, Israel Hayom, Ariel Bolstein, March 9, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Moscow Thursday takes place at an interesting time.

Russia, which has exhausted its military moves in Syria, is searching for a future strategy that will allow it to integrate into the world of U.S. President Donald Trump. Russia has paid a high price for its confrontation with the West. True, as a result of the United States’ geopolitical retreat under former U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian influence has grown on a few fronts, primarily in the Middle East, but this achievement is not worth much without American recognition of Russia’s new-old status as a world power. The changing of the guard in Washington provided Moscow with a unique opportunity to turn the page on its relationship with the West, but the significance of such a change would also mean concessions on its part.

It seems that Russia may meet Trump halfway on the Iranian issue. Russia did not have much in common with the country of Islamic revolution from the outset, and the collaboration between them stems more from a desire on the part of both countries to challenge the existing world order. Indications of Russia’s openness to the idea of turning its back on Iran have been noted on Russian state television. These channels are full of talk shows that focus on current events, and the variety of voices heard on them is effectively controlled by authorities. In recent weeks, these programs have raised the possibility of placing Iran on the sacrificial altar between Moscow and Washington, and this was received with understanding by a majority of participants. One must remember that Putin and as a result the Russian public are determined to witness Russia’s inclusion in the select club of world powers, but they have no interest in dragging others who also claim the crown along with them, and certainly not Iran.

From Israel’s perspective, Netanyahu is now the only statesman to enjoy the trust of and an unprecedented friendship with both the White House and the Kremlin. Israel has succeeded in preserving its interests in the tempest of upheaval in the Middle East, in large part due to the relationship Netanyahu has forged with Putin. The Russians have been forced to honor Israel’s freedom of action in the region and have come to understand full well Israel’s determination to act whenever Israeli considerations require that it do so.

In the Trump era, Israel’s stock has risen even more in the eyes of the Russians. Moscow could not help but notice the special affinity Trump has shown toward Netanyahu and the feelings of solidarity they share. Israel is clearly not operating within a vacuum — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Russia after Netanyahu, and later in the month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani will do the same — but those in the Kremlin must understand the differences in influence among these three figures.

The possible resolution in Syria and its de facto division into regions of influence underscores the need to stop the expansion and strengthening of Iran. Russia needs to understand that Hezbollah’s murderousness and lack of humanity is no different from that of the Sunni terrorists it so mercilessly bombed. There should be one law for the Islamic State, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham — formerly Nusra Front — and Hezbollah. If Russia operates according to this principle, its standing and the security of the region will vastly improve.

Trump-Putin deal on Syria bears on Israel security

January 28, 2017

Trump-Putin deal on Syria bears on Israel security, DEBKAfile, January 28, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks through binoculars during his visit in the Northern district border of Israel on August 18, 2015. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO *** Local Caption *** ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ????

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks through binoculars during his visit in the Northern district border of Israel on August 18, 2015. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

1. Will Washington and Moscow go through with the expulsion from Syria of Iranian forces and their proxies, including Hizballah – and take it all the way until it is accomplished?

2. After they are gone, who will take over the areas they evacuate?

3. Will Bashar Assad stay on as president, or has his successor been nominated?

4. The most burning question of all is the level of Hizballah’s armament. Not only must Hizballah forces be pushed out of Syria, but it is essential to strip them of their sophisticated new weaponry, including missiles. Israel’s military and security chiefs assess Hizballah’s arsenal as having been upgraded in recent weeks to a level that directly impinges on Israel’s security.

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It would be a mistake to take it for granted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks with President Donald Trump in Washington early next month will be plain sailing or produce an automatic shower of benefits for the Jewish state. It is understood in Jerusalem that a new order is unfolding close to Israel’s borders, which is not yet fully in the sights of its government, military and intelligence leaders. This process is going forward at dizzying speed in Syria, currently the central Middle East arena, where Presidents Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to cooperate.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May picked up fast on the new power equation. After standing before the media with the US President Friday, Jan. 27, and declaring hopefully, “Britain and the US can once again lead the world together,” she decided to fly straight from Washington to Ankara Saturday, before returning home.

The outcome of her first meeting with President Erdogan was one of the fastest defense collaboration pacts ever negotiated for trade and the war on terror. The British leader lost no time in getting down to brass tacks on how British military and intelligence can be integrated in the joint US-Russian-Turkish military steps for Syria. Erdogan did not exactly receive her with open arms. He did not afford his visitor the courtesy of placing a British flag in the reception room in his palace.

Israel is in much the same position. Israel stayed out of military involvement in the Syrian civil war, according to a policy led by Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Avivi Kochavi (then Direct of Military Intelligence). This policy has left Israel out of today’s decision-making loop on Syria’s future.

Towards the end of 2015, shortly after Russia embarked on its massive military intervention in the Syrian conflict, Netanyahu took steps for safeguarding Israel’s security interests by setting up a direct line with the Russian president. It was translated into a military coordination mechanism between the Russian air force command in Syria and the Israeli air force, with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s Chief of General Staff, and Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, Israel’s Deputy Chief of Staff, in charge of this direct military link.

Any problems that could not be solved at the military level were promptly turned over to be addressed at meetings or in phone calls between Netanyahu and Putin.

In one example, the prime minister obtained an undertaking from the Russian president to keep Iranian forces and Iran’s Shiite surrogates, including the Lebanese Hizballah, away from the Syrian-Israeli border, or allow them to use borderlands to send terrorists into Israel.

Shortly after Trump’s election victory (Nov. 8, 2016), the spadework on his collaboration with Putin was quietly begun by their national security advisers, Michael Flynn, in New York and Nikiolai Platonovich Patrushev in Moscow.

Jerusalem knew what was going on, but was taken aback by the speed at which those close understandings ripened into US-Russian deals on the ground. Before Trump had finished his first week in the White House, US warplanes had escorted a Russian air strike against ISIS in Syria.

This rush of events injects further urgency into Netanyahu forthcoming talks with the US president.  Whereas in the second term of the Obama presidency, the Israeli leader was wont to travel to Moscow or Sochi to sort out security problems relating to Syria, henceforth he must directly engage Donald Trump as the lead player.

So when the Israeli premier travels to the White House next month, he will have to address four pressing concerns, all relating to the fast-moving Syrian scene:

1. Will Washington and Moscow go through with the expulsion from Syria of Iranian forces and their proxies, including Hizballah – and take it all the way until it is accomplished?

2. After they are gone, who will take over the areas they evacuate?

3. Will Bashar Assad stay on as president, or has his successor been nominated?

4. The most burning question of all is the level of Hizballah’s armament. Not only must Hizballah forces be pushed out of Syria, but it is essential to strip them of their sophisticated new weaponry, including missiles. Israel’s military and security chiefs assess Hizballah’s arsenal as having been upgraded in recent weeks to a level that directly impinges on Israel’s security.

Column One: Mahmoud Abbas and other Soviet ghosts

September 9, 2016

Column One: Mahmoud Abbas and other Soviet ghosts, Jerusalem Post, Caroline B. Glick, September 8, 2016

abbaskgb

In 1982 Abbas received a doctorate from the Patrice Lumumba University – or KGB U – in Moscow. According to KGB defectors, 90 percent of the university’s faculty and staff received their paychecks from the KGB. Its purpose was to train KGB agents from the developing world, including terrorists. Abbas’s fellow alumni included master terrorist Carlos the Jackal and future Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rather than devote his energies to murdering Israelis, along the lines of the subversive program Ceausescu presented to Arafat, Abbas’s main focus was the subversion of the European and the Israeli Left.

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Channel 1’s report Wednesday that in 1983, current Palestinian Authority Chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas served as a KGB agent is hardly the story of the year, but it does remind us of certain half-forgotten facts about the Cold War that are becoming ever more relevant today.

The PLO’s close and servile relationship with the KGB was first exposed in a systematic way in 1987, with the publication of Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief, the exposé of Soviet and Romanian Cold War operations written by former Romanian intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Ion Pacepa. Pacepa, who defected to the US in 1978 after serving as the head of the DIE – Romania’s KGB – was the highest ranking intelligence officer from the Soviet bloc to ever defect.

In his book, Pacepa revealed that “the PLO was dreamt up by the KGB.”

Pacepa explained how Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, at the direction of Moscow, convinced Yasser Arafat to employ political warfare, centered on phony protestations that he had abandoned terrorism, to weaken the West’s resolve to defend itself and to cause Israel to doubt its own legitimacy.

Wednesday’s Channel 1 report on Abbas was based on new revelations from the Mitrokhin Archive. Vasili Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB who surreptitiously copied KGB documents for many years and hid his copies in his home. In 1991 Mitrokhin defected to Britain and took his archive of 25,000 copies of documents with him.

In 2004, the second volume of his edited archive was published. The volume, titled, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, focused on the KGB’s efforts to use the Third World as a strategic weapon in its battle against the West. The volume devotes two chapters to the KGB’s campaign against Israel.

Mitrokhin revealed that for the KGB, Israel was a target of subversion second only in importance to the US. The KGB fielded multiple political agents on the Israeli Left and multiple Palestinian agents in the PLO’s terrorist nexus.

According to the Channel 1 report, Abbas began his official service for the KGB in 1983.

In truth his KGB ties were already longstanding by 1983.

In 1982 Abbas received a doctorate from the Patrice Lumumba University – or KGB U – in Moscow. According to KGB defectors, 90 percent of the university’s faculty and staff received their paychecks from the KGB. Its purpose was to train KGB agents from the developing world, including terrorists. Abbas’s fellow alumni included master terrorist Carlos the Jackal and future Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Abbas received a doctorate for a thesis denying the Holocaust. That is, he used the cover of academia to vilify the Jewish state and deny Jewish history and suffering – a practice that has been his stock in trade in trade ever since.

Rather than devote his energies to murdering Israelis, along the lines of the subversive program Ceausescu presented to Arafat, Abbas’s main focus was the subversion of the European and the Israeli Left.

Until the mid-1970s, Arab terrorists were unable to make inroads in Israel because there were no significant political forces in Israeli society that questioned the justice and morality of the state or saw the PLO as anything other than a terrorist organization bent on the annihilation of Israel and the massacre of its citizens.

The situation changed with the rise of the Likud and the Right to power in 1977. As the Likud supplanted Labor as the largest party in Israel, the far Left became more susceptible to subversion.

Abbas focused his efforts on developing ties to the Israeli far Left. His efforts culminated in the 1993 Oslo peace deal which Abbas negotiated with Israeli leftist activists affiliated with then-foreign minister Shimon Peres through his deputy Yossi Beilin.

The PLO’s success in convincing the Rabin- Peres government that it had abandoned its goal of annihilating Israel came two years after the demise of the Soviet Union. In other words, the KGB’s campaign of anti-Western subversion outlived the Soviet Union.

Indeed it carries on with ever greater force and consequence. Today, the subversive campaigns that first bore fruits in the Vietnam War have brought about a situation where increasingly, Western elites cannot accept the basic morality of their societies.

Consider the case of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Last month Kaepernick caused a public outcry when he refused to stand up for the US national anthem at the beginning of a football game. Kaepernick defended himself by arguing that the US is immoral. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said.

Rather than defend the US against his assault and insist that its symbols required respect, President Barack Obama said only that Kaepernick had a right to his opinion.

Then there is Germany. This week Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party came in third place in regional elections on Merkel’s home turf behind the far-right, anti-immigration AfD party.

Merkel’s political collapse owes entirely to her refusal to budge on her open border policies.

That policy enabled more than a million, predominantly Muslim, immigrants to stream into Germany last year. An additional 300,000 are expected this year.

Merkel’s associates claim that she operates under the conviction that Germany’s Nazi past precludes any attempt to protect German society from Muslim immigrants. For Merkel, Germany is inherently immoral and therefore has no right to defend its identity or culture.

The sense among Western elites that Western culture and history as a whole are morally impaired has dampened their concern about their future. This diminished commitment to securing their societies into the future is most apparent in the West’s fertility rates, which have been below replacement rate for more than a decade. Last year for the first time, deaths in Europe outnumbered births.

The situation is similarly fraught on the other side of the former Iron Curtain. Russian society was economically and culturally broken by the Soviet defeat in the Cold War and by its post- Cold War leadership’s inability to present a life-affirming vision for a new Russia.

In some ways, post-Cold War Russia is the mirror image of the subverted West. While Western leftists insist on adopting the socialist economics of swelled welfare states, which given demographic realities are unsustainable in the long-term, to expiate their guilt for capitalism and colonialism, Russia’s leaders have largely abandoned their people to their fate.

Russia spends a bit more than a third of what OECD countries spend on public health. And the low investment shows.

According to the World Health Organization, a third of all deaths in Russia in 2012 were caused by alcohol. Russian male life expectancy is 64 – lower than it was a hundred years ago.

Drug addiction rates are soaring, as are HIV infection rates.

Like the Europeans, Russians have lost interest in the future, which increasingly will not include a Russia. With fertility rates below replacement levels, the UN estimates that by 2060, Russia’s working age population will have shrunk by 15 percent.

Due to the scarcity of workers, like Europe, Russia is experiencing massive, predominantly Muslim immigration. Russian immigration levels are second only to the US. In response, xenophobia is a large and growing social force in Russia.

According to David Satter, author of the recently released, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin, Russia’s gloomy prospects, reinforced by the long-term outlook for reduced oil and gas prices, have brought about a situation where President Vladimir Putin and his associates do not think about the long-term future of their country. Their international considerations, specifically, are based on their assessments of immediate potential payoffs.

Since the Russian leadership doesn’t suffer from the civilizational neurosis the Soviets inflicted on the West, like the Soviet leaders before him, Putin’s short-term game empowers him to adopt policies with potentially high short-term payoffs regardless of the long-term dangers they create. Russia’s policies in Syria and toward Iran are case in point.

On the other side of the divide in Europe, the elites devote their remaining days in power to absolving themselves of imperialist and capitalist guilt. To this end, they have adopted the causes of those they falsely believe were most victimized by their predecessors.

The same is true, albeit to a lesser degree, in the US.

This then brings us back to KGB agent Abbas and his target, Israel.

Against great odds, and at a steep price, over the past 10 years Israeli society stopped listening to the voices on the Left parroting Abbas’s lies that Israel was born in sin, as a Western colonialist implant. Given the stakes, most Israelis today also have come to realize that our national self-confidence is a vital component of our long-term survival.

This understanding, along with a clear-eyed assessment of what drives our interlocutors in Moscow, Paris, New York and Brussels, must inform our foreign policy in the coming years.

When faced with foreign governments whose societies lack long-term prospects, Israel needs to put aside its yearning for long-term peace and stability and focus on short-term cooperative ties. It must also recognize that our partners’ interests are subject to change at a moment’s notice.

The revelation of Abbas’s KGB service requires us to recognize that the Soviets’ long game of subversion continues on today. Whether or not Western societies persevere and reject the Soviets’ central contention that they are unworthy of survival is not for Israel to decide. So, too, Israel will not convince the Russians to embrace a future based on freedom and the sanctity of life.

All we can do is wish them the best and play the short-term game with them – while keeping our long-term interests front and center in our minds.