Yevgeny Anoshin, spokesman for the secretary of the Russian Security Council, on Sunday told TASS that the Kremlin hopes the scheduled June meeting in Jerusalem between Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, yield practical results on the way to stabilizing Syria and the Middle East.
Meanwhile, according to The National, the Trump administration last week imposed sanctions on a Syrian tycoon named Samer Foz, for doing business with the Assad regime. Foz, whose wealth, like President Trump’s, comes from luxury developments, was sanctioned along with the Four Seasons hotel and the Orient Club in Damascus.
Members of UN delegations to Syria stay at the Four Seasons.
US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey said that the sanctions showed the US “is not taking its eye off the ball in Syria, be it Idlib, or engagements from Sochi to Jerusalem.”
So far for successful outcomes.
The Kremlin’s spokesman stated, possibly referring to the Foz sanctions, that “as for our cooperation with the United States on Syria, dialogue has been failing for a long time,” but added on a more cheerful note that “to the credit of our American partners, they have demonstrated enough political will and now we are getting prepared for a meeting of Russian, US and Israeli security chiefs. […] We hope our joint work will yield common practical steps aimed at stabilizing the situation in Syria and the entire Middle East.”
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Sunday against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s blaming Iranian authorities for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman. “Such incidents can indeed shatter the basis of global economy and that’s why unfounded accusations can be hardly taken into account,” Peskov said.
Responding to Pompeo’s insistence that his assessment of Iran’s involvement was based on intelligence and analysis of the weapons used in the attack, the Kremlin spokesman said, “It’s absurd to refer to any secret data in this case.”
Recalling the somewhat underhanded efforts of the GW Bush administration to rile up support for the war in Iraq, when Secretary of State Colin Powell held a model vial of anthrax while giving a presentation to the United Nations Security Council about the Iraqi danger to the world, Peskov said, “We haven’t forgotten the vials with white powder. We remember and, therefore, have learned to show restraint in our assessments.”
In this context, on Monday the Egyptian newspaper Mesriyoun suggested “Israel is the number one and only side which benefits from igniting the fire of war in the region,” and therefore “no one should believe and pay attention to the US allegations against Iran for the recent attacks because Trump is beating the drums of war and Israel is happy with it and the result would be highly risky to the oil region and damage to Iran and other Persian Gulf littoral states.”
And Head of the Russian Center for Iran Studies and senior analyst on regional issues Rajab Safarov told Russian TV on Friday that “allegations that Iran is behind the two oil tankers incident in the Sea of Oman are not believable,” and blamed it all on the US, which “wants to cripple oil shipping in the Persian Gulf and annihilate the European states and China’s economy.”
Now you know.