Yesterday the world learned that Iran recently tested a missile with a payload comparable to a nuclear warhead. Taking to Twitter, Netanyahu called the test "a flagrant violation of the [UN] Security Council." Six thousand miles away, another Twitter user responded. Trump and his new ambassador to the UN have called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. They are meeting today.
It would be a mistake to think there is, or will be, smooth sailing between Jerusalem and Trump's new administration in Washington D.C. When Netanyahu meets with the new US president, he will have four pressing concerns.
Apparently, Trump and Putin have done more than greet one another on the phone. According to DEBKAfile, they have struck a deal regarding Syria. Under that deal, Iran and its proxies must depart, leaving the US in charge of security along Syria's border with Israel. On the other hand, it solidifies Russia's presence in the Middle East. Moscow is not about to leave.
Last night Damascus was hit by two explosions. One, a suicide bombing at an officers' club, killed at least ten. The other happened at the Mezzeh airport. Damascus blames Israel. But, for disturbing reasons revealed by this Israeli intelligence report from DEBKAfile, Israel is an unlikely candidate. Who then? And why?
What are Russia's true intentions in Syria? Maintain the status quo, playing off its tensions? Or complete regime victory for Assad? If the latter, writes Jonathan Spyer, "there is trouble ahead."