it’s the length of a novel

Here is a taster of Blankfort, making very heavy weather of the simple fact that Israel no longer consults Pindostan on its foreign policy alliances nor does it seek to include them.

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What can be learned from the Israeli media is that over the past 16 months, Netanyahu has made four state visits to Moscow the last of which, in Jun 2016, featured the handing over to Israel of a Pindostan-made Israeli tank that had been abandoned by its crew during a battle with Syrian forces during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. It was then sent to Russia for examination and has since been exhibited at a military museum in Moscow. Netanyahu had requested the return of the tank at an earlier meeting between the two in Moscow that April. There was no indication whether or not Syria had been consulted. The report about the return of the tank was reported in the NYT (6/6/16) under the byline of Isabel Kershner, the paper’s long-time senior correspondent in Israel. It was one of the rare mentions in the media of the “growing cooperation” between the two countries. Kershner noted the large number of Russian Israelis from the old Soviet Union who are receiving pensions from Moscow. There are over a million in Israel. Her article largely focused on the desire on the part of Israelis to learn what had happened to three tankists who had been part of the tank’s crew and had abandoned it. What Kershner failed to mention were the most important results of Netanyahu’s visit.

According to Israel Defense News and DEBKAfile, the two leaders decided at their Jun 7 meeting to deepen the military ties between the Russian and Israeli armed forces which, citing reports from military and intelligence sources, led to speculation that “the historic decision spells the end of the IDF’s unique relationship with the Pindo military.” That remains to be seen, but further, according to the report, Putin and Netanyahu decided that a joint exercise by the Israeli and Russian naval and air forces will be held this summer as part of the first stage of expanded ties. If they go through with these exercises, keeping that out of the Pindo press will present quite a challenge. The bilateral decision for the joint war game was reportedly tied to an agreement to allow Russian gas companies to compete for contracts to develop offshore natural gas fields claimed by Israel, confirming what Netanyahu had said in Moscow:
ur doors are open now to all companies from all countries that have substantial experience in developing gas fields, including Russia of course.

According to this report:

Putin had tried repeatedly to win a foothold for Russian companies, especially energy giant Gazprom, in the development of Israel’s offshore gas fields and export industry. The Russian leader tried to convince Netanyahu by saying that the presence of the Russian navy and air force in the area would guarantee that no Arab or Muslim military force, such as those of Iran, Syria and Hizballah, would attack the gas fields.

In Oct 2015, shortly after Russia entered the Syrian conflict, Ha’aretz’s military correspondent Anshel Pfeffer, analyzed the Netanyahu-Putin relationship in an article entitled “Israel’s Hushed Military Ties with Russia Now Paying Off.” Noting that the Pentagon was refusing to hold “de-confliction” talks with the Russian Defense Ministry to coordinate the two nations’ air-operations over Syria and would make do with just “technical details,” Pfeffer wrote:

The fact that Netanyahu requested and received a meeting with Putin, immediately when the Russian deployment to Syria began, should not come as a surprise. Despite Israel’s strategic ties with the United States, both sides have maintained a discreet and intimate security relationship which is much closer than meets the eye. Israel received from Putin in 2008 advance warning of Russia’s plans to attack Georgia, in a personal meeting he had with former president Shimon Peres at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. This enabled Israel to call back in time private defense contractors and advisers who were working at the time with the Georgian army.

If you are with me so far, you will see a different picture emerging of both Netanyahu and Putin than what one finds in the Pindo media. For those who have been led to see the Israeli prime minister as a staunch friend and ally of Pindostan, the evidence paints him as more of an opportunist who takes full advantage of the power of the Jewish political and religious establishment in Pindostan to lead its politicians around by the nose while milking its taxpayers for everything he can get.

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