US Has ‘Reservations’ About Israel-Russia Deal on Syria

US officials don't want Syrian govt to recapture territory

A somewhat straightforward deal between Israel and Russia on the situation in southern Syria threatens to be derailed this weekend as US officials object to the language. The agreement is designed to allow the Syrian government to retake southern Syria from the rebels without Israel interfering.

The basics of the deal are that Russia agrees to keep Iran and Hezbollah out of those areas in return for Israeli non-interference. As an additional perk, Russia expects Israel to try to help them restore normal diplomatic relations with the US.

US officials, however, say they don’t want Syria retaking the southern territory from the various Islamist rebels under any circumstances. Rather, they say that US policy is to keep the “pressure” on the Assad government.

In theory Israel and Russia shouldn’t need a US imprimatur for this deal anyhow, as the US doesn’t have anything to do with either Russia telling Iranian troops to move, or Israel not attacking southern Syria.

Whether Israel can deliver on promised improved US ties for Russia, however, is something under their control. US officials may decide they find Syrian military progress so objectionable that they refuse to go along with future Israeli efforts, knowing why they’re advocating a rapprochement with Russia.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.