Source: Dmitri Trenin in Tablet Magazine, October 13
…Russia is working hard to maintain relations with the Sunnis. It has kept intensive contacts with the Saudis and the Turks, even though disagreements over Syria run strong in both relationships, and it has solidified its newborn ties with Egypt. In the run-up to the Syria campaign, Putin sent his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Gulf. He has also played host to virtually all important regional leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Over the past two-plus decades, Russian and Israeli leaders have developed a rapport that allows for mutual candor and a fair degree of understanding, though not necessarily agreement. Russia has a history of recognizing Israeli security interests. In 2014, Putin himself admitted having had to cancel the sale of the S-300 air defense system to Syria due to Israeli concerns. Similar assurances must have been made to Netanyahu during his recent visit to Moscow, on the eve of the Russian air campaign in Syria.
The Kremlin finds its Israeli counterparts to be brutally realistic about the region – in contrast to the White House and State Department. One can therefore surmise that informal exchanges between the relevant departments of the Russian and Israeli governments have been quite intensive as of late….