The Israeli state, which shares hostile relations with almost all its neighbours, is the only state which hasn’t expressed apprehensions over Kurdish referendum. Israel’s apprehensions lie elsewhere, with renewed realignments that are apparently taking shape in the region.
Israel has expressed support to the Kurdish referendum that is scheduled on September 25 and said that the formation of Kurdistan is in its interests. Israel sees an ally in the imagined Kurdish-state, with the emergence of these new political realities.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his support to the Kurdish demand for independence, which made him the first Prime Minister of Israel to do so.
While showing his support the PM Netanyahu said, "Israel rejects the PKK and considers it a terrorist organisation, as opposed to Turkey, which supports the terror organisation Hamas. While Israel rejects terror in any form, it supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own."
This support comes despite the US’s apparent opposition to the referendum. The US has termed the timing “wrong”, citing the current war against ISIS. In fact they appear to share the same apprehensions of the local players, that a referendum in any one part of Iraq can foment further trouble in the war-torn region.
Israel is becoming wary of growing Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria. The country expressed reservations and vehemently opposed the ceasefire brokered in south-west Syria by the US and Russia. Israel said that the ceasefire, forged in July this year, will strengthen Iranian military ambitions in the country.
Amid the heightened tensions between Iran and Israel, the latter earlier last week carried out an aerial attack on a Syrian military installation in Maysaf city, alleging that it developed chemical weapons. At least two Syrian soldiers died in the attack, escalating tensions. The Russians, whose involvement in Syria war changed the dynamics of the war, however, advised President Bashar al Assad not to retaliate against Israel, which accused Iran of attempting to strengthen its hold in the country.
Russia went on to even assure Tel Aviv that it will make sure to prevent Iran from gaining a stronghold near Golan Heights, an area considered strategically important by Israel.
Another discomforting development for the regional players is the realignment that is happening in the region. Since its involvement Syria, Russia has emerged as a key ally of Assad and Iran, which backs Lebanon-based outfit Hezbollah. Iran’s growing influence in Iraq is also significant. Israel’s concerns have been multiplied with Hezbollah’s growing strength.
Another regional player Turkey, a NATO member, has also shown closeness to the Russians especially in view of the latest reported 2.5 billion dollar defence deal.
Moscow will be delivering the next generation S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Ankara. Turkey, which has the second largest army in the NATO bloc, had been struggling in aerial defence and the agreement has come as a respite for the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s deal with Russia has made the US furious. He added after the US and Israel refused to supply them combat drones, Turkey began production themselves enraging the two nations.
The latest defence deal with Russia also enables Turkey to avail the S-400 production technology and will be later developed within the country.
Israel’s security concerns will increase with each passing day amid hostile neighbours, despite their infighting, unless the primary conflicts plaguing the region – primarily the Palestinian question – are resolved.
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