It seems Russia is not pleased that Trump took out Suleimani.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the U.S. assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Soleimani, warning Thursday’s strike would only escalate regional tensions and make life worse for millions of people.
The Russian Foreign Ministry released a separate statement condemning the assassination and warning of possible subsequent fallout. “Washington’s step is fraught with grave consequences for regional peace and stability,” the ministry said.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran’s military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing,” the statement said. “The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law.”
Forbes adds that the Russian foreign ministry openly suggested a “wag the dog” scenario:
The Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, linked the timing of the attack to the coming U.S. presidential election, “Everyone should remember and understand that U.S. politicians have their interests, considering that this year is an election year.”
There’s a reason for Putin’s anger on top of wanting to weaken the United States. Russia had been working closely with Suleimani personally on Syria: How Iranian general plotted out Syrian assault in Moscow (Oct 2015)
Major General Qassem Soleimani’s visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian-Russian alliance in support of Assad.
As Russian warplanes bomb rebels from above, the arrival of Iranian special forces for ground operations underscores several months of planning between Assad’s two most important allies, driven by panic at rapid insurgent gains.
The meeting was requested by Putin himself:
Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin, another senior regional official said. “Putin told him ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. He went [sic] to explain the map of the theater.”
Russia wants to control the Middle East, and while it doesn’t mind chaos and war in Syria, it does want a stable Iran. It definitely does NOT want a hot war on its southern border.
At one point, I thought Putin might see an advantage in the assassination, in that it would (and has) raise oil prices around the world, bringing Russia more needed revenue. But that is clearly outweighed by his other concerns.
From the start, the one thing I have never understood about Putin’s backing of Trump is why he would allow someone so unstable and impulsive to have control of the nuclear weapons pointed at his own country. If in fact he had calculated that the benefits outweighed that risk, he well may be recalculating them after this.