Source: Information Clearing House
September 26, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – These autumn days are the most important in the Middle East calendar. The Muslims celebrate Eid al Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice; the Jews fast at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; and the Eastern Orthodox Christians rejoice at Nativity of Our Lady Mary. It appears, surprisingly, the best place to be at this time is Moscow, where Putin received in quick succession the Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Turkish ruler Recep Erdogan.
They did not come for the lovely Indian summer that blessed Moscow this week, not for the yellow and red leaves covering the maple and birch trees, though this sumptuous new Xanadu is quite fetching this time of the year; its streets refashioned at enormous expense, parks tended by best gardeners; bicycle paths and sidewalks repaved and even its feared traffic jams abated somewhat.
Ostensibly, Abbas and Erdogan came to unveil, together with Putin, the grand new Cathedral Mosque of Moscow, a vast and opulent structure where ten thousand worshippers can pray at once. This city has more Muslims than many a Muslim city has; about two millions of its 14 million dwellers are nominal Muslims.
They unveiled the mosque all right, and used this occasion for a good lengthy talk with Putin. So did Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, who gave a miss to the mosque. And he came with his top brass: the head of staff and the head of military intelligence, after a long-time no-see.
This sudden interest to Moscow is a sign that the Russian entry into the Syrian fray has been playing to a full house. When, some three weeks ago I reported on this decision of Kremlin, my report was met with great doubt, to say the least. Could it be that Russia, after being licked in the Ukraine, will venture that far from home? They were supposed to sulk in the Kremlin under the heavy load of sanctions, not roam around. Now the facts on the ground had justified my previous report. Russian soldiers and marines, Russian weapons, jets and boats are seen on the shore; they are building a new base and fighting the enemy, giving a new lease of life to the embattled Syrian state.