US senator warns Israel not to trust Russia to remove Iran from Syria

A senior US Republican senator warned Israel against striking a deal with Moscow, saying Russia cannot be trusted. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria, a senior US Republican lawmaker warned Israel not to trust Russia.

“To our friends in Israel,” tweeted South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, “be very careful making agreements with Russia re Syria that affect US interests.”

“I don’t trust Russia to police Iran or anyone else in Syria,” he added. “US must maintain presence in Syria to ensure ISIS doesn’t come back and to counter Russia/Iran influence.”

Graham’s comment came amid speculation that US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart are considering a deal about the future of Syria at their upcoming bilateral summit in Helsinki next week.

According to Israeli media and a report in The New Yorker, a US-Russian-Israeli deal might be in the works.

Israel was reportedly planning to lobby the US to remove sanctions it has imposed on Russia as punishment for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by invading and occupying the eastern half of the country. In exchange, Russia would work to remove Iranian forces from Syria. The US would also agree to remove its troops from Syria.

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro concurred with the Republican senator.

“Senator Graham is absolutely right here,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “But he ignores that Trump is trying to cook up a ‘deal’ that lets US troops leave Syria, relies on flimsy Russian promises to expel Iran, and pays for all this in European currency — Ukraine sanctions, Crimea annexation, weaker NATO/EU.”