Russian-Israeli defence ties: the roller coaster

If someone needed additional proof how complicated, unpredictable and fragile are the defence ties between Russia and Israel, he got it last week big time.

The arrest and deportation of the Israeli military attaché to Moscow shocked the Israeli defence establishment. Col Vadim Liderman was arrested while having lunch in a Moscow restaurant, interrogated and deported immediately.

The official Russian spokesmen said that he is suspected of gathering intelligence about Russian arms deals with some Arab countries. In a video that showed a Russian official reading the claims to the military attaché after his arrest, the unidentified official said the Liderman was “actively involved in promoting the interests of Israeli companies in Russia”.

Liderman was interrogated after arriving in Israel and immediately after this interrogation was over, Israeli security officials said that following a “thorough investigation”, they didn’t find any evidence to support the claims made against Liderman.

The arrest, investigation and deportation come in the middle of a “new defence dialogue” between Russia and Israel. After signing a huge contract to purchase Israeli-made unmanned air systems (UAS) , the feeling among the Israeli defence industries was that Russia emerges as a big potential market.

Israeli observers said that the involvement of the Israeli military attachés around the world in promoting the sales of Israeli-made defence systems is a “potential trap”.

The defence ties between Russia and Israel are a mix of strange ingredients. Russia is supplying some Arab countries with advanced weapon systems that may endanger Israel. This in spite of Israeli protests. At the same time Russia is buying Israeli made UAS and is angry when such systems are sold by Israel to countries in Eastern Europe that once were “satellite” states of former USSR, gained independence and now are building their own modern military power.

So now we will have to wait and see what will be if any the effect of the military attaché’s deportation on planned deals of UAS and other advanced aerial systems made by Israeli defence companies to Russia.

Selling advanced air systems with military use is very complicated. When at one side is Israel and at the other Russia, complication becomes an understatement.

 

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