Actually, I'm not surprised. I don't believe that Putin has a dog in the _ideological_ conflict between Israel and their Moslem enemies, but Russia has sought hegemony in the Middle East going back to Czarist times. Putin would, I am sure, like nothing better than to bring about a _Pax Russica_ in the region, with him as arbiter of all important events there, and unlimited access to and commercial possibilities in the region's oil industry. Also, Israel, having shed its socialist ball-and-chain, is now an important regional _economic_ as well as a military power, which again has to whet Russians' commercial appetites. Mind you, I think he is barking up the wrong tree where the Moslems are concerned, but they're scared of Russia in a way they're not scare of the West--and why should they be?--and might string him along for their own purposes.As for Barry O, I think he does have an ideological dog in the conflict, though I don't think it falls into the religious category. He just can't bring himself to take the side of the region's honkey outpost (as he sees it), even if to do so would be politically advantageous at home.
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