Taras Kuzio

Iran’s War Against Israel and the US Has Russia’s Backing

Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Iran, and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu

The death of three US servicemen in Jordan should put to rest any still lingering doubts how the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel is leading to the cementing of the Anti-Western Axis, or what Iran and its proxies prefer to call the ‘Axis of Resistance.’ This attack followed the missile and rocket attack on US forces stationed at the al-Assad airbase in Western Iraq.

The Jordanian and Iraqi attacks were undertaken by Iranian-backed proxy groups and come on the heels of an increasing number of attacks by another Iranian-backed proxy group, the Houthis, against Western shipping.

The Economist calculated that 10 countries are now involved in the growing conflict in the Middle East. The Economist writes that ‘America and Iran are closer to war than at any point in 35 years.’

What many saw as a barbaric attack against Israeli civilians, Russia believed was a golden opportunity to expand its war against the West from Ukraine to Israel. Russia and Iran are united in their goals of wiping Ukraine and Israel from the maps of Europe and the Middle East respectively and in the process committing genocide against Ukrainians and Israeli’s.

Russia’s embrace of terrorist groups like Hamas reflects its duplicitous and cynical approach to international relations. Russia claimed it was fighting Islamic terrorism in Chechnya and Syria. Putin aligned Russia with the US after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Ironically, Hamas is a Sunni Islamist political and military organization which supported the Sunni opposition in Syria. Russia assisted Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in murdering hundreds of thousands of Sunnis and driving millions more into exile.

At the same time, Putin’s Russia has warm relations with the murderous Taliban who rule Afghanistan and its relationship with Iran is long-standing. In 2006, when Hamas won control of Gaza, Russia was one of the first to congratulate the terrorist leadership. The Kremlin has declined to condemn the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel and has always refused to label Hamas as a terrorist organization.

A Hamas delegation led by one its leaders Moussa Abu Marzouk visited Moscow only a few weeks after the terrorist attack on Israel. Hamas in turn has thanked the Kremlin for its criticism of Israel and support for the Palestinians.

Putin’s Russia has used the Hamas terrorist attack to return Russia to the Soviet era from the 1960s to the 1980s. Then the KGB and east European intelligence agencies under its control provided training, financial resources, arms, and intelligence to a myriad of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian West European terrorist groups. The USSR did not have diplomatic relations with Israel from 1967-1991.

The Soviet Union fanned what it called ‘anti-Zionism’ which was in fact camouflaged anti-Semitism. The Soviet legacy of anti-Zionism continues to influence Putin’s Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was recently asked how Russia could accuse Ukraine of being a Nazi-run state when its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish. Lavrov dismissed this by saying Nazi leader Adolf Hitler also cooperated with Zionists in the 1930s. ‘I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. [That Zelensky is Jewish] means absolutely nothing. Wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews,’ Lavrov said.

Russia is following in the footsteps of the Soviet Union in claiming to be an ally of countries that were once were colonies of the West. Denouncing the ‘ugly neo-colonial system’, Putin’s Russia seeks to fight the West in Ukraine and Israel as a means to destroy the US-led unipolar world.

The Kremlin is seeking to increase Russia’s influence in the Global South as the leader of the ‘world majority’, in the words of Putin on the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the siege of Leningrad. Putin described this ‘civilizational and cultural community’ as one ‘that objectively opposes the West.’

Russia accuses the US of transforming Ukraine into an ‘Anti-Russia’ that was committing ‘genocide’ against Russian speakers and condemns the US for backing Israel’s suppression of the Palestinian people. Kremlin disinformation claims US actions and provocations in Ukraine and Israel allegedly forced Russia to launch its so-called SMO (Special Military Operation) and Hamas to launch a terrorist attack.

Russian media outlets churn out disinformation the US forced Ukraine to confront Russia and Hamas to confront Israel. The US is allegedly the author of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and the source of global instability.

Similarly, Russian propaganda claims the supply of military assistance to Ukraine and Israel is pushing the globe to World War III. Putin compared Israel’s blockade of Gaza to the Nazi blockade of Leningrad during World War II, portraying Israel – like Ukraine – as akin to Nazi-run states.

For the Kremlin the war in Gaza and the possibility of a wider conflagration are a good distraction from its genocidal war against Ukraine. The Kremlin will capitalise from rising anti-Americanism in the Middle East which will, Putin believes, empower anti-Western forces and Iranian proxy groups.

Russia and Iran believe they are already at war with the West. Unfortunately the West has yet to reach the same conclusion.





About the Author
Professor in the Department of Political Science, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and Associate Research at the Henry Jackson Society think tank in London, UK. Author and editor of 23 books, including Fascism and Genocide. Russia’s War Against Ukrainians (2023) and Russian Nationalism and the Russian-Ukrainian War (2022), and book chapters, scholarly and media articles on Russian, Ukrainian, South Caucasian, and Greater Middle East geopolitics.
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