Nonetheless it seems to have impressed an awful lot of generally sensible people. (Were you impressed? If so, please explain why.)
Putin (or someone) wrote:
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.
Putin’s tender concern for Israel (Which “militants”? What “reports”?) would be touching if not for news like this:
Kremlin sources have reportedly confirmed that Russia will supply Iran with five state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries and a new nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
After calling off a transfer of five S-300 missile batteries to Iran three years ago, Russia is now interested in renewing the agreement and in setting up a civilian nuclear reactor for its long-time ally as part of a deal worth $800 million, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Wednesday.
The two countries initially signed the S-300 missile system deal in 2007, but it was called off three years later as part of UN Security Council sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The cancellation of the agreement led to tensions between the two countries, including a $4 billion Iranian lawsuit against Russia.
The sale of Russian missiles to the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was a hot topic earlier this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in May in an attempt to dissuade him from going ahead with the deal, reportedly indicating that Israel would destroy Syrian S-300 missiles before they became fully operational.
It turns out that Putin’s article was placed in The Times by the Ketchum public relations firm.
Perhaps Putin was wowed by this adorable video:
Update: More on Ketchum’s work on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.