Russian president Vladimir Putin further cemented his position atop the Syrian power pyramid as a result of Israel’s massive air campaign that targeted Iran’s positions and Assad’s air defenses. Dubbed by Israeli military planners as “Operation House of Cards,” it was the most extensive aerial assault by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in Syria since October 1973. Whether Jerusalem’s impressive military success translates into a political triumph will be determined by how Tehran responds going forward, but there is little doubt Iran suffered a major setback in a week already full of monumental disappointments. In the meantime, Putin’s strategic position in the Middle East has been enhanced and all he had to do was say, “Yes,” to Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu.
President Trump kept his promise and began the process to extricate the U.S. from the inherently flawed nuclear agreement with Iran known as the JCPOA. Before doing so, his administration embarked on a months-long process led by the National Security Council to arrive at an understanding with Europe that would at least plug the substantial holes in the accord.