Occasionally in the affairs of this world, a nation makes a quiet diplomatic move which has far-reaching significance beyond the immediate moment. Yesterday in Jericho, after a meeting with PA president Mahmud Abbas, the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev affirmed recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
This is significant in more than one way. The ironic significance is that the old USSR was the first nation to recognize the state of Israel in 1948, (with the USA a very close second).
The greater significance is that this clearly signals the intention of Russia to return to the arena of active participation in Middle East politics.
Following the conflict of October 1973, variously referred to as either the Six Days War or the Yom Kippur War, the Russians were widely discredited in the Middle East. Egypt, for one, sent the Russians packing, and aligned itself with the USA.
Now all that may be changing. Granted, the Russia of today is not the Soviet Union of the 70's and 80's, but Russians are still Russians. That has been true since the days of the Tsars.