From the Australian:
RUSSIA plunged deeper into the maelstrom of Middle Eastern politics yesterday, saying it might sell arms to the Palestinians after talks with Hamas in Moscow early next month.
The announcement by Russia’s Chief of General Staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, will outrage Israel.
The move came as Israel prepared to impose sanctions on the Palestinians when Hamas forms a government today. Sources predicted Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, 43, would be appointed Palestinian prime minister at the inaugural session of parliament…
Behind the rhetoric, many Western and even some Israeli officials back the initiative.
“The strategy is to play an independent role in building a bridge between Hamas and the West,” said Vitaly Naumkin, head of the Centre of Strategic and Political Studies.
“I’m sure the West and the Israelis are happy with what Russia is doing.”…
The Palestinian Authority wants to buy two Mi-17 transport helicopters and 50 armoured personnel carriers, news agency Interfax has reported.
Western officials are sceptical Hamas will comply with the request to recognise Israel. But they admit Russia still offers the best hope for a breakthrough.
Hope for a breakthrough? I’m afraid, the old diplo-speak of the past does not apply no matter how much we might “hope.”