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New wave of Arab-Israeli violence means Russia and the United States should join efforts against further escalation of tensions in the Middle East
A new wave of Arab-Israeli violence means Russia and the United States should join efforts against further escalation of tensions in the Middle East, a leading expert said Wednesday. Sergei Rogov, the director of Russia's Institute for U.S. and Canada Studies, said in a RIA interview that Israel, which has been hitting Hizbollah targets in Lebanon for a week, may now launch a large-scale military campaign in the country and might even go as far as striking Syria. The situation is compounded by the ongoing hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added. "There are grounds for partnership between Russia and the U.S. here," he said. Rogov said last weekend's Group of Eight summit near St. Petersburg had brought out the differences in how the leaders of major industrialized nations see the Mideastern conflict. Moscow is trying not to take sides whereas Washington's stance is clearly pro-Israeli and Paris leans more toward Lebanon, a former French colony, he said. Given this, the G8's joint statement on the issue "may turn out to be nothing but a declaration," the expert said. But he said it would be an overstatement to call those differences a deep rift. If the UN Security Council eventually gives the go-ahead to the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Lebanon, it is quite likely that Russia and the U.S. will both contribute troops and that France will commit the largest contingent of all. "Unfortunately, though, it may not happen... until after yet another round of warfare is over," he said.
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