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What's next for Russia’s relations with Hezbollah?

A Hezbollah delegation visits Moscow, with Lebanese politics and stability and Syria's political future atop the agenda.
Mohammad Raad (L) and Sergey Lavrov (R)

A delegation from Lebanese Hezbollah, led by the head of the movement’s parliamentary bloc, Mohammad Raad, arrived in Moscow on March 14 for a four-day visit that came on the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Syrian war. On March 15, the delegation, which included Hezbollah’s foreign relations chief Ammar Al-Moussawi and his aide Ahmad Mhanna, was received by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The delegation also had separate talks with Mikhail Bogdanov, a Russian deputy foreign minister and the special presidential representative on the Middle East.

By a strange coincidence, the Hezbollah delegation’s visit to Russia occurred almost simultaneously with the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who arrived in Moscow on March 17. Moreover, Hezbollah’s talks with Lavrov were held the same day that two Russian deputy foreign ministers — Oleg Syromolotov and Sergey Ryabkov — met with the Israeli Foreign Ministry's deputy director general for strategic affairs, Joshua Zarka. Syromolotov, a former chief of the FSB Counterintelligence Service who rose to the rank of army general, oversees measures against terrorism. So this string of meetings looks like more than just a coincidence and makes for a rather awkward situation.

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