Russia’s Iskander and S-300 Missile Systems Not Really for Sale—Used for Mind Games Only

Russian S-300 missiles a pawn in diplomatic game, Wikileaks show

Reuters

 

* Wikileaks cables show Russia said it would not sell S-300 to Syria

* Russia similarly “froze” S-300 sale to Iran

* But linked Iran sale to progress on missile defence in Europe

By Tom Miles

GENEVA, June 3 (Reuters) – Russia’s pledge to deliver anti-aircraft missiles to Damascus at a time when world powers are trying to end Syria’s civil war is consistent with a pattern of using the weapons system as a bargaining chip in its power struggle with the West.

Russia has said it is committed to sell the S-300 surface-to-air missiles as a deterrent against foreign military intervention, under a contract struck in 2010 with President Bashar al-Assad.

But Western powers who are trying, along with Russia, to organise an international conference to end the 26-month-old conflict say such a delivery would be hugely counter-productive.

“No one knows if this conference will become a success, but it is the wrong message which has been sent by Russia to the world and to the region by delivering S-300 or other weapons,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Friday.

Secret WikiLeaks cables show that Russia has played this game before, in particular with the long-range S-300 that Israel, for one, sees as a “red line” threat to its airspace.

Russia’s determination to supply Syria mirrors an earlier commitment to Iran, though it long assured diplomats it had no intention of sending S-300s to either country, the cables show.

Russia was well aware of the “destabilising” effect of supplying weapons like the S-300 to the Middle East, one September 2008 cable quoted Viktor Simakov, Counselor for Israel and Palestine in Russia’s Foreign Ministry, as saying.

“Simakov reiterated that Russia understood very well Israel’s concern about either Syria or Iran obtaining the Iskander or S-300 missile systems,” the cable said.

Syria had upset Russia by allowing an earlier delivery of anti-tank missiles to fall into the hands of militant Islamist group Hezbollah, and Russia promised tighter “end user controls” in future.

Syria tried to obtain missiles in 2008 by offering to host Russia’s own missile defences on its territory, matching U.S. missile defences in Europe that Russia objects to. Although Russia did sign a contract in 2010, it did not then agree; Israel’s promise not to sell arms to Georgia during the Georgia-Russia war that August may have outweighed Syria’s offer.

Speculation was mounting in late 2008 that Russia was planning to honour its 2005 contract to supply S-300s to Iran. But Russian officials assured the U.S. charge d’affaires in Moscow that the transfer would not be completed until Iran complied with its nuclear obligations, according to one cable.

But by early 2009, the sale looked like it was going to take place, and Washington asked six allied Middle Eastern countries to raise the issue immediately with Russia.

The move appeared to pay off, although then-U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle expected Russia to keep pressing the issue, for financial, political and foreign policy reasons.

The Iran sale was merely “frozen”, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told U.S. Senator Carl Levin in 2009, and hinted that Russia did not want to be challenged again.

“The less we hear from Washington about this, the better,” an April 2009 cable quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russian officials told Amos Gilad, at that time head of the political-military bureau in Israel’s Ministry of Defence, that the missiles to Iran would not be delivered for political reasons.

“However, Gilad said the Russians would reassess this political calculation should the United States continue to pursue missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic,” said a cable dated July 30, 2009.

In the end, Russia scrapped the sale in 2010, and in what may have been a quid pro quo, the Israelis agreed to sell Russia surveillance drones that would narrow its technological military gap with Georgia.

“For better or for worse, the delivery of S-300’s have become a barometer of our bilateral relations,” Ambassador Beyrle wrote in 2009.

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Syria: Western-backed terrorists running like rats

Syria: Western-backed terrorists running like rats

pravda

Syria: Western-backed terrorists running like rats. 50241.jpeg

Photo: One of NATO’s unarmed civilian darlings

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The western-backed terrorist filth which has infested many parts of Syria in the last two years is being systematically exterminated and removed from its hideouts before the areas are sterilized by the Syrian Armed Forces, heroically waging a winning war against NATO’s mercenaries, special forces and Islamist terrorists they have brought into the fray.

As the west becomes desperate and the common EU policy literally falls apart while bully boys France and the UK gnash their teeth to launch another imperialist spectacular, as they did in Libya, the terrorist strongholds collapse like a house of cards and the demented vermin which has infested so much of Syria over the last two to three years runs screaming.

In the border town of al-Qusayr, the Syrian Armed Forces are progressing steadily, exterminating pockets of takfiri terrorist bands of murderers, rapists, arsonists, thieves and torturers. Sources quote “significant losses” among the terrorist forces as they fled, after denying access to the civilian population of the city to flee, something which the Syrian Armed Forces had insisted upon.

The towns of Mansoura, Aldalbh, Tal Saka and Saka have been cleansed and sterilized, and large numbers of terrorists have been liquidated. The leader of the Descendants of the Prophet brigade, Abdullah Alkhator, was killed, as was the Benghazi Libyan terrorist Ayman al-Bosifi (terrorist filth exported by NATO?).

Meanwhile, there are reports from the Syrian Arab News Agency that another stash of chemical weapons has been found among terrorist forces, this time Sarin Nerve Gas, taken by the Syrian Armed Forces during a raid against terrorist elements in the city of Hama. Along with the nerve gas, a large number of weapons and munitions were apprehended.

The west has repeatedly accused the Syrian authorities of using chemical weapons – there is not one shred of evidence that it has, while on the contrary there have been several incidents pointing towards the “opposition” deploying such weapons, met with a wall of silence by the western backers of those who fight President Assad and wish to turn Syria into an Islamist State.

Russia and Syria have insisted that every alleged case of the use of chemical or biological weapons should be exhaustively investigated by an independent commission. Why have such commissions not materialized and who is blocking them? Not Syria, not Russia. Then, we have our answer.

The UN Commission into the use of chemical weapons did carry out a study in Aleppo, where it discovered that the chemical weapons deployed were fired from a rebel-held area.

Who is carrying out the west’s dirty work? There are allegations that the terrorists are moving freely inside Turkey, that Qatari money has been used to finance the terrorist groups inside Syria and that the Saudi government has opened up old smuggling routes through the south-western tip of Iraq.

Increasing number of areas back to normal

The Syrian Armed Forces have sterilized the capital city, Damascus, with peace returning to all its districts after the liquidation of bands of terrorists, rapists, murderers, child molesters, thieves and arsonists. A unit of the Syrian Armed Forces exterminated terrorist bands in Huseinieh village, Um al-Shaker, Kherbt Gimrah, Aqrab and the countryside of Daraa.

Jabhet al-Nusra terrorists were eliminated in the Lattakia countryside as they fled. Among the dead was the Libyan terrorist commander. Finally, dozens of terrorists were exterminated in Bait Shurooq and al-Suda, where the terrorist commander of the Nour Eddin al-Zinki battalion, Bashar Wadfa, was destroyed.

Right from the very beginning, the West, buoyed by its imperialist escapade in Libya to destroy the dream of the African Union which Colonel Gaddafi was financing, got it wrong in Syria. Finally, after all these years, we see who the evil ones are and we see who sides with terrorists.

Shame on the FUKUS Axis (France- UK- US) and their partners in murder, NATO. Their foreign policy has been exposed for what it is: pandering to the whims of the corporations which control these…..er…..democracies.

 

Pravda.Ru

UN Investigators Finding Evidence of Syrian Terrorist Groups’ War Crimes

[SEE:  ’Grounds’ to believe chemical use by both sides in Syria: UN probe ]

By Flavia Krause-Jackson & Sangwon Yoon

Syrian opposition forces recruited a 14-year-old boy from Homs as a fighter and had a child take part in beheading two government soldiers, according to a United Nations report citing human-rights abuses by both sides in Syria’s civil war.

A conflict that began with anti-government protests amid widespread Arab revolts two years ago has mutated into a life-or-death battle pitting an Alawite-led minority, clinging to power with help from the Shiite Hezbollah militia, against Sunni-led rebels that count al-Qaeda fighters among their ranks.

While abuses by the opposition haven’t reached “the intensity and scale” of those committed by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and affiliated militias, they are becoming increasingly common and brutal, according to the report presented today in Geneva to the UN Human Rights Council.

Mass executions are publicly carried out in locations such as Daraa and Aleppo, where the rebels have established judicial and administrative authority, the 29-page report said. The number of extra-judicial killings and kidnappings by the opposition has risen, and about 86 child soldiers have been killed during combat, it said.

With Assad barring access to Syria by outsiders, the report is based on 430 interviews with victims and firsthand witnesses to atrocities. It offers a glimpse into the country’s descent into chaos. It was produced by a four-member commission investigating war crimes in Syria.

Beheading Video

The report drew attention to video footage, submitted by the Russian mission to the UN in Geneva, showing the decapitation of two regime soldiers, with a child responsible for one beheading. “Following investigation, it is believed that the video is authentic and the men were soldiers, killed as depicted,” the UN panel said.

The findings cover a four-month period ending May 15 and say that 17 potential massacres took place during that time. Government-affiliated militia, known as Shabiha, are linked in the report to the mass killing of dozens of women and children in the Sunni coastal village of al-Bayda. In the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, the report says, armed anti-Assad groups executed 11 men who were bound and blindfolded.

Pro-Assad forces are guilty of sexual violence during house searches, at checkpoints and in detention centers, and torture of detainees is endemic, the report found. Since late January, more than 200 bodies have been found in Aleppo’s “river of martyrs,” as the Queiq River has become known.

Multiple Factions

The opposition is comprised of multiple anti-government factions, from exiled dissidents to armed militants, which have struggled to form a united front. As political leaders are negotiating efforts to assemble a broad opposition coalition to gain international support and legitimacy, factions fighting on the front lines are increasingly focusing on battlefield gains at any cost.

The continuing violence has allowed radical groups, particularly the al-Qaeda linked Islamist militia Jabhat al-Nusra, to become more influential in day-to-day combat, the report said.

As reports alleging use of nerve gas multiply — with at least six possible incidents reported to the UN so far — the human-rights panel said it “is possible that anti-government armed groups may access and use chemical weapons.” Each side in the conflict has accused the other of chemical attacks and denied its own involvement.

Chemical Weapons

The commission, led by Brazilian diplomat Paulo Pinheiro, didn’t confirm the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Instead, it played down comments last month by Carla Del Ponte, a member of the independent UN panel who said there were signs that rebels, and not just government forces, had released nerve agents in combat.

“There is no compelling evidence that these groups possess such weapons or their requisite delivery systems,” the report said.

A separate UN team of scientists has been set up to investigate chemical warfare allegations. So far, the inspectors, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, haven’t been allowed to enter Syria to get a first-hand look at evidence and construct a chain of custody.

President Barack Obama has said Syrian government use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” though the U.S. lacks conclusive evidence that it has happened. Obama hasn’t said what the U.S. will do if chemical weapons use is confirmed.

To contact the reporters on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in New York at fjackson@bloomberg.net; Sangwon Yoon in New York at syoon32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net