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Thread: Syria

  1. #361
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    U.S.: Russian military ship en route to Syria

    The Arab Spring



    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Moscow June 9, 2012. (AP Photo)


    (CBS/AP) A Russian ship carrying small arms and ammunition and possibly a small contingent of troops is on its way out of the Black Sea and into the Mediterranean bound for Syria, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons are intended to re-supply or beef up the defenses at Russia's naval base in Syria.

    The move, while not necessarily an indication of new military support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, comes amid increasingly tense U.S.-Russia relations regarding the Syria crisis.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week issued harsh words over Russia's refusal to take tougher measures on Syria, though her accusation that Russia "dramatically" escalated the crisis in Syria lost steam Thursday when the State Department acknowledged the helicopters she accused Moscow of sending were actually refurbished ones already owned by the Assad regime.

    The claim had complicated the Obama administration's larger goals for Syria and U.S.-Russia relations.

    Russia: No talks on Syria's future without Assad

    Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that Moscow is only providing Syria with defensive weapons, adding that the refurbishment of the helicopters supplied many years ago had been planned in advance.

    Also Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied Thursday's statement by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that Moscow and Washington "are continuing to talk about a post-Assad transition strategy," saying that Moscow isn't discussing Syria's future without Assad.

    Lavrov, who met with the State Department's No. 2 official William Burns in Kabul on Thursday, maintained that Russia believes it's up to the Syrians to determine their country's future and said foreign players shouldn't meddle.

    "It's not true that we are discussing Syria's fate after Bashar Assad," Lavrov said following talks in Moscow with his Iraqi counterpart. "We aren't dealing with a regime change either through approving unilateral actions at the United Nations Security Council nor through taking part in some political conspiracies."

    Despite pressure from the West, Russia, along with China, has twice shielded Syria, its last remaining ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions over Assad's violent crackdown on protests that have left 13,000 people dead, according to opposition groups.

    Lavrov argued that an international conference on Syria that Russia has proposed should focus on persuading the Syrian parties to sit down for talks. He said that a June 30 meeting on Syria in Geneva proposed by U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, should pursue the same goal, warning that Russia would oppose any attempt to use the conference to determine Syria's future.

    "This meeting should be aimed at mobilizing resources that foreign players have to create conditions needed to start an all-Syrian political process, not to predetermine its direction."

    He warned against using the conference to "justify any future unilateral actions."

    Lavrov said that Russia believes that a conference on Syria it's proposing should bring together the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council along with all Syria's neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Arab League, the European Union and Iran.

    In an apparent reference to the U.S. objections against Iran's participation, Lavrov said the conference organizers should be driven by a desire to settle the conflict, not "ideological preferences."

    In an opinion piece posted Friday on the Huffington Post, Lavrov insisted that "Russia is not a defender of the current regime in Damascus and has no political, economic or other reasons for becoming one."

    He also reaffirmed criticism of Assad, saying that "the main responsibility for the crisis that has swept over the country lies with the Syrian government, that has failed to take the course of reform in due time or draw conclusions from the deep changes unfolding in international relations."

    But Lavrov also argued that a push for an immediate ouster of Assad would plunge Syria into an all-out war. "Pressing for an immediate ousting of Bashar al-Assad, contrary to the aspirations of a considerable segment of Syrian society that still relies on this regime for its security and well-being, would mean plunging Syria into a protracted and bloody civil war," Lavrov wrote.

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  2. #362
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    Brookings Institute is stating "we're at an impasse" because Russia is not willing to compromise or discuss a Syria without Assad. Basically Russia is rooting for Assad - and anything they do will support him, speed up the killing of civilians (women and children including).
    Libertatem Prius!


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  3. #363
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    So FINALLY... FNC is covering this stuff. FINALLY.
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    Russia Fires Bulava SS-NX-30 Missile From Syria as a Warning to NATO and Israel



    Spiral UFO over Israel explained scientifically in this video. It is a RSM-56 Bulava (NATO designation SS-NX-30) Ballistic missile shot from a Russian submarine off Tartus, Syria as a message to NATO.


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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  5. #365
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia Sending Air and Sea Defenses to Syria

    By ANDREW E. KRAMER

    Published: June 15, 2012

    MOSCOW — The chief of Russia’s state-controlled arms exporter said on Friday that his company was shipping advanced defensive missile systems to Syria that could be used to shoot down airplanes or sink ships if the United States or other Western nations try to intervene to halt the country’s spiral of violence.

    “I would like to say these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea,” Anatoly P. Isaykin, the general director of the company, Rosoboronexport, said Friday in an interview. “This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this.”

    His remarks come just days after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised diplomatic pressure on Russia, Syria’s patron, by criticizing the Kremlin for sending attack helicopters to Damascus, and amid reports that Moscow was preparing to send an amphibious landing vessel and a small company of marines to the Syrian port of Tartus, to provide security for military installations and infrastructure, if it becomes necessary.

    While the weapons systems are not considered cutting edge, the words and actions added to a cold war chill that has been settling over relations between Washington and Moscow since President Vladimir V. Putin took power from his more accommodative predecessor, Dmitri A. Medvedev.

    Aleksander Golts, an independent military analyst in Moscow, said the Russians’ discussion of defensive weapons shipments “undoubtedly” serves as a warning to Western countries contemplating an intervention.

    “Russia uses these statements as a form of deterrence in Syria,” he said. “They show other countries that they are more likely to suffer losses.”

    Throughout the Syrian crisis, Russia has insisted that all its arms sales to the isolated government of Bashar al-Assad have been defensive in nature and that the weapons were not being used in the Syrian leader’s vicious campaign to suppress the opposition.

    Mr. Isaykin underlined the point, but in a way that could also be interpreted as a warning to the West against undertaking military action of the sort that ousted Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power in Libya, something that Mr. Putin viewed as a breach of sovereignty that he does not want repeated.

    Yet, as news reports of government massacres emerge almost daily from Syria, the prospect of the United States or NATO acting unilaterally has become a more frequently discussed option, particularly given Russia’s adamant refusal to authorize more aggressive United Nations action.

    With President Obama coming under election-year pressure from Republicans to act to halt the violence in Syria, the topic is likely to be discussed by the president and Mr. Putin at a scheduled meeting next week on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos.

    Mr. Isaykin, a powerful figure in Russia’s military industry, openly discussed the weapons now being shipped to Syria: the Pantsyr-S1, a radar-guided missile and artillery system capable of hitting warplanes at altitudes well above those typically flown during bombing sorties, and up to 12 miles away; Buk-M2 anti-aircraft missiles, capable of striking airplanes at even higher altitudes, up to 82,000 feet, and at longer ranges; and land-based Bastion anti-ship missiles that can fire at targets 180 miles from the coast.

    Military analysts immediately questioned the effectiveness of the air defenses Russia has made available to the Middle East, including Syria, none of which have offered even token resistance to Western forces.

    Ruslan Aliyev, an authority on military affairs at the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, said that statements by Mr. Isaykin and others were issued principally for political effect. Moscow has declined to supply Syria with its most lethal air defense, the S-300 long-range missile system.

    “As far as I understand, Syria is not able to defend itself from NATO, just like it failed to defend its nuclear facility from Israel’s September 2007 airstrike,” Mr. Aliyev wrote in an e-mailed response to questions. “Russian armaments are unlikely to be significantly helpful, I’m afraid.”

    Since Mrs. Clinton’s statement, both sides have sought to play down the helicopters’ significance, saying they were of marginal military utility. A State Department spokeswoman, Veronica Nuland, said Thursday that the secretary was referring to three helicopters that were returned recently to Syria after being refurbished in Russia.

    In the interview, Mr. Isaykin said that the contract to overhaul the helicopters was signed in 2008, was never secret and had been reported to international organizations. “It was an absolutely routine contract,” he said.

    Syria has spent about $500 million annually in recent years on Russian weaponry, Mr. Isaykin said in the interview, an order book that amounts to about 5 percent of Rosoboronexport’s business.

    For nearly a decade, Mr. Isaykin said, Rosoboronexport had no Syrian orders for rifles, ammunition, ground-to-ground rockets, helicopters and their onboard weapons or armored vehicles — the basic tools of a conflict that is escalating into civil war.

    The Middle East, he said, is “flooded” with Soviet-style small arms, often made in knock-off versions by the Chinese or Eastern Europeans, elbowing Russia out of this market.

    The Russian arms trade business with Syria has depended in recent years on large and complex anti-aircraft systems. They violate no United Nations sanctions, he said, and cannot be used against civilians in a domestic conflict.

    “We just send them to Syria,” he said. “Ask the Syrians where they put them.”

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  6. #366
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    MOSCOW, June 15. / ITAR-TASS /. The Black Sea Fleet of Russia in readiness for the long march to Syria has several warships, told Itar-Tass source in the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

    "Due to the fact that the Mediterranean is the responsibility of our Black Sea fleet, it is realistic that in the case of having to go back battleships to perform tasks to ensure the safety point of logistics of the Russian navy at Tartus, Russia leased from Syria, "- said the source ITAR-TASS reported.

    "In full readiness to sail on the team are several Black Sea Fleet warships, including the large amphibious ships with the units of marines on board," - said a source in the General Staff.


    Interlocutor ITAR-TASS news agency has categorically denied reports by some U.S. media that one of the warships of the Black Sea Fleet has already gone to Tartus. "All our ships are based in Sevastopol, except for the large landing ship" Caesar Kunikov, "but he is not from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, on the contrary, from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea after a stay in the Italian port of Messina on Saturday and will arrive in Sevastopol" - said a source in the General Staff. "Either the Americans not working intelligence, or they are poorly taught in school geography" - suggested the Russian military commander.

    As reported from Washington correspondent. ITAR-TASS, Ivan Lebedev, the United States have data that Russia has sent Syria a small group of soldiers to guard the sea port of Tartus. According to broadcaster CNN-BBC, quoting U.S. officials, the Russian military followed in Tartus, "one of the ships of the Navy."

    The foreign policy advisor to U.S. President Ben Rhodes told reporters that the White House "dealt" with reportage CNN-BBC, but in principle does not comment on reports that can be based on information obtained from intelligence sources. In turn, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said she knew about the reportage CNN-BBC, but to confirm this information can not be.

    In January, has already visited Tartus naval carrier group of the Russian Navy, led by heavy aircraft carrying cruiser "Admiral Kuznetsov". Sunset in the Syrian port was caused by the need to replenish stocks and conduct routine maintenance of means of ships.

    In Tartus is the only Russian military base outside the former Soviet Union - point logistics, which can base our warships, performing tasks in the Mediterranean. The base was established in 1971, its presence in Tartus formalized by an appropriate agreement with the Syrian government.

    © ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved

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  7. #367
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    Riyadh to Beijing: We’ll Pay for Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles with All the Oil You Need
    DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security .




    Dong-Feng 21 ballistic missiles
    King Abdullah restored National Security Adviser Prince Bandar bin Sultan to favor for a very special mission. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and intelligence sources reveal that the talented former ambassador to the US was recently brought back from exile to conduct secret negotiations with China for the oil kingdom’s acquisition of single-nuclear warhead, medium-range MRBM ballistic missiles – the Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21) model (NATO code name CSS-5).
    After acting as the king’s confidential coordinator of Saudi intelligence in the Arab revolt, Bandar removed himself (or was removed) some months ago from Riyadh to escape the royal infighting plaguing the court.
    Facing him across the negotiating table in Beijing was Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie who reported directly to Chinese President Hu Jintao.
    The first Saudi approach for these missiles was made when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on the Saudi monarch on January 15. In their official communiqué, the two leaders announced they had “agreed to make concerted efforts to enhance bilateral relations under a strategic framework.”
    The phrase “under a strategic framework” referred to the Saudi request for Chinese nuclear missiles.

    The Saudis keep one-third of their missiles ready for instant launch

    Saudi Arabia’s present arsenal, our military sources report, contains three Chinese CSS-2 ballistic missile batteries from the 1970s (IRBM, with conventional warheads and a range of 2,600 kilometers), the oldest type of liquid propellant ballistic missiles in the Chinese inventory.
    Responsible for their maintenance is a Chinese missile corps battalion composed mostly of missile technicians who are employed at three military facilities – Sulail, 500 kilometers south of Riyadh near the Khamis Mushait military complex, which is Headquarters of the Saudi Southern Area Command and home to the Field Artillery and Infantry Schools and to the King Khalid Air Base; Prince Sultan Air Base in Al Kharj, 77 kilometers south of Riyadh; and Al-Dilam, also south of Riyadh and bordering on the Sultan Air Base.
    DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources note that the Saudis keep their ballistic missiles in three stages of readiness – those at Sulail sit on pads prepared for instantaneous launch; those at Al Kharj are also on launching pads with their tanks half full; and the third group is still in storage at Al-Dilam.
    The newest updated variants of the DF-21s are capable of delivering either nuclear warheads or conventional weapons. They have a maximum range of 1,700 kilometers and a payload of 600 kg. Submunitions with high explosives and chemical warheads are believed to be available.

    A colossal price payable in 23 years’ worth of oil supplies

    Confident that Washington was unaware of the secret negotiations going on in Beijing, our intelligence sources report the Saudis offered the Chinese two major incentives for the deal:
    1. The fabulous sum of $60 billion in payment for the purchase of the missiles. Part of the package would be the construction of new bases to house them in Saudi desert regions most inaccessible for Iranian attack.
    2. Since solid investment outlets are hard to find in the global economy’s present state and Beijing suffers from a surfeit of cash, Bandar also put on the table as part of the price a long-term Saudi commitment to cover all of China’s oil needs until the year 2035, no matter what happens in the interim and irrespective even of an oil crisis besetting the desert kingdom.
    Never before has any oil-producing country offered such terms – least of all the world’s largest oil exporter. In effect, Gulf sources point out, Riyadh agreed to open its oil fields to partial Chinese control for the sake of gaining nuclear missiles.
    Not surprisingly, Chinese President Hu informed the Saudi King of his assent to the transaction once all the particulars are ironed out.
    One of the weightiest would be the criteria to be fixed for calculating the price of oil on sale to China and the number of barrels; whether the baseline would be the 2020 or 2030 market prices.

    Back-up talks for Pakistan’s Gauri nuclear missiles

    Also to be decided is how China will get around its signature on the Missile Technology Control Regime, the MTCR, an informal and voluntary association of countries dedicated to the non-proliferation of unmanned systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
    Another snag is presented by the commitments Riyadh undertook in signing nuclear conventions at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
    DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s intelligence sources report further that Saudi Arabia has launched back-up negotiations with Pakistan for the purchase of its Ghauri nuclear ballistic missiles in case the transaction with China falls through.

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  8. #368
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    Who they gonna aim 'em at?
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Reuters) - The White House said on Saturday it was consulting with international partners on "next steps" in the Syrian crisis after U.N. observers suspended operations there in response to violence that has escalated despite a ceasefire deal.

    "We call again on the Syrian regime to uphold its commitments under the Annan plan, including the full implementation of a ceasefire," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

    U.S. officials have voiced growing skepticism about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's willingness to comply with the tattered plan brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan.

    But Washington and its Western allies have shown no appetite for a Libya-style military intervention even as Moscow has helped shield Assad from tougher U.N. measures.

    "At this critical juncture, we are consulting with our international partners regarding next steps toward a Syrian-led political transition as called for in Security Council resolutions," Vietor said. But he provided no specifics.

    "The sooner this transition takes place, the greater the chance of averting a lengthy and bloody sectarian civil war," Vietor said.

    Chief monitor General Robert Mood said earlier the fighting in Syria posed a threat to his unarmed observers and prevented them from carrying out their mandate to oversee Annan's widely ignored April 12 ceasefire. One of the observer mission's patrols was fired upon four days ago.

    Diplomats say Mood is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council on Monday or Tuesday about the unrest in Syria.

    U.S. President Barack Obama will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Mexico, but expectations are low for any significant progress for breaking the deadlock on Syria.

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    US military intervention in Syria – “Not if but when”
    DEBKAfile Special Report June 16, 2012, 3:51 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Syria US military action Russian military Syrian rebels

    As the violence in Syria continued to go from bad to worse in scope and intensity, US official sources had this to say Saturday, June 16, about planned US military operations in the war-torn country:
    “The intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”
    A Syrian Free Army rebel delegation is now in Washington to talk about their requests for heavy weapons from the Obama administration. In their meetings with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the State Department’s expert on Syria Fred Hof, the rebel leaders handed in two lists for approval: types of heavy weapons capable of challenging Bashar Assad’s armed forces and selected targets of attack to destabilize his regime.
    DEBKAfile’s Washington sources disclose that the administration is very near a decision on the types of weapons to be shipped to the Syrian rebels and when. Most of the items Washington is ready to send have been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are ready for shipment.
    The White House is also close to deciding on the format of its military operation in Syria. Some sources are defining it as “Libya lite” – that is, a reduced-scale version of the no-fly zone imposed on Libya two years ago and the direct air and other strikes which toppled the Qaddafi regime.
    Following reports of approaching US military intervention in Syria and a Russian marine contingent heading for Tartus port, the UN observer mission in Syria has suspended operations and patrols. Its commander Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said, “Violence has been intensifying over the past 10 days by both parties with losses and significant risks to our observers.”
    He said the risk is approaching an unacceptable level and could prompt the 300 observers to pull out of the country.
    Friday, June 15, DEBKAfile reported:
    A contingent of Russian special forces is on its way to Syria to guard the Russian navy’s deep-water port at the Syria’s Mediterranean coastal town of Tartus, Pentagon officials informed US NBC TV Friday, June 15. They are coming by ship. According to DEBKAfile’s sources, the contingent is made up of naval marines and is due to land in Syria in the coming hours.
    In a separate and earlier announcement, US Defense Department sources in Washington reported that the US military had completed its own planning for a variety of US operations against Syria, or for assisting neighboring countries in the event action was ordered – a reference, according to our sources, to Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
    The Syrian civil war is now moving into a new phase of major power military intervention, say DEBKAfile’s military sources. Moscow, by sending troops to Syria without UN Security Council approval, has set a precedent for the United States, the European Union and Arab governments to follow. They all held back from sending troops to Syria because all motions to apply force for halting the bloodshed in Syria were blocked in the UN body by Russia and China.
    According to US military sources, in recent weeks, the Pentagon has finalized its assessment of what types of units would be needed and how many troops. The military planning includes a scenario for a no-fly zone as well as protecting chemical and biological sites. The U.S. Navy is maintaining a presence of three surface combatants and a submarine in the eastern Mediterranean to conduct electronic surveillance and reconnaissance on the Syrian regime, a senior Pentagon official said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    Who they gonna aim 'em at?
    The Persians

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    Companion Article




    Russia may send warships to Syria

    MOSCOW, June 16, 2012

    Vladimir Radyuhin



    Russia may send warships and troops to Syria to protect its logistics base in Tartous, according to a Russian military source.

    “It is quite possible that warships of the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet may go to the Mediterranean Sea in case it is necessary to protect the Russian logistics base in Tartous, Syria, since is a zone of the Fleet’s responsibility,” a source in the Russian General Staff told the Itar-Tass government news agency.

    “Several warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, including large landing ships with marines aboard, are fully prepared to take to the sea,” the source said.

    The plan was announced shortly after France said the West mulled military interference in the Syrian crisis to unseat President Bashar Al-Assad.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday that his country would push for a U.N. Security Council resolution to enforce Syria’s compliance with special envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan under the threat of sanctions, legal action or even military intervention. He said the imposition of no-fly zones was being considered as “one of the options” to “stop this regime of death and blood.”

    The U.S. television network NBC quoted intelligence sources on Friday as saying that a Russian warship carrying a small contingent of troops was already en route to Tartus to provide security for the installation. However, the Russian General Staff source denied the report.

    A group of Russian warships led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser visited Tartous in January to replenish supplies and give maintenance to ship systems.

    A few days earlier U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Russia was supplying attack helicopters to Syria, an allegation strongly denied by Russia’s Foreign Ministry. The State Department later backed away, saying that Ms Clinton was speaking about helicopters being refurbished in Russia and returned to Syria.

    Asked about Ms Clinton’s statement Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:

    “Russia is completing deliveries under contracts signed and paid for long ago. All these contracts involve only air defence systems… We don’t provide Syria or anyone else with systems that are used against peaceful demonstrators, unlike the United States, which regularly supplies such equipment to the region.”

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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    Default Re: Syria

    US military intervention in Syria – “Not if but when”

    DEBKAfile Special Report June 16, 2012, 3:51 PM (GMT+02:00)



    As the violence in Syria continued to go from bad to worse in scope and intensity, US official sources had this to say Saturday, June 16, about planned US military operations in the war-torn country:

    “The intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”

    A Syrian Free Army rebel delegation is now in Washington to talk about their requests for heavy weapons from the Obama administration. In their meetings with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the State Department’s expert on Syria Fred Hof, the rebel leaders handed in two lists for approval: types of heavy weapons capable of challenging Bashar Assad’s armed forces and selected targets of attack to destabilize his regime.

    debkafile’s Washington sources disclose that the administration is very near a decision on the types of weapons to be shipped to the Syrian rebels and when. Most of the items Washington is ready to send have been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are ready for shipment.

    The White House is also close to deciding on the format of its military operation in Syria. Some sources are defining it as “Libya lite” – that is, a reduced-scale version of the no-fly zone imposed on Libya two years ago and the direct air and other strikes which toppled the Qaddafi regime.

    Following reports of approaching US military intervention in Syria and a Russian marine contingent heading for Tartus port, the UN observer mission in Syria has suspended operations and patrols. Its commander Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said, “Violence has been intensifying over the past 10 days by both parties with losses and significant risks to our observers.”

    He said the risk is approaching an unacceptable level and could prompt the 300 observers to pull out of the country.

    Friday, June 15, debkafile reported:

    A contingent of Russian special forces is on its way to Syria to guard the Russian navy’s deep-water port at the Syria’s Mediterranean coastal town of Tartus, Pentagon officials informed US NBC TV Friday, June 15. They are coming by ship. According to debkafile’s sources, the contingent is made up of naval marines and is due to land in Syria in the coming hours.

    In a separate and earlier announcement, US Defense Department sources in Washington reported that the US military had completed its own planning for a variety of US operations against Syria, or for assisting neighboring countries in the event action was ordered – a reference, according to our sources, to Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

    The Syrian civil war is now moving into a new phase of major power military intervention, say debkafile’s military sources. Moscow, by sending troops to Syria without UN Security Council approval, has set a precedent for the United States, the European Union and Arab governments to follow. They all held back from sending troops to Syria because all motions to apply force for halting the bloodshed in Syria were blocked in the UN body by Russia and China.

    According to US military sources, in recent weeks, the Pentagon has finalized its assessment of what types of units would be needed and how many troops. The military planning includes a scenario for a no-fly zone as well as protecting chemical and biological sites. The U.S. Navy is maintaining a presence of three surface combatants and a submarine in the eastern Mediterranean to conduct electronic surveillance and reconnaissance on the Syrian regime, a senior Pentagon official said.

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  14. #374
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    Default Re: Syria

    June 18, 2012 7:38 AM

    Russia sending navy ships to Syria amid uprising




    Russian sailors do their morning exercises near a Navy vessel in the bay of the Ukrainian city Sevastopol, the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Sept. 6, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)
    The Arab Spring




    (CBS/AP) MOSCOW - The Interfax news agency said Monday that two Russian navy ships are to sail to Syria to protect Russian citizens and its naval base there. This would mark the first time since the uprising in Syria started that Russia is sending extra troops to its base in Syria.


    Interfax quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying that the Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov amphibious assault vessels will be heading to the Syrian port of Tartus, but didn't give a precise date. The official said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate materials from Tartus if necessary.


    CBS News confirmed with the Russian navy that the two ships were ordered to go to Syria to protect its assets and was working to confirm whether the ships would be carrying additional military personnel.


    Special Section: The Arab Spring
    U.N. demands evacuation of civilians from Homs
    U.N. observers halt operations in Syria


    The Defense Ministry had no immediate comment, and an official at the Russian Black Sea fleet declined to comment. Tartus is Russia's only naval base outside the former Soviet Union with Russian personnel of an unspecified size. The bulk of Russian military men in Syria are military advisers teaching Syrians how to use Russian weapons.


    Russia has shielded Syria's regime from international sanctions over its crackdown on protests. It also continued to provide it with arms.


    Opposition groups say more than 14,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad's autocratic regime. But a ferocious government crackdown led many to take up arms, and the conflict is now an armed insurgency.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  15. #375
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    Default Re: Syria

    Report: Russia to send marines to Syria

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV – 1 hour ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Two Russian navy ships are completing preparations to sail to Syria with a unit of marines on a mission to protect Russian citizens and the nation's base there, a news report said Monday. The deployment appears to reflect Moscow's growing concern about Syrian President Bashar Assad's future.

    The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying that the two amphibious landing vessels, Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov, will be heading shortly to the Syrian port of Tartus, but didn't give a precise date.

    The official said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate some equipment from Tartus if necessary.

    Interfax said each of the ships is capable of carrying 150 marines and a dozen tanks.

    It also quoted a deputy Russian air force chief as saying that Russia will give the necessary protection to its citizens in Syria.

    "We must protect our citizens," Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Gradusov was quoted by Interfax as saying. "We won't abandon the Russians and evacuate them from the conflict zone if necessary."

    Asked whether the air force would provide air support for the navy squadron, Gradusov said they will act on orders.

    The Defense Ministry had no immediate comment, and an official at the Russian Black Sea fleet declined to comment.

    Tartus is Russia's only naval base outside the former Soviet Union, serving Russian navy ships on missions to the Mediterranean and hosting an unspecified number of military personnel.

    Russia also has an unspecified number of military advisers teaching Syrians how to use Russian weapons, which make up the bulk of Syrian arsenals.

    Syria is Russia's last remaining ally in the Middle East, and has been a major customer of Soviet and Russian weapons industries for the last four decades, acquiring billions of dollars worth of combat jets, helicopters, missiles, armored vehicles and other military gear.

    Russia has shielded Assad's regime from international sanctions over its violent crackdown on protests. Moscow also has continued to provide Syria with arms despite Western calls for a halt in supplies.

    Opposition groups say more than 14,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad's autocratic regime. But a ferocious government crackdown led many to take up arms, and the conflict is now an armed insurgency.

    Russia has criticized Assad for slow reforms and heavy-handed use of force, but has strongly opposed any sanctions or foreign interference in Syrian affairs.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Syria

    US enlists UK clout to stop Syria-bound Russian ship

    Published: 18 June, 2012, 09:08




    MI-24 helicopter (AFP Photo / Genia Savilov)


    The US government has enlisted Britain's help in a bid to stop a cargo ship suspected of carrying Russian attack helicopters and munitions to Syria. Curiously, the media mention a model of chopper which does not exist.


    ­Washington is painting the alleged shipment as being in breach of the Syrian arms embargo, with a view to affecting the ship’s insurance cover.


    The MV Alaed is a multipurpose twin-deck cargo vessel operated by Russia’s FEMCO Group. It is allegedly making its way to the conflict zone in Syria via the North Sea after picking up helicopters from the Russian Baltic port of Kaliningrad.


    The current European Union arms embargo against Syria, imposed in May last year, suggests a ban on the "transfer or export" of arms and any related "brokering" services, including insurance.


    The American government is presumably trying to use this legislation to force the vessel's London-based insurer to withdraw its cover. This would make it difficult for the ship to dock legally in ports and could force it to return the cargo to the port of origin.


    Interestingly, all the media sources refer to “Mil Mi-25” helicopter, suggesting a single source of information. No such model, however, has ever been produced by the Moscow chopper-maker Mil Helicopters.


    Washington’s request to London comes after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week triggered a diplomatic ruction between Moscow and Washington when she lashed out at Russia over a shipment of attack helicopters, which she said the Syrian government could use in a crackdown on the opposition forces.


    “We are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria,” she said.


    It was later revealed that the aircraft in question were not new machines, but rather Syrian-owned helicopters, which Russian engineers had overhauled under a standing contract at Mil’s premises in Kaliningrad. The choppers are believed to be part of a 36-strong consignment ordered by the Syrian government at the end of the Soviet era.


    Moscow responded heatedly to the accusations. Speaking in Tehran on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that Russia does not sell to the Syrian government any arms which could be used against the opposition, unlike the US, which sells anti-riot equipment to the governments of its Gulf region allies. The minister was referring to US supplying crowd control arms to Bahrain and other controversial allies, who are known to suppress domestic dissent with force.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Syria

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Syrian forces pound cities; Russia readies marines

    By Erika Solomon

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian security forces pounded opposition areas across the country on Monday, activists said, adding that at least 23 people had been killed in clashes they say have escalated since international observers suspended their mission.


    Residents carry the body of Mousa Khadra, whom protesters say was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, during his funeral in Ybroud, near Damascus, June 17, 2012. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

    Activists said artillery had targeted Douma, a town 15 km (9.3 miles) outside the capital Damascus. The town has for weeks been under the partial control of rebels who have joined the 15-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.


    "We can't even accurately count the dead because we have so many injured people to treat, there's no time to think about anything else," said an activist in Douma who called himself Ziad.


    "The army attacks all the time. They have tanks, missiles, mortars, and artillery. Even helicopters have fired on us. People can't escape because the army is surrounding the town."


    The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across Syria, said at least 23 people had been killed by midday on Monday, seven of them in Douma.


    In a sign it fears Syria's conflict could escalate further, an unnamed Russian naval source said Moscow was preparing to send marines to Syria in the event it needed to protect personnel and remove equipment from its naval facility in Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartous, according to the Interfax news agency.


    Russia is one of the Syrian government's staunchest backers and supports Assad's argument that foreign-backed terrorists are behind the unrest. Moscow has repeatedly urged Western and Arab countries, who mostly back the rebels, to rein in their support in order to stem the violence.


    International outrage over Syria has grown in recent weeks after two reported massacres of nearly two hundred civilians, most of them from the Sunni Muslim majority population that has led the revolt. Assad comes from Syria's Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has mostly backed the president.


    Heavier fighting and apparent sectarian killings have led many, including the head of U.N. peacekeeping forces, to brand the violence a civil war.


    The international community's efforts to halt the violence are deadlocked because Russia and China, which both wield vetoes in the Security Council, have blocked tougher action against Assad. They say the solution should be through political dialogue, an approach most of the Syrian opposition rejects.


    Western powers have been pushing for stronger measures to be taken against Assad, whose forces have not only used artillery in recent weeks, but helicopter gunships against rebels in civilian areas.


    U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the Syria crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet in Mexico on Monday. But few observers expect a breakthrough.


    Relations between Washington and Moscow have further frayed after a week of Cold War-style recriminations over Syria.


    TRAPPED IN BOMBARDED HOMS


    The head of the United Nations observation mission, General Robert Mood, is scheduled on Tuesday to brief the U.N. Security Council in New York on the violence in Syria.


    The mission recently halted its operations due to security concerns, and Mood said on Sunday he was worried about civilians trapped in central Homs.


    "In Homs attempts to extract civilians form the line of fire over the past week have been unsuccessful," he said in a statement. "This requires willingness on both sides (of the conflict) to respect and protect the human life of the Syrian people."


    Residents in Homs, the bloody epicentre of the revolt against Assad, said their city has been pummelled daily by mortar and rocket fire since early June.


    "It's getting worse since the UN observers suspended their mission," wrote Alaa, who said he was a Homs resident but would only give his first name.


    "There are tanks shooting now and most stores are closed. The streets are blocked by security barriers and cement blocks."


    Bernard Valero, a spokesman for the French foreign ministry, said the "relentless repression of the regime, and in particular in the city of Homs" meant it was more necessary than ever for the United Nations to enforce Kofi Annan's failing peace plan.


    France has called on the United Nations to invoke Chapter VII - which can authorise the use of force - to impose the plan brokered by international mediator Annan, including a widely ignored April 12 ceasefire agreement.


    U.N. monitors say violence has been escalating rapidly in Syria, where peaceful protests were overtaken by an armed insurgency several months ago in response to Assad's crackdown on dissent.


    In Geneva, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the government's use of heavy arms and shelling in populated areas could amount to war crimes, and called on the international community to act.


    "I urge the international community to overcome its divisions and work to end the violence and human rights violations to which the people of Syria have been subjected," she said.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  18. #378
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    Default Re: Syria

    US, Russian leaders jockey for leverage on Iran, Syria in first meeting since Putin’s return


    (Haraz N. Ghanbari, File/ Associated Press ) - FILE - In this July 7, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama shakes hands with then-Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow. With global anxiety rising, President Barack Obama is searching for bolder, swifter signals from Europe that it will contain its fiscal mess and keep it from torpedoing the U.S. economy and his re-election chances along with it. Yet as he prepares to plunge into summit talks with the other world leaders, Obama is down to the power of persuasion and little else.







    By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, June 18, 1:05 AM


    SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico — President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin need one another, an uncomfortable truth for the superpower leader waging a tough re-election campaign and the newly elected Russian leader who is deeply suspicious of the United States.


    The two men will use their meeting Monday, the first since Putin returned to Russia’s top job, to claim leverage. Much of the rest of the Group of 20 economic meeting will be devoted to the European fiscal crisis and the fate of Greece as a part of the euro zone.



    “I expect that it will be a candid discussion, it will get down to business,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said ahead of the lengthy morning meeting between Obama and Putin.


    “We’ll be able to sustain cooperation in some areas, we’ll have differences in other areas, and we’ll work to try to bridge those differences.”


    The G-20 gathering is a natural forum for sideline discussions of the urgent crisis in Syria as well as diplomatic efforts to head off a confrontation with Iran. Russia is a linchpin in world efforts to resolve both crises, and to U.S. goals for the smooth shutdown of the war in Afghanistan. In the longer term, Obama wants Russia’s continued cooperation in nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.


    Obama made a special project of Russia in his first term and arguably needs Moscow’s help even more if he wins a second one. He is trying to avoid a distracting public spat with Russia during this election year, as suggested by an overheard remark to outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in March. Obama told Medvedev he would have more flexibility to answer Russian complaints about a U.S.-built missile defense shield in Europe after the November election.


    Things got off to a rocky start with Putin, when Obama pointedly withheld a customary congratulatory phone call to Putin until days after his May election. Putin appeared to snub Obama by skipping the smaller and weightier Group of Eight meeting that Obama hosted later that month at Camp David, and a planned Oval Office welcome for the new Russian leader.


    The rescheduled Obama-Putin meeting comes the same day as Moscow hosts an international negotiating session with Iran. Russia has gone along with U.N. Security Council efforts to tighten some penalties against Iran because of questions about its nuclear weapons ambitions, but has blocked the harshest punishments.



    Still, the United States needs Russia’s participation to lend legitimacy to the argument that Iran faces broad international condemnation. Iran usually paints the dispute over its nuclear program as a confrontation with the U.S. and its ally Israel.
    Brutal attacks on anti-government protesters in Syria and the threat of civil war in the Mideast nation pose the most immediate crisis.


    Diplomatic hopes have rested on Washington and Moscow agreeing on a transition plan that would end the four-decade Assad family rule. Russia, as Syria’s longtime ally and trading partner, is seen as the best broker for a deal that could give Syrian President Bashar Assad political refuge. So far, Moscow has said no.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  19. #379
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    Default Re: Syria

    Report: Russia to send navy ships carrying marines to Syria to protect military base


    View Photo Gallery — Conflict in Syria: Violence reportedly increases in the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.




    By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, June 18, 4:08 AM


    MOSCOW — Two Russian navy ships are completing preparations to sail to Syria with a unit of marines on a mission to protect Russian citizens and the nation’s base there, a news report said Monday. The deployment appears to reflect Moscow’s growing concern about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s future.
    The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying that the two amphibious landing vessels, Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov, will be heading shortly to the Syrian port of Tartus, but didn’t give a precise date.




    A look at the Syrian uprising one year later. Thousands of Syrians have died and President Bashar al-Assad remains in power, despite numerous calls by the international community for him to step down.






    The official said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate some equipment from Tartus if necessary.


    Interfax said each of the ships is capable of carrying 150 marines and a dozen tanks.


    It also quoted a deputy Russian air force chief as saying that Russia will give the necessary protection to its citizens in Syria.


    “We must protect our citizens,” Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Gradusov was quoted by Interfax as saying. “We won’t abandon the Russians and evacuate them from the conflict zone if necessary.”


    Asked whether the air force would provide air support for the navy squadron, Gradusov said they will act on orders.


    The Defense Ministry had no immediate comment, and an official at the Russian Black Sea fleet declined to comment.


    Tartus is Russia’s only naval base outside the former Soviet Union, serving Russian navy ships on missions to the Mediterranean and hosting an unspecified number of military personnel.


    Russia also has an unspecified number of military advisers teaching Syrians how to use Russian weapons, which make up the bulk of Syrian arsenals.


    Syria is Russia’s last remaining ally in the Middle East, and has been a major customer of Soviet and Russian weapons industries for the last four decades, acquiring billions of dollars worth of combat jets, helicopters, missiles, armored vehicles and other military gear.


    Russia has shielded Assad’s regime from international sanctions over its violent crackdown on protests. Moscow also has continued to provide Syria with arms despite Western calls for a halt in supplies.


    Opposition groups say more than 14,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad’s autocratic regime. But a ferocious government crackdown led many to take up arms, and the conflict is now an armed insurgency.


    Russia has criticized Assad for slow reforms and heavy-handed use of force, but has strongly opposed any sanctions or foreign interference in Syrian affairs.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Syria

    First Published: 2012-06-18


    Russia-US talks on Assad begin with deployment of Russian warships to Syria
    Talks at Group of 20 summit in Mexico will test whether two leaders can forge working relationship, find common ground on Syria, other festering disputes.
    Middle East Online

    Obama-Putin: Mistrust prevails

    MOSCOW – Russia is preparing to send two warships to the Syrian port of Tartus, where Moscow operates a strategic naval base, to ensure the safety of its nationals, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.


    The report comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to meet his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos later Monday amid tensions over Syria clouding bilateral ties.


    "Two major amphibious ships -- The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov -- are preparing to be dispatched to Tartus outside of their schedule," the Russian news agency quoted an unidentified officer from the Russian naval headquarters as saying.


    The two ships will carry a "large" group of marines, Interfax added. There was no official confirmation of the report from the navy or the defence ministry.


    The Tsezar Kunikov can carry 150 landing troops and various armaments including tanks, while The Nikolai Filchenkov can carry up to 1,500 tonnes of cargo and equipment, the report said.


    Interfax said that the ships could be used to evacuate Russian nationals.
    "The crews of The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov and SB-15 rescue tug together with marines on board are able to ensure security of Russian nationals and evacuate part of the property of the logistical support base if need be," Interfax quoted a source as saying.


    The protracted conflict between the ruling regime and the opposition in Syria shows no signs of easing.


    The opposition has demanded the deployment of armed peacekeepers after UN observers halted their work because of bloodshed.


    Russia and its ally China have previously blocked earlier attempts at the UN Security Council to condemn Damascus and have shielded Assad's regime from further pressure amid accusations that Moscow has been sending weapons to Damascus.


    United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused Russia of fuelling the violence by sending attack helicopters to Syria, which she said were "on the way" and would "escalate the conflict quite dramatically."


    Russia angrily retorted that it was not making any new deliveries and had only carried out repairs of helicopters sent there many years ago.
    Syria, one of the few countries to back Russia in its war with Georgia in 2008, is Moscow's close ally from the Soviet-era and a major purchaser of its arms.


    Putin's predecessor at the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev, travelled to Damascus in 2010 in the first ever visit to the country by a Russian or Soviet head of state.


    During talks with Assad he promised Russian assistance to Syria in reconstructing its oil and gas infrastructure and even in building a nuclear power station.


    Over the past months the Kremlin has distanced itself from Assad but is sticking to its hard line, ruling out foreign intervention and insisting Assad's fate should be decided by Syrians themselves.

    Libertatem Prius!


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