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Thread: Syria

  1. #381
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    Default Re: Syria

    (Yes, this is not Syria specific... but)

    USed weapons giveaway in Central Asia concerns Russia


    Published: 18 June, 2012, 15:35






    Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers look at mortars during a weapons exhibition of military equipment donated to the ANA by the United States and other countries at the defence ministry in Kabul (AFP Photo / Shah Marai)


    As US and NATO forces prepare to withdrawal from Afghanistan, speculation is rife that the Pentagon may provide used weapons to some Central Asian countries, thus complicating Russia’s military cooperation in the region.


    While the handover of used military equipment by the Pentagon to Central Asian republics after the withdrawal of the ISAF forces from Afghanistan does not conflict with the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) agreements, it could complicate Russia's military-technical cooperation with the former Soviet partners, defense expert Vladimir Kudelev told Interfax-AVN on Friday.


    "There is no conflict with the CSTO agreements here because basically we are talking about second-hand auxiliary equipment currently being used as materiel and technical support by theInternational Security Assistance Force," said Kudelev, the leading scientist at the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies.


    After the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the military equipment used by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) may be transferred to Central Asian countries, Asia-Plus, citing Kommersant newspaper, reported.


    The Pentagon is negotiating weapon transfers with the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.


    Some weapons will be transferred to these countries without charge and some – for safekeeping. It has also been reported that the US is negotiating on the possible transfer of medical equipment, communications and fire-fighting equipment.


    A source in the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry said the issue was raised in March during a meeting between US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his Kyrgyz counterpart Talaibek Omuraliev.


    Meanwhile, Afghan authorities are trying to persuade US military officials to leave the maximum amount of equipment behind for their national army and police, the Afghan president's administration told the newspaper.


    According to Russian diplomats, the transfer of NATO troops to Central Asian countries contradicts the agreements within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).



    In December, the leaders of the CSTO, which include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, agreed that the military bases of third countries can be placed on the territory of the organization's participants only following unanimous consent of all participants.


    The subject could be discussed between President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama, who are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the G20 meeting Los Cabos, Mexico, held on June 18-19.
    Last edited by American Patriot; June 18th, 2012 at 13:56.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  2. #382
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    Default Re: Syria

    Companion Thread:



    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
    Russia prepares army for Syrian deployment

    The details of the operational plan are being prepared by the working parties of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, to which most of the post-Soviet states belong, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to which China and Russia belong.

    According to the newspaper report, deployment depends on the decision of the Russian government and the UN. However, the plans also foresee that the troops might intervene without UN approval. The Russian government has so far not confirmed the report.

    On Monday last week, three Russian warships were sighted off the Syrian coast. An anonymous source from the Russian government told the Iranian newspaper Tehran Times that Moscow wants to show NATO that it will not allow any military operation against Damascus under the guise of a humanitarian mission.
    Why would you turn over military weapons and logistical equipment to the very Organizations (CSTO/SCO back by both Russia and China) preparing operational plans to counter your presence in the very same region?





    Today Obama and Putin meet one on one for negotiations.

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  3. #383
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russian Commandos 'to Escort Assad Out of Syria'

    Voice of Israel cites Russian reports that say Russian commandos may sail to Syria to escort Assad to safety.

    By Gil Ronen First Publish: 6/18/2012, 1:35 PM


    A child at Syrian rebel rally


    Ships carrying Russian commandos may soon sail to Syria to escort strongman Bashar Assad to safety from the country where a rebellion against him is growing fiercer.

    Reports to this effect were cited by Voice of Israel radio's veteran "listener" Miki Gurdus, who specializes in listening to radio broadcasts on various frequencies worldwide.

    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 be the first time since the current rebellion in Syria began that Russia is sending extra troops to its base in Syria.

    Cited by the Associated Press, 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. The ships appear not to have left their home port in Sevastopol on the Black Sea yet.

    The Russian official mentioned nothing about evacuating Assad, but said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate materials from Tartus if necessary.

    Russia has shielded Damascus from international sanctions over its bloody crackdown on the rebellion against the minority Alawite regime. Russia also continued to provide the regime with arms.

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  4. #384
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia to send ships, tanks and marines to Syria

    by Phantom Report on June 18, 2012



    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.

    Each ship is capable of carrying up to 300 marines and a dozen tanks, according to Russian media reports. That would make it the largest known Russian troop deployment to Syria, signaling that Moscow is becoming increasingly uneasy about Syria’s slide toward civil war.

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

    Update:
    Russian Commandos ‘to Escort Assad Out of Syria’ [???, With complete blackout of any real media coverage from Syria, it is difficult to determine what is fact and what is complete propaganda BS- Phantom Report]

    “We must protect our citizens,” Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Gradusov was quoted as saying. “We won’t abandon the Russians and will 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 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.

    Russian officials have said that other Russian navy ships that have called at Tartus this year also had marines on board, but it has remained unclear whether they rotated the troops at Tartus or simply protected the ships during their mission and returned home.

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

    Read More: AP/Times of Israel

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  5. #385
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia flies anti-air, anti-ship missiles to Assad as its fleet heads to Tartus

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 17, 2012, 8:47 AM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Syria Barack Obama Vladimir Putin Russian warships Tartus no-fly zone


    Russian marine landing craft

    Moscow is using the time up until Russian President Vladimir Putin faces US President Barack Obama across the G20 conference table in Los Cabos, Mexico Sunday, June 17 - or in its corridors - to ship sophisticated arms to Syria able to prevent a no-fly zone and a fleet of warships to the Mediterranean port of Tartus.

    While Pentagon sources Friday disclosed the approach of a “small contingent” of Russian warships to Tartus, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources have discovered that heading for the Russian base at this Syrian port is a Russian fleet that includes Ropucha-toad or Project 775 class landing-craft carrying Russian marines. Each craft can carry 250 marine personnel and 500-ton armored vehicles.

    And flying overhead are Russian air transports that are touching down at Syrian air bases bearing, according to our sources, a variety of sophisticated munitions for the Syrian army: advanced Russian Pantsyr-S1 anti-air missiles capable of hitting fighter-bombers flying at an altitude of 12 kilometers and cruise missiles; self-propelled medium range anti-air Buk-M2 missiles (NATO codenamed SA-11). They are capable of downing aircraft flying at an altitude of 14 kilometers and Mach 32 speed; and shore-based Bastion anti-ship missiles which can reach vessels sailing 300 kilometers out to sea.

    Russia is, in a word, supplying Bashar Assad, his regime and his army, with the very weapons they may need for warding off Western and Arab air efforts to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, while at the same time enabling him to repel seaborne assaults by his foes from the Mediterranean.

    Since Syrian units have not been trained in the use of these advanced weapons, they are mostly likely coming with Russian technical teams to operate them - although they would be presented as “instructors.”

    The Russians are not trying to conceal their military intervention in Syria in support of the Assad regime.

    Friday, June 16, Anatoly P. Isaykin, director of Rosoboronexport (the Russian state arms export authority) said quite openly: I would like to say these mechanisms are really good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from air or sea. This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this.” The next day, Saturday, 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 in case it is necessary to protect the Russian logistics base in Tartus, Syria, since it is a zone of the Fleet’s responsibility.”

    debkafile’s sources in Washington, Moscow and the Persian Gulf expect the Russian and US presidents to get together in the course of the G20 summit for a meeting that will determine whether or not the US and its European and Arab allies go forward with their planned military intervention in Syria.

    Agreement between the two presidents on their Syria and Iran policies could arrest this plan, whereas their failure to agree would quicken its pace.

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  6. #386
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    Default Re: Syria

    Report: Russia Moves to Defend Syria Base

    18 June 2012
    The Moscow Times


    Channel One

    The Admiral Kuznetsov cruiser on its way to the Russian base at the Syrian port of Tartus in January.

    Russia is preparing to send marines to defend its naval base in Syria, amid continued unrest in the Arab state, Interfax reported on Monday, citing a Navy source.

    Two large troop transport vessels and a rescue tugboat will defend Russian citizens and infrastructure in the port city of Tartus and also evacuate equipment if necessary, the source said.

    Tartus is home to Russia's only naval base outside the former Soviet Union.

    The report did not say when the ships would arrive or how many marines would accompany them.

    Syria's close relationship with Moscow dates back to the Cold War, and Russia has helped block international sanctions against the Syrian government.

    The West accuses President Bashar Assad's forces, often armed with Russian-made weapons, of killing thousands of civilians in an effort to suppress a civilian uprising that began last year.

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  7. #387
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia Is Reportedly Filling Two Of These Assault Ships With Marines And Rushing Them To Syria

    Robert Johnson | Jun. 18, 2012, 9:07 AM


    The Tsesar Kunikov


    Fearing for its naval base and citizens on the ground in the conflict ridden nation, Russia is reportedly sending two amphibious assault ships to Syria.

    Oliver Carmichael at The Telegraph reports an unidentified Russian officer confirmed that "Two major amphibious ships – The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov – are preparing to be dispatched to Tartus outside of their schedule."

    The two ships can off load 450 Marines and nearly 2,200 tons of equipment, through ramps at both the front and back of the ship.

    The ships will be docking at Tartus, Russia's only naval base outside the former Soviet Union where it's suggested they'll be used to help evacuate Russian troops and property.

    There's been no official comment from the Russian navy or defense department yet, but the Syrian government has been bombing Homs and Damascus today after 67 people were killed across the country in weekend fighting.

    The peak in violence was so bad that the United Nation's observers have suspended their monitoring missions.

    With Tartus only 48 miles from Homs, Russia is no doubt concerned its people on the ground, instructing Syrians how to use Russian weapons at Tartus, may need to be removed if the fighting continues to escalate.

    All this is going on while Obama is meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Mexico today, their first meeting since he reassumed the presidency earlier this year.

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  8. #388
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    Default Re: Syria

    Moscow Sends Two Navy Ships to Syria to Protect Russians

    Russia to deploy two naval vessels to Syrian port of Tartus to protect Russian citizens and its naval base there

    By Gianluca Mezzofiore: Subscribe to Gianluca's RSS feed
    June 18, 2012 4:04 PM GMT


    Russian sailors (Reuters)


    Russia is poised to send two navy ships to Syria to protect Russian citizens and its naval base there, Interfax news agency reported.

    One vessel can carry up to 150 landing troops and tanks. Both ships are heading to the Syrian port of Tartus. It is unclear when they will get there.

    "The crews of the Nikolai Filchenkov and the Tsezar Kunikov and SB-15 rescue tug together with marines on board are able to ensure the security of Russian nationals and evacuate part of the property of the logistical support base if need be," an unnamed Russian official told Interfax.

    One of the few countries to support Assad's regime, Russia has blocked any international effort to put in place sanctions against the country and has been accused of providing arms to government forces.

    There was no official confirmation of the latest deployment from the navy or the defence minister.

    UN Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Russia for fuelling the violence by sending helicopters to Syria, a move she warned would "would escalate the conflict quite dramatically".

    Russia hit back saying it was not making any new deliveries and had only carried out repairs of helicopters sent years ago.

    The move to send ships has increased suspicions in the West that Syria is still aiding the regime.

    "Russia is obviously concerned about Islamic regimes and perhaps most important of all it is terrified of chaos," Mark Galeotti, who chairs the Centre for Global Affairs at New York University, wrote in the Independent Online.

    "Russia feels that the West doesn't know how to handle regime change and that the outcome is almost invariably the kind of chaos from which Islamic extremist movements arise."

    The White House again urged Syria to stick to commitments it has made in recent months, including the ceasefire.

    "We are consulting our international partners regarding next steps toward a Syrian-led political transition" said Washington. "The sooner this transition takes place, the greater the chance of averting a lengthy and bloody civil war."

    Opposition activists have claimed that the government has intensified its shelling of rebel strongholds in Homs.

    The UN has withdrawn its observers due to worsening security conditions.

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  9. #389
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    Default Re: Syria

    While I may not share all the views the author has in this article, I do see Russia and China drawing a fine line in the ME sand while getting organized against the US and NATO...




    All Eyes On Damascus: NATO And SCO Set To Face Off In Syria


    By Saman Mohammadi (about the author)
    "In August 1914, most Germans regarded the armed conflict they were entering in spiritual terms. The war was above all an idea, not a conspiracy aimed at German territorial aggrandizement. To those who reflected on the matter, such aggrandizement was bound to be an offshoot of victory, a strategic necessity, and an accompaniment to German self-assertion, but territory was not what the war was about. Until September, the government and military had no concrete war aims, only a strategy and a vision, that of German expansion in an existential rather than a physical sense.

    The idea that this was to be a "preventive war," to forestall the aggressive designs and ambitions of the hostile powers surrounding Germany, was certainly a part of the thinking of men like Tirpitz and Moltke. Yet these defensive considerations, while often discussed, were invariably subsumed by a grand sense of German power, whose time, it was felt, had come. The two aspects, the practical and the idealistic, were not mutually exclusive, as so many historians who have debated the war aims have implied; both were essential ingredients of the German personality on the eve of the war.

    Despite sufficient evidence from the Crimean War, the American Civil War, and the Boer War that a major conflagration would involve long, drawn-out, and bitter fighting, few strategists, tacticians, or planners, German or any other, foresaw anything but a quick resolution to a future conflict. Despite a growing preoccupation by the military in the course of the nineteenth century with size and numbers, with war as a mass phenomenon, the vision everywhere was still of a war of movement, heroism, and quick decisions. Railways would get men to the front promptly; machine guns would be used in attack; mighty ships and mighty artillery would overwhelm the enemy in short order. However, although matériel was important, war was regarded, especially in Germany, as the supreme test of spirit, and, as such, a test of vitality, culture, and life. War, wrote Friedrich von Bernhardi in 1911 in a volume that was to go through six German editions in two years, was a "life-giving principle." It was an expression of a superior culture. "War," wrote a contemporary of Bernhardi's, was in fact "the price one must pay for culture." In other words, whether considered as the foundation of culture or as steppingstone to a higher plateau of creativity and spirit, war was an essential part of a nation's self-esteem and image.

    At the outbreak of the war Germans were convinced, as Theodor Heuss, a staunch liberal and certainly no rabid nationalist, put it, of their "moral superiority," their "moral strength," and their "moral right." For Conrad Haussmann, also on the liberal left, the war was a question of will: "In Germany there is a single will in everyone, the will to assert oneself." Of course this was to be a national effort, this war, but only because it was to be an effort by every German." - Modris Eksteins. "Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age." (1).

    "And this, I think, has been a wake up call from hell. It is telling us you have the power now to act. Summon the will, because the terrorists have the will to destroy America, to destroy freedom, to destroy all of America's allies and all the democracies, Israel being simply on the front line. They have the will, but they don't have the power." - War criminal and totalitarian liar Benjamin Netanyahu speaking about the meaning of the false flag 9/11 events on NBC on September 13, 2001. (2).
    Syria is facing an existential crisis, as well as the rest of the Middle East. The stakes couldn't be higher. Various plots are coming to a head in Damascus.

    "Over the past sixteen months of the destabilization of Syria, NATO and the GCC have created a situation without exit that might well degenerate into global war," wrote French journalist Thierry Meyssan on Monday, June 11. (3).

    NATO's military aggression against Syria is testing the members, unity, and vision of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). So far, they seem to be meeting the challenge, having met last Thursday and concluded that "they unanimously rejected military intervention as a way to resolve international hotspot issues," (4).

    The portrayal of the conflict in Syria has proven to be more important than the conflict itself. Impressions and perceptions spread through the airwaves are driving this war, not facts on the ground.

    But the roadblock of truth has stopped those who are once again committing highway robbery on the road to war by stealing people's minds and hearts with fabricated facts and fake images.

    The Western mainstream media's abysmal failure to sell a false narrative about Syria based on NATO propaganda has forced NATO and its allies to change strategy and use the option of good old fashioned warfare to bring down Syria. The delusional media war planners in Washington have forgotten the basics of war. You know, the kind of warfare that involves armies and soldiers, not cameras and images.

    Washington didn't face unified armies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. But Syria and Iran are different stories. These are not media wars. These are real wars against nations that can shoot back. An eye for an eye is now the motto. The criminal maniacs in Washington, NATO, and Israel won't be the only ones who will dish out pain on history's grandest of stages.

    War is not about rooting for the good guys against the bad guys while watching bombs go off on television, as we have come to know it in the West. War is a very dirty business. Many millions will die if the insane leaders of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel continue to wage their campaign of terror, mass murder, and destabilization throughout the Middle East.

    For Syria to go down, brainwashed NATO troops will have to get directly involved. The "Free Syrian Army" is in reality the Controlled Foreign Terrorists (CFT). The CFT cold-bloodedly murders women and children in their sleep. They can bomb Syrian churches and clinics all night, but they can't take Syrian cities by day.

    "The US and its allies have been actively supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists for over a year," wrote Prof. Michel Chossudovsky on Friday, June 8. "The organization and training consisted in the deployment of Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, alongside the incursion of French, British, Qatari and Turkish special forces inside Syria. US-NATO sponsored mercenaries are recruited and trained in Saudi Arabia and Qatar," (5).

    The writer of the website, "Moon of Alabama," says that the Syrian army is getting its act together and making moves against the foreign-backed terrorists, writing:
    "Some UN people said that Syria is now in a civil war suggesting a somewhat even balance between the parties. I think that is hugely exaggerated. Western media claimed that the revolt in Syria was by all parts of the Syrian population and only now changes into a sectarian conflict. That is simply wrong. The fighting was from the very beginning sectarian with the rebels naming each Friday after this or that Sunni hero. These foreign supported, and partly foreign led, Sunni rebel groups will have huge difficulties to survive a real onslaught by the united Syrian army." (6).
    The bigger picture of the conflict in Syria has been reduced to occupy the background space of history, while fake humanitarian cries for intervention from the media brainwashed Western world have taken center stage.

    There is every indication that the NATO-instigated crisis in Syria will draw out for a long time, bringing in Iran, Russia, and China into the picture. Save a new alliance between America and Iran, war will consume all the nations of the Middle East, cause the death of millions, and lead to America's final act of strategic suicide in the region.

    Such a global tragedy can only be prevented if wise men retake control of America's policy towards Iran and end the feud before diehard fanatics lit the fuse and make Iranians and Americans fight against each other over nothing.

    Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, two former senior officials in the National Security Council, have repeatedly warned against a U.S. military attack on Iran. On May 28th, they wrote:
    There is "a very analogous logic at play in the Middle East." The United States "tried being the hegemon" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places in the region. The results are clear: America's pursuit of hegemony in the Middle East "doesn't work"; in fact, "it actually makes us weaker." Just as the United States had (and has) interests in Asia, it has "critical interests" in the Middle East. And it can only protect and promote those interests by "having positive relations with all of the important players in the region--and especially with Iran." This, however, is "a strategic logic" that the Obama Administration "seems no more capable of embracing than its predecessors in the Bush 43 Administration." (Or, one might add, the Clinton and Bush 41 administrations.) It is a profound "strategic failure." (7).
    The consequences of attacking Iran will be far-reaching and ultimately tragic. Only madmen are for a war against Iran. Washington must come to its senses, send packing the god of hubris, and rejoin humanity.

    Sources:

    1. Modris Eksteins. "Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age ." 1989. Key Porter Books: Toronto. Pg. 90-91.
    2. NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. Air date: September 13, 2001.
    3. "Russian Warning Shots", by Thierry Meyssan , Voltaire Network , 11 June 2012, www.voltairenet.org/a174586
    4. "Half Of Humanity: SCO Opposes Global Military Interventions", Voltaire Network , 10 June 2012, www.voltairenet.org/a174570
    5. Prof. Michel Chossudovsky. "Confronting Iran, "Protecting Israel": The Real Reason for America's War on Syria." Global Research. June 8, 2012.
    6. Moon of Alabama. "Syrian Army Is Now Taking The Initiative." June 13, 2012.
    7. Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett. "Nuclear Talks With Iran Highlight The Downsides of America's Ongoing Quest For Middle East Hegemony." The Race For Iran. May 28, 2012.

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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia, China, Iran plan to stage in Syria “biggest Mid East maneuver”

    DEBKAfile Special Report June 18, 2012, 8:31 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Russia China Iran Joint exercise Syria Barack Obama Vladimir Putin



    Middle East military tensions around Syria shot up again Monday, June 18, with the news reported by the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars that a joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian exercise is to take place in Syria.

    It was described as “the biggest of its kind ever staged in the Middle East” with 90,000 personnel, 400 air planes and 900 tanks taking part.

    As part of its preparations, Beijing is reported to have asked Egyptian authorities to permit the passage through the Suez Canal in late June of 12 naval ships heading for the Syrian port of Tartus, where Moscow maintains a naval and marine base. debkafile reported earlier this week that Russian naval vessels with marines on board were heading for Tartus. The Iranian media did not itemize their contribution to the joint exercise.

    debkafile stresses that this would be the first time that substantial Russian and Chinese military strength has ever been deployed in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East. It means that the two powers are prepared to parade their unabashed partnership with the Iranian and Syrian armies for the shared purpose of obstructing US-European-Arab military intervention in Syria. A large-scale Russian and Chinese military presence in the embattled country would expect to deter the United States from leading a military operation against Bashar Assad and his regime.

    No date was attached to the report but the exercise may possibly take place before the end of the month.

    The large-scale maneuver was announced in Tehran on the first day of the nuclear crisis talks in Moscow between Iran and the six world powers, their third attempt to resolve the crisis by diplomacy. However, Russian and Iranian sources close to the talks were pessimistic about progress. An Iranian delegation member complained the atmosphere was harsh and unconstructive. A Russian source saw no way of bridging US-led Western differences with Tehran when the parties reconvene Monday.

    debkafile also notes that the big joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian exercise “at sea, air and land on Syrian soil,” ws released for publication shortly before US President Barack Obama was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Mexico.

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    Default Re: Syria

    Monday, 18 June 2012 19:03
    Large-scale military drill by Russia, China and Iran in Syria, website


    SCO Peace Mission 2005

    June 18 – An Arabic language website claims that China, Russia and Iran are going to carry out a large-scale military maneuver in Syria, “the biggest of its kind in the Middle-East history,” the semiofficial Fars-news agency reported Monday.

    The joint exercise will be at sea, air and land on Syrian soil, the website Al-Shakhoura is quoted by Fars. It added that 90 000 military personnel, 400 air planes and 900 tanks will take part in the drill.

    The Russian news agency Interfax quoting a Russian naval official says that two Russian naval vessels with marines on board were ready to head for Syria to protect Russian citizens and a naval base there, in what would be the first known reinforcement of Moscow’s military presence since the start of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

    The website also claims that also China has asked the Suez-canal authorities for passage of 12 naval ships in late June heading towards Tartus in Syria. The report did not disclose whether Iran would also send military personnel or war ships to the drill.

    Published in Foreign Affairs

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    Default Re: Syria

    Monday, 18 June 2012 23:06:09

    Russian Warning Shots


    By Thierry Meyssan Future Fast Forward

    The nature of the Syrian crisis has changed. The process of destabilization that was to open the path for legal military intervention by the Atlantic Alliance has failed. Removing its mask, the United States has publicly announced the possibility of attacking Syria without the approval of the Security Council, as it also did in Kosovo. Washington must be pretending not to have noticed that the Russia of Vladimir Putin is not that of Boris Yeltsin.

    After being assured of Chinese support, Moscow literally fired two warning shots in the direction of Washington. The continuing violations of international law by NATO and the GCC threaten to unleash a global conflict.President Vladimir Putin began his third mandate under the sign of sovereignty in the face of direct threats launched against the Russian Federation by the United States and NATO. Moscow has repeatedly denounced the expansion of NATO, the installation of military bases, the deployment of a missile shield on its borders, and the destruction of Libya and the destabilization of Syria.

    During the celebration of the victory over Nazism on 9 June 2012, President Putin emphasized the need for Russia to be ready for new sacrifice.In the days following his inauguration, Mr. Putin reviewed the Russian military industrial sector, his armed forces and his treaty alliance system. [1] He pursued this course of action while choosing to draw in Syria a line in the sand that must not be crossed.

    For Putin, NATO’s invasion of Libya was equivalent to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Third Reich and that of Syria, should it occur, would be comparable to the invasion of Poland that started WWII.Any interpretation that what is currently happening in the Levant is the result of an internal dynamic of revolution/repression within Syria is not only false but a distortion of the real stakes involved, and simply amounts to more political maneuvering.

    The Syrian crisis is first and foremost a further stage in the project of "remodeling of the greater Middle East"; a further attempt to destroy the "Axis of Resistance" and the first "war for gas" being played out [2]. What is actually at stake in Syria is not whether Bashar al-Assad will be able to democratize the institutions he has inherited or whether the Wahhabist monarchies of the Gulf will succeed in destroying the last secular regime in the region and impose their sectarianism, but to determine the lines of separation between the emerging power blocs of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) [3]. Some of our readers will be startled to read the preceding phrase.



    Indeed, the Western and Gulf media have been hammering the point day after day that President El-Assad is a sectarian dictator working to the advantage of the Alawite minority, while the armed opposition to his authority is portrayed as the incarnation of democratic pluralism. Just a glance at recent events is enough to belie this version.Bashar al-Assad has successively convened municipal elections, a referendum, as well as legislative elections. All observers unanimously agreed that the elections unfolded in a transparent manner.

    The degree of popular participation was more than 60% even while the West was denouncing the electoral process as "a farce" and while the Western-backed armed opposition was preventing citizens from getting to the polls in the four districts under its control. At the same time, the armed opposition stepped up its attacks not only against security forces but also against civilians and all the symbols of national culture and of Syria’s multi-confessional character.They assassinated progressive Sunnis, then randomly killed Alawites and Christians in order to force their families to flee. They burned more than fifteen hundred schools and churches. They proclaimed an ephemeral Independent Islamic Emirate in Baba Amr where they instituted a Revolutionary Tribunal which condemned more than 150 felons, who were then beheaded in public one by one by an executioner.

    It is certainly not the woeful spectacle of some vagrant politicians, meeting up at the exiled Syrian National Council and erecting a facade of democracy having no relation to the reality of the crimes being committed by the Free "Syrian" Army, that will prevent the truth from coming out much longer. In the circumstances, who can believe that the secular Syrian regime, whose exemplary character was celebrated not so long ago, would have turned into a confessional dictatorship, while the Free "Syrian" Army, supported by the Wahhabist dictatorships of the Gulf and obeying the injunctions of Takfirist preachers would conversely be advanced as a paragon of democratic pluralism? The announcement by U.S. leaders of a possible international intervention outside a U.N. mandate in the same fashion as NATO dismembered Yugoslavia elicted both apprehension and anger in Moscow. The Russian Federation, which until now held itself in a defensive position, has moved to take the initiative.

    This strategic shift flows from the urgency of the situation from Russia’s point of view and favorable shifts on the ground in Syria [4]. Moscow proposes to create a Contact Group on Syria that would bring together the ensemble of concerned states, meaning Syria’s neighbors as well as both regional and international powers. Its purpose is to put in place a forum for dialogue to substitute for the current bellicose approach imposed by the West under the Orwellian rubric, the "Friends of Syria Conference." Russia continues to support the Annan Plan—which is in fact the scarcely modified plan submitted earlier by Sergei Lavrov to the Arab League. Russia deplores that the plan was not implemented, assigning responsibility for that failure to the opposition faction which took up arms.
    According to A.K. Lukashevich, spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, the Free "Syrian" Army is an illegal organization according to international law. It is assassinating twenty to thirty Syrian soldiers each day yet is publicly supported by NATO states and the GCC in violation of the Annan Plan [5].

    Positioning himself as a peacemaker confronting NATO warmongering, Vladimir Putin has demanded that the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) ready itself to deploy its "blue chapkas" in Syria, to both separate the belligerents and combat foreign forces. Nicolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the CSTO, has confirmed that he is ready to deploy 20,000 men trained for this type of mission and immediately available [6]. This would be the first time that the CSTO deploys a peace force outside of former Soviet territory. Cut to the quick, Ban Ki-Moon attempted to sabotage the initiative, countering with his own sudden effort to organize a Contact Group.

    Convening in Washington the Sanctions Working Group of the Friends Of Syria Conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defied the Russian proposal and raised the ante in favor of regime change [7]. In Turkey, opposition legislators have visited the Syrian refugee camps. They have confirmed the absence of more than one thousand refugees registered by the United Nations in the main camp and noted, by contrast, the presence of an arsenal in the camp. They have also demanded in Parliament that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reveal the rising amount of humanitarian aid being given to phantom refugees. The deputies maintain that the refugee camp is a cover for a secret military operation, sheltering in reality combatants, principally Libyans who are using it as a rear base.

    The deputies are asserting that the combatants are those who were introduced in the district of Houla when the massacre was being perpetrated. These revelations confirm the accusations of the Russian ambassador to the Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, according to which the Special Representative of Ban Ki-Moon in Libya, Ian Martin, had used U.N. funds destined for refugees to bring al Qaeda combatants into Turkey [8]. In Saudi Arabia, the fracture between King Abdullah and the Sudairi clan has reappeared.

    At the invitation of the monarch, the Supreme Council of the Oulema issued a fatwa stipulating that Syria is not a land of jihad. At the same time, however, Prince Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been calling to arm the opposition against the "Alawite usurper."Thursday, June 7 was a day of many significant events.

    While Ban Ki-Moon and Navi Pillay, respectively Secretary General and High Commissioner of Human Rights, were pleading their case against Syria before the U.N. General Assembly, Moscow proceeded with two test-launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.The Bulava missile draws its name from an ancient Slavic mace used as a baton by the Marshall of the Cossack Armies.Colonel Vadim Koval, spokesman of the Strategic Missile Troops of the Russian Federation (RSVN) confirmed the test of a Topol—launched from a silo near the Caspian Sea, but has not confirmed that of the Bulava from a submarine in the Mediterranean.

    But the firing was observed from all over the Near East, Israel and Armenia and there is no other known armament that leaves similar tracings in the sky [9]. The message is clear : Moscow is ready for world war if NATO and the GCC do not comply with the international obligations as defined in the Annan Plan and persist in aiding terrorism.According to our sources, this this shot across the bow was coordinated with the Syrian authorities.

    Moscow equally had encouraged Damascus to liquidate the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr once the authority of President al-Assad was confirmed by constitutional referendum, as it also encouraged the president to wipe out mercenary groups present in the country as soon as the new Parliament and new Prime Minister were installed. The order was given to move from a defensive strategy to offensive action to protect the population from terrorism. The national army moved to attack the strongholds of the Free "Syrian" Army.

    The combat in the coming days is going to be difficult, all the more so in that the mercenaries possess mortars, anti-tank missiles and, as from now, surface to air missiles.

    To lessen the rapidly-increasing tension, France immediately accepted the Russian proposal to participate in an ad hoc Contact Group. Washington hurried Frederic C. Hof to Moscow. Contradicting the statements made the day before by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr. Hof also accepted the Russian invitation.The time is past to lament the expansion of combat into Lebanon, or to conjecture about the possible regionalization of conflict. Over the past sixteen months of the destabilization of Syria, NATO and the GCC have created a situation without exit that might well degenerate into global war.


    [1] President Putin’s agenda: May 7—President Putin is inaugurated. May 8—Dmitry Medvedev is nominated Prime Minister May 9—Commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany May 10—Visit of the Russian military-industrial establishment May 11—Reception for the President of Abkhazia May 12—Reception for the President of South Ossetia May 14-15—Informal meeting with heads of state of the CTSO May 18—Visit of the CYCLONE Central Research Institute May 25—Review of atomic sub-marines May 30—Meeting with key defense officials May 31—Meeting with the Russian security council, June 4-7 Visite to China, SCO Summit June 7—Visit to Kazakhstan during the Topol missile launch.

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  13. #393
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Syria

    If the reports of the "exercise" are correct, this is nothing more than a pretense to move troops.

    Personally, I am still amazed at the lack of in depth coverage even FNC is giving this situation considering how involved Russia, China, Iran, Israel, and we are.

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    Default Re: Syria

    Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria

    Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria

    A Russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of Scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the British government.


    Image 1 of 2
    The MV Alaed which altered course after being hailed by Dutch authorities and was north-west of Scotland last night


    Image 1 of 2
    It is believed to be carrying Russian Mi25 helicopters
    By Richard Spencer, Adrian Blomfield and David Millward

    8:34PM BST 18 Jun 2012


    The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed.

    "We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria," the company said in a statement. "We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage."

    British security officials confirmed they had told Standard Club that providing insurance to the shipment was likely to be a breach of European Union sanctions against the Syrian regime.

    They said they were continuing to monitor the ship, which has been the subject of a fierce international row since US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week revealed it was adding to the arsenal of weaponry available for Mr Assad to use against rebellious Syrian towns.

    "We have various ways of keeping track of this ship and that is what we are doing," a source told The Daily Telegraph.

    The MV Alaed picked up its cargo of Mi25 helicopters – known as "flying tanks" – from the Russian port of Kaliningrad, where they had been sent to the state-owned manufacturer Mil's "Factory 150" for servicing and repairs. They were originally sold to the Syrian government by Moscow, its major arms supplier, at the end of the Soviet era.

    The ship headed south through the North Sea towards the English Channel on its way to the Mediterranean and, most likely, the Syrian port of Tartous, also home to a Russian naval base.

    But under sanctions announced last year, the EU has banned not only exporting arms to Syria but also providing related services such as insurance.

    As first revealed by The Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, the US notified the UK government that the insurance was British last week.

    As it neared the Dutch coast, the authorities there also hailed the ship, the security sources said, and it made an abrupt turn, heading towards Scotland. It was last night now off the coast of the Hebrides but with no insurance covering the ship security sources say it may now have to return to port.

    In their attempts to bombard rebel towns into submission, Assad regime forces have increasingly brought up helicopters, strafing the towns of Haffa and Rastan last week.

    Their use, condemned by Kofi Annan, the UN peace envoy, has not stopped Russia's continued insistence on providing arms to the Syrians. Moscow is continuing with a 2007 contract to provide more than 20 MiG-29 M2 fighter aircraft, according to the Americans.

    Russia also announced it was preparing to send an elite unit of marines to Tartous, a move which a Western defence source said was intended as a powerful signal that Russia would not tolerate foreign military intervention.

    Classified US satellite images last week indicated that loading work had begun on two amphibious landing vessels, the Nikolai Filchenkov and the Caesar Kunikov, at the Crimean naval base of Sebastopol.

    A Russian officer quoted by the Interfax news agency said they would carry marines charged with protecting the security of Russian citizens and evacuating a part of the base, marking the first time Moscow has sent troops to Syria since the uprising against Mr Assad began more than 15 months ago.

    If fully loaded, the two vessels could carry as many as 600 troops and 24 tanks.

    Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta, citing anonymous military sources, suggested that the soldiers would be drawn from the elite Pskov airborne brigades and special forces units stationed in Chechnya.

    Russia was particularly unnerved after William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and other Western officials compared the slaughter in Syria to the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990s, the Western defence source said.

    They believed the comparisons amounted to a coded signal that the West was preparing to authorise a Nato mission to Syria similar to the peacekeeping operation mounted in Bosnia and later in Kosovo.

    But the deployment also signalled that Russia was hedging its bets, according to the source.

    "The purpose is threefold," he said. "First, they want to send a signal to the West about military intervention. Second, they want to demonstrate support for Assad.

    "But they are also preparing for the worst and realise that the worsening situation may leave them no choice but to evacuate their nationals as a last resort. If that happens, it is game over for the Russians.

    "They project strength, but know their position in Syria is actually a weak one. It may be this is a last throw of the dice."

    At a meeting on the sides of the G20 summit in Mexico, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, agreed a political process was needed to "stop the bloodshed in Syria", according to a joint statement.

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  15. #395
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    Default Re: Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    If the reports of the "exercise" are correct, this is nothing more than a pretense to move troops.

    Personally, I am still amazed at the lack of in depth coverage even FNC is giving this situation considering how involved Russia, China, Iran, Israel, and we are.
    "Amazed" is a major understatement on your part Ryan. lol

    It's not just FNC either. I've talked to people in a place where they OUGHT to be aware of the world - and the Russians (Iran, etc) and people are bloody CLUELESS.

    Finally had one guy say "Whoa!" when I gave him a couple of links for news and he checked it out himself.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Syria

    a russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the british government.


    /check!
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    Default Re: Syria

    US plans significant military presence in Kuwait



    WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report.

    The study by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined the U.S. relationship with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman - against a fast-moving backdrop. In just the last two days, Saudi Arabia's ruler named Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz as the country's new crown prince after last week's death of Prince Nayef, and Kuwait's government suspended parliament for a month over an internal political feud.

    The latest developments inject even more uncertainty as the Middle East deals with the demands of the Arab Spring, the end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq at the end of 2011 and fears of Iran's nuclear program.

    "Home to more than half of the world's oil reserves and over a third of its natural gas, the stability of the Persian Gulf is critical to the global economy," the report said. "However, the region faces a myriad of political and security challenges, from the Iranian nuclear program to the threat of terrorism to the political crisis in Bahrain."

    The report obtained by The Associated Press in advance of Tuesday's release provided precise numbers on U.S. forces in Kuwait, a presence that Pentagon officials have only acknowledged on condition of anonymity. Currently, there are about 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Camp Buehring, giving the United States staging hubs, training ranges and locations to provide logistical support. The report said the number of troops is likely to drop to 13,500.

    Several members of Congress, most notably Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had pressed for a residual U.S. force to remain in Iraq, but the failure of the two countries to agree on whether American troops should be granted legal immunity scuttled that idea.

    Instead, officials talked of positioning a strong U.S. force just across the border in Kuwait. The strategy preserves "lily pad" basing that allows the military to move quickly from one location to the next.

    As it recalibrates its national security strategy, the United States is drawing down forces in Europe while focusing on other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East region after the withdrawal from Iraq.

    By comparison, a cut of two Army combat brigades and the withdrawal of two other smaller units will leave about 68,000 troops in Europe.

    During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, some half a million U.S. forces were in the Middle East region. The United States maintained about 5,000 troops in Kuwait from the end of the Gulf War to March 2003, when U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. The U.S.-led invasion was in response to reports, later discredited, that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., who asked his staff to conduct the study, said in a statement: "This is a period of historic, but turbulent change in the Middle East. We need to be clear-eyed about what these interests are and how best to promote them. This report provides a thoughtful set of recommendations designed to do exactly that."

    The 37-page report raises questions about how the United States can leverage its financial aid to force change in the Middle East. Late last year, two Democrats - Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts - opposed the U.S. sale of spare parts and equipment to Bahrain, arguing that the ruling Sunni monarchy was violating human rights and using excessive force to crack down on protests. The State Department went ahead earlier this year with the sale of some military equipment, saying it was for Bahrain's external defense and support for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in the country.

    Bahrain stands as a strategic ally to counter Iran.

    The report said the Unites States "should not be quick to rescind security assurances or assistance in response to human rights abuses but should evaluate each case on its own merits. U.S. government officials should use these tools to advance human rights through careful diplomacy. ... The United States should make clear that states must not use arms procured from the United States against their own people engaged in peaceful assembly or exploit the U.S. security umbrella as protection for belligerent action against their neighbors."

    The report also recommended that the United States promote the development of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League while strengthening bilateral links to the six countries; seek opportunities for burden-sharing on operations such as missile defense, combat air patrol and maritime security; and push for the integration of Iraq into the Arab fold. The report emphasized that the region is critical as a counterbalance to Iran, whose conventional military includes 350,000 ground forces, 1,800 tanks and more than 300 fighter aircraft. It also has ballistic missiles with the range to target regional allies, including Israel.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20120619/D9VG2L6G0.html

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  18. #398
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    Default Re: Syria

    Ship 'carrying attack helicopters to Syria' halted off Scotland heads for Russia



    The ship was allegedly carrying Russian-made attack helicopters

    Syria Conflict

    The UK has made moves to stop a cargo vessel allegedly carrying refurbished Russian-made attack helicopters from completing its journey to Syria.

    The MV Alaed had its insurance withdrawn by The Standard Club in London while it was about 50 miles (80.4km) off Scotland's north coast.

    Withdrawal of insurance prevents the MV Alaed from sailing until its owner could secure new cover.

    UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the ship was returning to Russia.
    It was thought that the vessel had stopped for a time off the Western Isles.

    The Russian embassy in London has not yet commented.


    The UK and US have raised concerns with Russia about shipments of weapons to Syria, which is subject to a European Union arms embargo.

    In a statement, the FCO said: "We are aware of a ship carrying a consignment of refurbished Russian-made attack helicopters heading to Syria.

    "The foreign secretary made clear to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov when they met on 14 June that all defence shipments to Syria must stop.

    "We are working closely with international partners to ensure that we are doing all we can to stop the Syrian regime's ability to slaughter civilians being reinforced through assistance from other countries."

    'Carrying weapons'

    The Standard Club said it believed the MV Alaed had been off the coast of the Western Isles when insurance was withdrawn.

    It said the cover was withdrawn because the owners of the ship had "broken internal rules" of the club - a mutual insurance association - and not on the instructions of the UK government.

    The club said it had sought more information on the boat's cargo.

    In a statement, it said: "We were informed on Friday evening that the ship might be carrying weapons, in particular attack helicopters, missiles and non-specific munitions, and we are making inquiries to establish what their side of the story is.


    HMS York tracked Russian vessels sheltering in the Moray Firth last year


    "There are exclusion clauses in our cover and, for anyone involved in improper or unlawful trade, we can cancel cover.

    "We are investigating whether or not to do so in this case."

    In December last year, Russian warships and support vessels believed to have been headed for Syria took shelter in Scotland's Moray Firth during bad weather.

    HMS York tracked aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, a destroyer, two frigates, an ocean-going tug and three oil tankers until the task group left and heading into the Atlantic.

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    Default Re: Syria

    US & Russia Deploy in Syria – Double Prey for Al-Qaeda

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 19, 2012, 3:35 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Syria Barack Obama Vladimir Putin Iran

    The failure of US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday, at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico to agree on terms for Syria and Iran holds the potential for three equally dire scenarios to unfold in Syria:



    It could degenerate into another Afghanistan; or another Balkans, or al Qaeda’s next war arena.

    Potentially counterpoised in Syria today are, on the one side, the United States, Europe and their Arab allies; on the other, are Russia, China, Iran and Hizballah.

    The last group is preparing to show its muscle with a vast joint military exercise in Syria.

    Al Qaeda has begun to seep through the cracks.

    The Assad regime is not just shedding blood but bleeding itself But it stays alive because 40 percent of the Syrian population is behind it and the rebel movement is deeply fractured.

    Syria is therefore in the process of breaking up into three balkanized segments:

    The United States and its European and Arab allies in the northern, central and eastern regions.

    The Russians, along the Mediterranean coastal strip. Russian warships are on their way to secure their base at Tartus.

    In these circumstances, Iran and HIzballah will intensify their effort to prop up the Assad regime and solidify their grip in Damascus.

    So three world forces may end up dividing Syria up between them.

    Al Qaeda will have achieved its object of corralling America and Russia on one unruly territory and easily within reach of attack.

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    Default Re: Syria

    'Iran, Russia, China, Syria plan 'largest' war game'

    By JOANNA PARASZCZUK
    06/19/2012 15:20

    Syrian, Iranian media reports say air, ground and naval forces to conduct "Middle East's largest ever military exercise."


    Photo: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

    Iranian media outlets reported on Tuesday that Iran, Russia, China and Syria are to conduct joint military exercises in Syria next month.

    The semi-official Fars News outlet, which has ties to the Iranian government, cited "certain unofficial sources" in its report but did not say what those sources were.


    The report appears to have originated on Arabic language Syrian media outlet ShamLife, which said the war-games were scheduled in less than a month's time.

    Other Iranian media outlets, including the Revolutionary Guards-linked Mashregh News and Mehr News, which is owned by the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, also carried the same report on Tuesday, but did not cite any Iranian official sources confirming it.

    Fars admitted that there has as yet been no official announcement confirming the war-games, but cited an unnamed Syrian official had declared that a joint exercise between those four countries would be carried out "soon".

    Preparations for those exercises would be carried out in the next few days, Fars quoted "informed sources" as saying, adding that the exercises would involve ground troops, air forces and naval forces.

    Meanwhile, the ShamLife report said "sources" had confirmed previous leaks about the wargames, and that preparations for the military exercise were being carried out at an "accelerated pace".

    According to ShamLife, China had gained Egyptian approval to allow 12 Chinese ships carrying military equipment to pass through the Suez Canal, and that these vessels would reach the Syrian ports of Tartous and Latakia in two weeks' time.

    ShamLife said Syrian air defense missiles and its coastal defense would be put to the test in the military exercises, and that 90,000 troops from the four countries would be involved in the war games along with 400 aircraft and 1,000 tanks and "hundreds of rockets."

    The exercises would be carried out after Syrian troops had "cleansed" several cities where "armed groups" - meaning Syrian opposition forces fighting against government troops loyal to President Bashar Assad - were gathering.

    The Syrian opposition has frequently accused the Iranian regime of supporting Assad and providing his forces with material and equipment to suppress the revolution.

    Meanwhile, Fars added in its report that no official sources from Syria, Russia, China or Iran had confirmed the war games would take place.

    Fars also noted that in addition to the Chinese ships, Russian nuclear submarines and warships would also sail to Syria.

    Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Russian media said Russian naval officials denied reports that its Black Sea Fleet ship, the Caesar Kunikov (BDK 64), a military landing craft home-ported in Sevastopol, had set sail for Syria.

    RIA Novosti cited an unnamed Black Fleet officer as saying the Kunikov set sail for a routine test at a training base and was not headed to the Mediterranean.

    According to RIA Novosti the same Fleet commander also dismissed reports in the Ukrainian and Western media reports that another Black Sea amphibious ship was headed to Syria carrying weapons and marines.
    The commander said Western reports that Alligator class landing ship Nikolay Filichenkov was heading for the Syrian port of Tartous were false.

    Tartous is home to a Cold War-era Russian naval supply and maintenance base, which was established in 1971 and still staffed by Russian naval personnel.

    In July 2009, RIA Novosti reported that the Russian Navy planned to expand and modernize its Tartous base, the only Russian foothold in the Mediterranean.

    Also on Tuesday, the BBC reported that the UK had stopped a cargo vessel off the western coast of Scotland allegedly transporting Russian-made refurbished attack helicopters to Syria. British marine insurer the Standard Club canceled cover to the MV Alaed's owners after UK security services warned that the company would breach EU sanctions if it insured a ship carrying arms to Syria, according to the UK's Daily Telegraph.

    Last week, the US accused Russia of sending attack helicopters to Syria to support Assad's regime, which Russia denied.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “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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