Monday, January 23, 2012

Russia to deliver combat jets to Syria

In yet another sign that President Obama has successfully reset US, Russian relations, a Russian newspaper reported on Monday that Syria has signed a $550-million contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 combat jets from Russia.
If confirmed, the deal would cement Russian opposition to international efforts to put pressure on [Bashar] Assad's regime over its attempts to snuff out the country's uprising...

The Yak-130 is a twin-engined combat trainer jet that can also be used to attack ground targets...

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Moscow doesn't consider it necessary to offer an explanation or excuses over suspicions that a Russian ship had delivered munitions to Syria despite an EU arms embargo.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that if the report is accurate "it would be quite concerning"...

"Any country that is still trading in weapons and armaments with Syria really needs to think twice...; those weapons can be used against innocents and have been," Nuland said.

Igor Korotchenko, head of the Center of Analysis of the Global Arms trade, an independent think-tank, said the jet deal apparently reflected Moscow's belief that Assad would stay at the helm.

"With this contract, Russia is expressing confidence that President Assad would manage to retain control of the situation, because such deals aren't signed with a government whose hold on power raises doubts," said Korotchenko. "It's another gesture by Moscow underlining its confidence that Damascus will remain its strategic partner and ally in the Middle East."
It should also be noted that the Russian Interfax news agency reported in December that Moscow had delivered 72 supersonic Yakhont SS-N-26 anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria.

Ironically, during the 2007 and 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama stated that the Syrian regime would have an important role to play in helping to stabilize Iraq and the surrounding region, despite the fact that Syria had supported the Iraqi insurgency. Nevertheless, according to Obama's 2007, 2008 premise, Syria desperately needs Russian manufactured warplanes and anti-ship cruise missiles so that it can use these weapons to help stabilize the region - which is why Russia's arms shipments to Syria is so vital and why Obama's successful reset of the U.S., Russian relationship was so crucial....

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