Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Russia selling advanced weapons systems to Syria

It is odd that Russia is abetting the jihad in some areas and fighting it in others, but then again, so are the U.S. and the Europeans. "Mideast: Russian Weapons To Syria, Concern In Israel," by Aldo Baquis for ANSAmed, August 22 (thanks to Insubria): TEL AVIV, AUGUST 22 - A climate of concern is perceivable in Israel, after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed in Russia the purchase of advanced war systems in the context of a revision of the bilateral relations, in view of the recent conflict in Caucasus.

Today the official news agency Sana specified that there is still no assent by Syria to the deployment of Russian missiles Iskander on its territory. However, the Israelis in charge of defence are still following with full attention the evolution of the Russian-Syrian contacts. "We will not allow the access into the region of weapons which will alter the current balance", Transport Minister (and former Defence Minister) Shaul Mofaz, a leader of Kadima, warned. ...

Yesterday, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had a telephone conversation with Ehud Olmert and today it was reported that the Israeli Prime Minister will go on a mission to Moscow by the beginning of September. Its purpose, the Israeli military radio explained, is to try to limit the entity and quality of the possible Russian military supplies to Damascus. Israel plans to inform the Russian leaders that it has also limited the entity of its supplies to the armed forces of Georgia and therefore it expects some kind of reciprocity from Moscow. Yesterday the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv assured that Moscow does not have particular complaints towards Israel for the assistance given to Georgia. "In the past we received from the Russians many appeasing assurances, but afterwards we had to admit that they were not well-founded", Zahi Hanegbi (Kadima), president of the parliamentary commission for foreign affairs and defence, stated. "It is obvious that if the new Russian-Syrian military closeness is confirmed, this would be a very negative development" the regional stability would be affected", Hanegbi also remarked. At this point, he pointed out, Syria must decide whether to continue the indirect peace negotiations with Israel in Turkey or to rally with the 'radical axis' against the West. Olmert is now on the defensive for having promoted these negotiations also when faced with the open scepticism of the United States. Mofaz himself twisted the knife in the wound today, stating that what Israel needs now is not "a weak diplomacy but a strong and expert leadership". Mofaz hopes to win the leadership of Kadima (and, consequently, the office of Prime Minister) with the primary elections of his party, on September 17. It is still not known in Israel whether the Israeli-Syrian indirect negotiations will actually be resumed in September. On one hand there is the Israeli scepticism, expressed by Hanegbi and Mofaz. On the other, there is probably also the scepticism of the Syrians, due to the extreme fluidity of the Israeli politics, while again today, for the sixth time, Olmert was questioned by the anti-fraud squad of the police. (ANSAmed).

No comments: