Military Space News  





. Swords and Shields: Russia shields Syria

Russian naval forces can deter or disrupt Israeli naval or air assets deployed in wartime against Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.
by Ariel Cohen
Washington (UPI) Oct 16, 2008
Until Russia can revitalize its naval forces to a much larger degree, its deployments to the Mediterranean contribute more to symbolic and diplomatic activity than being a viable military counterweight to NATO in the region. Yet the Black Sea Fleet in the Med is a significant show of force and a diplomatic irritant and a potential threat to shipping in the Suez Canal and to America's ally Israel.

The increased Russian naval presence in the region means that the Kremlin is seeking to cultivate Syria as a close regional ally, and is looking to secure additional bases for the Black Sea Fleet besides its current base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

In addition, Russia would also be able to deploy electronic intelligence-gathering ships that could then improve its monitoring capabilities against NATO forces and Syria's ability to monitor NATO and Israeli transmissions, expanding the previous naval intelligence engagement during the Balkan wars.

Finally, Russian naval forces could deter or disrupt Israeli naval or air assets deployed in wartime against Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Syria is pursuing new arms deals with Russia, including the purchase of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 M2, MiG-31, the latest Sukhoi Su-30 version -- Flanker, Tor-M1 air defense systems, AT-14 antitank missiles, upgrades for Syria's aging T-62, T-72 and T-80 Main Battle Tanks, SA-5 Gammon anti-aircraft missile systems, and upgrading Syria's existing S-125 Air Defense systems to the Pechora-2A.

Iran is also involved in supporting Damascus. In 2007 alone Iran reportedly financed Syrian purchases of Russian arms to the tune of $1 billion. Iran and Syria, which have had a mutual defense treaty since 2004, train and equip Hezbollah, the biggest terrorist organization in the Middle East. Russia is cultivating both states as allies and as customers for Russian arms.

What is particularly disturbing is that the Russian layered air defenses, both short-range TOR and long-range S-300 anti-aircraft systems, are capable of providing the defensive envelope to the mysterious Syrian nuclear research activities, as well as to the significant chemical weapons arsenal deliverable by Damascus' short-range ballistic missiles, such as Syrian-produced SCUD-C and SCUD-D and, potentially, Russian-made Iskander-E -- NATO designation SS-X-26.

Damascus has also acquired Pantsir-C1 air defense systems, which represent the current state of the art in Russian military air defense technology, but no deal has yet been reached. According to sources in Moscow, Russia is likely to equip Syria's Tartus naval base with S-300PMU-2 Favorit ballistic missiles and a radar system more sophisticated than Syria's current capabilities.

During the Cold War era, the Soviet Union boasted a global naval power projection capability with yearly naval maneuvers in the Caribbean and the North Fleet naval brigade in Conakry, Guinea, and Luanda, Angola.

The 8th Operational Squadron of the Pacific Fleet had supply bases in Aden and Socotra in Yemen and Dahlak in Eritrea, and in Berbera in Somalia. After the five-day Aug. 8-Aug. 12 war in the former Soviet republic of Georgia in the Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is planning to deploy in Abkhazia, at the ports of Ochamchira and Sukhumi.

For Moscow today, Tartus is only the first step in the long road to a renewed global naval presence.

(Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is a Washington author and expert on geopolitics and energy security. Lajos Szaszdi, Ph.D., and Nicholas Lippolis contributed to this article.)

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
BMD Focus: Sineva launch success
Washington (UPI) Oct 13, 2008
Russia this weekend carried out another successful submarine-launched ballistic missile test that heralded its growing global strategic power.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Swords and Shields: Russia's Med menace
  • Russia To Cut Military Personnel To One Million By 2012
  • Russia gives territory to China, ending border dispute
  • China will play 'positive role' in financial crisis, Wen says

  • US to send nuclear mission to India
  • Spain holds exercise to hone response to nuclear attack threat
  • UN inspectors back inside North Korea: US
  • Iran sanctions 'counterproductive,' says Russia's Lavrov

  • Russia denies missile sales to Iran
  • NKorea prepares mass missile launches: reports
  • US advises North Korea against test-firing missiles
  • NKorea fires short-range missiles: Yonhap

  • Swords and Shields: Russia shields Syria
  • BMD Watch: Russia extends ABMs to Belarus
  • BMD Focus: Sineva launch success
  • BMD Focus: Russia may not sell Iran S-300s

  • Researchers Scientists Perform High Altitude Experiments
  • Airbus expecting 'large' China order by early 2009: CEO
  • Airbus globalises production with China plant
  • Safer Skies For The Flying Public

  • TAAC 2008 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Conference
  • US drones fly after missile strike in Pakistan: residents
  • Sky Warrior UAS Completes First Automatic Takeoffs And Landings
  • Pterodactyl-Inspired Robot To Master Air, Ground, And Sea

  • Al-Qaeda number two killed by US was Swedish
  • Rice speaks to Iraqi leaders on troop negotiations
  • Gates consulting Congress on Iraq agreement: Pentagon
  • Iraq unhappy with Odierno's Iran bribe comments

  • Boeing Awarded Contract To Continue Testing ATL
  • Myth Busted: Scientists Unveil High-Tech Army
  • Russia's Police To Say Farewell To Kalashnikov Rifles
  • Russian helicopter plans part two

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement