As Russia’s warships, weapon systems and arms continue to flow into Syria, Israel is not about to let Russia, Hezbollah and Iran tip the balance of power in the favor of its border enemy. Israel is one of the key players in the region that has attempted to remain quiet and let NATO handle much of the Syrian Civil War from Turkey without getting the publicity itself. Because of this, it has primarily been concerned with a defensive posture so far and the prevention in terms of restricting arms shipments to Hezbollah. But this is changing as Russia steams its way over with greater force and the US fails to play a counter-Syrian role.
Has Russia beaten the US with a decisive direct military engagement? Not yet. But all parties, whether foreign or of Syrian national origin, appear to be increasing their involvement and intensity with Syria’s dirty war.
Tag Archives: NATO
According to the then-Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, in 2009, “The strategic nuclear forces for us are a sacred issue…” Senior Russian officials often make nuclear threats, including threats of direct targeting and threats of preemptive nuclear attack, against US allies. There are only two countries in the world that do this routinely – Russia and North Korea. China is a poor third in this arena, but is swiftly moving in their direction.
Russia routinely exercises its nuclear forces against NATO and the U.S. Two weeks before the 2012 US election, the Kremlin announced “strategic nuclear forces’ exercises,” in which President Putin “oversaw test launches of strategic and cruise missiles which reached set targets at various military testing grounds.” Moreover, Russia routinely flies nuclear capable bombers into the air-defense identification zones of the U.S., NATO nations, and Japan.
Russia has virtually ceased eliminating legacy strategic forces. Russian data, released by the State Department in April 2013, record that Russia has increased its strategic delivery vehicles in the two years since New START has been in effect. The number of deployed warheads has decreased by 57, but this is apparently largely the result of New START’s not counting warheads on submarines that are being overhauled.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.
Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria.
Israeli Debkafile’s military sources disclosed that the Russian leader was referring to S-300 anti-air systems and the nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO named SS-26 Stone) surface missiles, which are precise enough to hit a target within a 5-7 meter radius at a distance of 280 kilometers.
Frustrated in its attempt to join the European Union, NATO-member Turkey last week signed up as a partner with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the security bloc dominated by China and Russia that includes the Central Asian states. But, Ankara still has major differences with China and Russia that need to be ironed out.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described the signing of the SCO cooperation agreement as an historic day for his country, saying Turkey is the first NATO state to establish such a relationship with the SCO. “If we look from a Cold War perspective,” he said, “these may seem like mutually exclusive institutions. However, the Cold War has ended. Turkey won’t be a slave of the Cold War logic.”
Putin also aims to recreate a post-Soviet empire by incorporating the former Soviet republics into a Eurasian Union, a duty-free zone that he sees rivaling the European Union in years to come.
According to Arbatov, Russia’s defense and foreign policies now reflect that Russia is surrounded by enemies led by the U.S. Moscow is concerned that the U.S. and its NATO allies will invade Russia at any time.
Arbatov said the U.S. is using the pro-democracy opposition inside Russia to subvert Putin’s regime and intends to use that opposition to invade Russia.
In addition, he said that the West intends to use military power to seize Russia’s natural resources.
The prevailing estimate in military and intelligence circles in Washington and NATO capitals is that the Israeli air attack on the Syrian military site near Damascus was but the opening shot for the coming round of military blows they expect to be exchanged in the near future between Israel, Syria and Hizballah, with Iran possibly waiting in the wings for a chance to pitch in.
Any sign that Syria‘s grip on its chemical weapons is slipping as it battles armed rebels could trigger Israeli military strikes, Israel‘s vice premier said on Sunday.
Silvan Shalom confirmed a media report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had last week convened a meeting of security chiefs to discuss the civil war in Syria and the state of its suspected chemical arsenal.
Israel and NATO countries say Syria has stocks of chemical warfare agents at four sites. Syria is cagey about whether it has such arms but says if it had it would keep them secure and use them only to fend off foreign attack.
What is a “lake” in maritime strategy? Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe published an op-ed in Project Syndicate last week maintaining that Chinese power is increasingly transfiguring the South China Sea into “Lake Beijing.” That sounds ominous. To counteract China’s primacy in southern waters, argues Abe, Japan must augment its combat and police capabilities while forging a “diamond” with the United States, Australia, and India to defend the commons in East and South Asia. That sounds like a multinational lake presided over by the region’s leading liberal republics. Presumably the European equivalent would be NATO trusteeship over the Mediterranean Sea.
Reports that chemical weapons were used this weekend in Syria were effectively confirmed today after doctors at the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) interviewed witnesses and victims of the attack.
Doctors at SAMS describe a “probable” use of what chemical specialists refer to as “Agent-15,” or 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate, or what NATO calls “BZ.” They classified their report as “probable” because the higher classification of “confirmed” would require laboratory testing.