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  • Is Obama's "Reset" Boosting Destabilizing Russian Arms Sales?

    An assistant shows the block with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting on March 6, 2009 in Geneva.

    In Washington last Friday, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced that Russia will supply P-800 Yakhont cruise missiles to Syria, confirming the rumors about the contract between the two countries that appeared in October 2009. The contract was signed in 2007 according to Moscow.

    A ram-jet powered Yakhont (“Ruby” or “Sapphire” in Russian) is a universal supersonic anti-ship cruise missile. It can be launched from land, sea, air, and submarines. Because it flies at 2.5 Mach at water-skimming altitudes, it is virtually cloaked from radar detection. It also has a long range—up to 160 miles, and a large warhead, 440 lbs. This sale is yet another poke in the eye of Obama Administration’s “reset” policy with Russia. Deployment of the Yakhonts to Syria is a major threat to U.S. staunchest ally in the Middle East—Israel.

    The Administration should pay closer attention to its own interests—the U.S. 6th Fleet is stationed in the Mediterranean Sea within the range of the powerful Yakhont missiles—as well as to Israeli concerns.

    Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak tried to convince the Russian Federation not to proceed with the sale because of the fear that this advanced weapon system will fall into terrorist hands, e.g. Hamas or Hezbollah. Moreover, Israel went out of its way to accommodate Moscow by agreeing recently to sell it its advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (drones or UAVs)—an effort to appease Russia and prevent it from selling advanced missile systems to Iran and Syria.

    Serdyukov would hear nothing of that: “The U.S. and Israel ask us not to supply Syria with Yakhont. But we do not recognize the concerns expressed by them that these arms will fall into the hands of terrorists,” he stated during a press conference in Washington.

    Yet, if Syria transferred relatively advanced weapons to a dangerous non-state actor, it wouldn’t be the first time: it previously transferred such weapons to Hezbollah, a Shi’ite fundamentalist terrorist organization, and a state-within-a state in Lebanon. Iran launched Hezbollah as part of its aggressive efforts to export its Islamist revolution back in 1983.

    In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah fired thousands of short-range missiles and Katyusha rockets into Israel. It also managed to damage INS HANIT, a corvette in the Israeli Navy, using Syria-supplied, Iranian-made anti-ship missiles. And Hezbollah leaders made numerous statements that they are willing to harm U.S. interests.

    The U.S. should also view Russia’s supplying of missiles to Syria in the context of ongoing peace talks between the Palestinian leadership and Israeli government. Russia, a member of the Middle East Quartet, was not invited to co-sponsor the talks and complained about it.

    Damascus is making it increasingly clear that if concessions on the Golan Heights are not made by Israel, Syria is ready for a tough response. Russia is trying to muscle its way back to the Middle East using neo-Soviet tactics: support of radicals and arms sales.

    For Russia, the arms sale is seen as an opportunity to increase its influence over an old Soviet ally—Syria. Moreover, if the tensions in the Middle East increase, the price of oil will be higher, which in turn will fill the coffers in Moscow.

    While the Obama Administration hails the successes of its “reset” policy, Russia continues its neo-Soviet foreign policy, selling arms and nuclear technology. Moscow did not close the door on the S-300 long-range anti-aircraft missile sales to Iran; fueled the Russian-sold Bushehr reactor; and refused to recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organization—something the US did (the EU recognized Hamas only, but not Hezbollah).

    The Obama Administration should stop boasting about the “successes” of the Russia reset policy and hold Moscow accountable for destabilizing arms and nuclear technology sales to anti-American actors.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Is Obama's "Reset" Boosting Destabilizing Russian Arms Sales?

    1. K. Andrews says:

      To the Obama Leftist mind this 'faux detente' will result in peace. The true consequence of a weak posture in a nuclear armed world is that when the SHTF many more will die since the abundance of these weapons will necessitate the response be complete destruction of the enemy. In this new world Baghdad would have been leveled from space instead of a ground battle and reconstruction as has happened recently. The first punch by an Iran will result in total destruction of that country and many innocents. Is that what the Left wants???

    2. hadassah weinreb, n. says:

      Judeo-Christian tradition states that Israel's freedom is bought & paid for by America's blood. Israel must wait out till 2012 for the traditional relationship to be restored.

    3. JAQUEBAUER says:

      Obama is a fools fool, a naive little boy who wants to make friends with everybody, and will weaken Americas defenses just to say he made new friends.

      The contempt I have for this man is only seconded by my x-wife. Otherwise Obama, like the Clintons will make decisions that compromise National Security. Bush was fooled by Putins eyes. Obama was fooled by Putins card tricks. At a time the China is building up its Navy, we are cutting back ours. The USAF is in poor shape, and Obama wants to cut the Marines. Gates is a yes man, a man weakness just like JCS Adm Mullen-both men are afraid of Iran.

      Someone with the legal Balls needs to step up and remove Obama now. Obama must not be allowed to continue decision making in areas other than the color of toilet paper.

      Will the FBI stand up and release its file on Obama. Thats what is needed, a Wikileaks leak on Obama. Then a cleansing of congress. De-louse pelosi's podium, and de-crab Harrys chair. Put a warrier in charge of warmaking. The US had it right when we had a War Department. Now we have a Defense Department. Which name signifies wimpy and which telegraphs strength ?

      Many of our leaders are wimpy little men with paper cuts, when we need men that were trigger pullers once.

      If we are in a multigenerational war with radical Islam-yes ite the Muslims stupid- Then warriers are needed to lead. Get rid of the queers, and put men that have balls to reproduce and not men with balls to play with.

      Maybe Robert Gibbs will read this, if he stops playing with his balls long enough to notice we are losing to the ragheads over there.

    4. Kurwastan, DC says:

      This is not analysis, but one-sided commentary. No mention of the record $68 bln in arms sales to Saudi Arabia this week.

      @Dr. Cohen, you missed yesterday's announcement from Gen. N. Makarov that Russia will *not* sell the S-300 air defense systems to Iran. ""A decision has been made not to supply S-300s to Iran. They are definitely subject to the sanctions."

      @Weinreb: Which Judeo-Christian texts mention this? In the meantime maybe your blood will buy and pay for Israel's freedom, but not my tax dollars.

    5. Pingback: Four Russian Arms Deals That Worry the US | Pitts Report

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