Russia and Syria sign major weapons deal - U.S., Israel upset at Moscow´s new alliance (WND-WORLD NET DAILY) By Aaron Klein 01/28/05 1:50 a.m. Eastern)
WND} WORLD NET DAILY
WND} WORLD NET DAILY Articles-Index-Top
Russia and Syria this week signed a major weapons agreement in
addition to the energy and trade deal the two countries reportedly
reached Wednesday, prompting American and Israeli officials to
privately voice concern over Russia´s assistance to countries accused
of aiding the insurgency in Iraq.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and Syrian president Bashar Assad
signed a military cooperation agreement that enables Russia to
upgrade Syria´s military and sell Damascus advanced arms.
Among the first weapons transferred is the sale of an advanced anti-
aircraft missile system mounted on armored personnel carriers,
according to sources.
The system is highly effective against low-flying aircraft and cruise
missiles, and the mobility offered by the carriers renders the new
missiles difficult to detect prior to launch. A deal in the works may
also provide Syria with advanced surface missiles capable of engaging
multiple targets at once.
Assad was in Russia this week to discuss ways of strengthening ties
with the former Soviet Union and to request debt-forgiveness.
Putin pledged joint business ventures, including projects focusing on
the development of oil and gas resources in Syria, and agreed to
write-off 73 percent of Syria´s $13.4 billion debt to Russia.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who participated in talks
with Assad, said Moscow is ready to cooperate with Syria "in every
direction," including facing "new challenges and threats" in the
Middle East region.
But U.S. and Israeli officials have been urging Russia to limit the
scope of its new military pact with Syria and have expressed concern
the weapons could be passed to Hezbollah or to insurgents for use
against U.S. forces in Iraq.
Insurgents have been spotted crossing the Syria-Iraq border, and the
U.S. says it has substantial intelligence Syria has been providing
fighters with funds, weapons and intelligence information. Several
detained insurgents have confessed to receiving Syrian support.
Israeli officials have an added gripe. Joseph Farah´s G2 Bulletin
reported last week Israel is upset its own technology may be
incorporated in the systems for sale to Syria.
A source in Jerusalem said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon became alarmed
as intelligence reports accumulated showing Russia not only is
interested in selling hardware to the Syrians, but has been using as
bait supposed secretive, growing technological and scientific ties
One report reveals the Russians had offered similar proposals to the
Iranians and in so doing were blatantly breaching one-by-one weapons
agreements and understandings achieved with Israel over the past five
The new weapons deal with Syria underscores fears Russia has been
aligning itself with regimes working to destabilize American
interests in the Middle East, particularly Iran, which intelligence
indicates is the primary state sponsor of the Iraq insurgency.
Russia has been the main provider to Iran of nuclear technology and
facilities. Moscow claims its nuclear cooperation with Tehran is
confined exclusively to civilian nuclear plant construction, such as
a previous deal for the construction and supply of Iran´s Beshehr
But sources say Russia has embarked on a government-sponsored nuclear
and missile technology transfer program that could provide Iran with
the ability to produce nuclear bombs in one to three years. They say
Russia still is contemplating providing Tehran with rods that are
able to enrich uranium, a deal that was first reported last
Earlier this month, Russia reportedly installed a mobile radar system
to protect the Bushehr nuclear reactor, and similar systems allegedly
are in the works for other Iranian nuclear facilities, with a site in
central Iran being fitted for the system. The portable units are
designed to detect low, medium and high altitude incoming missiles,
and would complicate any attack on Iran´s nuclear facilities.
Sources told WND operators of the Beshehr plant arrived earlier this
month at a nuclear training center in Novovoronezh, Russia, where
they have been receiving instruction on facility operation.
Iran has been directly connected to violence in Iraq. An agent of
Iran´s elite Jerusalem Force was arrested this week in Iraq´s Diyala
province carrying money and planning attacks against U.S.
The Iranian agent reportedly revealed during interrogation the
location of a group of other Iranian agents working with them and
admitted to having smuggled the group and their weapons through the
Iran-Iraq border, avoiding security controls.
The arrest followed the confession last week of Col. Muayed Al-
Nasseri, an insurgent leader and former head of Saddam
Hussein´s "Army of Muhammad," who told U.S. interrogators Iran was
the principle financier of the insurgency in Iraq.
The U.S. has been attempting to formulate an appropriate policy to
temper Russia´s alliances with Iran and Syria. According to officials
familiar with the talks, the U.S. has offered Russia different
possible compensations in return for severing nuclear dealings with
Iran including financial packages, agreeing to the Russian import of
nuclear waste from Taiwan, South Korea or Japan, and even having NASA
contract certain services from the Russians. But the offers were not
One source said Bush is being pressured into warning Russia in a
summit next month with Putin that relations with the U.S. are
dependent on its cutting ties with Iran and Syria.
"Russia is trying to gain a foothold in the Middle East by lining
itself up with Syria and Iraq," said the source. "This is part of a
new global order being oriented after September 11 and with America
staking out its position in the war on terror. U.S. policy on Russia
needs to be updated to reflect this." (© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY