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Why Russia Is Backing Syria
The New York Times ^ | July 6, 2012 | Ruslan Pukhov

Posted on 07/09/2012 5:32:21 AM PDT by vertolet888

MANY in the West believe that Russia’s support for Syria stems from Moscow’s desire to profit from selling arms to Bashar al-Assad’s government and maintain its naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus. But these speculations are superficial and misguided. The real reason that Russia is resisting strong international action against the Assad regime is that it fears the spread of Islamic radicalism and the erosion of its superpower status in a world where Western nations are increasingly undertaking unilateral military interventions.

Since 2005, Russian defense contracts with Syria have amounted to only about $5.5 billion — mostly to modernize Syria’s air force and air defenses. And although Syria had been making its scheduled payments in a fairly timely manner, many contracts were delayed by Russia for political reasons. A contract for four MiG-31E fighter planes was annulled altogether. And recently it became known that Russia had actually halted the planned delivery of S-300 mobile antiaircraft missile systems to Syria.

Syria is among Russia’s significant customers, but it is by no means one of the key buyers of Russian arms — accounting for just 5 percent of Russia’s global arms sales in 2011. Indeed, Russia has long refrained from supplying Damascus with the most powerful weapons systems so as to avoid angering Israel and the West — sometimes to the detriment of Russia’s commercial and political ties with Syria.

To put it plainly, arms sales to Syria today do not have any significance for...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS: assad; fff; ntsa; putin; russia; syria

1 posted on 07/09/2012 5:32:26 AM PDT by vertolet888
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To: vertolet888
The real reason that Russia is resisting strong international action against the Assad regime is that it fears the spread of Islamic radicalism and the erosion of its superpower status in a world where Western nations are increasingly undertaking unilateral military interventions.

Which totally explains why Russia acts as Iran's protector and backs Islamic groups against Israel...Oh, wait. The NYT, as usual, are mediots.

2 posted on 07/09/2012 5:49:26 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: vertolet888

Gog, Tubal,


3 posted on 07/09/2012 6:01:54 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: SampleMan

We don’t live in a World where we can choose between absolute good and bad.
No matter how bad Iran is, it is much more responsible than Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood.
It wasn’t Iran behind Twin Towers bombing as well.


4 posted on 07/09/2012 6:14:44 AM PDT by cunning_fish (.)
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To: vertolet888
Russia wants to prevent Israel from linking their super giant gas and oil field to Europe's southern pipeline reducing Europe's dependence of Russian gas supplies.
5 posted on 07/09/2012 6:20:01 AM PDT by WellyP (question!)
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To: vertolet888

Even though the current Syrian government does us harm by its relationship with Iran, if the rebels win the next government will be a good deal like that currently in Egypt and will surely come down very hard on the Christians and other non-Muslims in Syria.


6 posted on 07/09/2012 6:24:03 AM PDT by curmudgeonII (Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.)
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To: vertolet888

Not mentioned is the question of Christians in Syria and the fact that the muslim governments we’ve supported have not done Christianity or Christians any good. I’ve been waiting a long time to hear some politician say the first word about protecting Christians out there in the world and so far the only one I’ve seen do that is Vladimir Putin.


7 posted on 07/09/2012 6:47:39 AM PDT by varmintman
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To: cunning_fish
I don't follow your point.

That Iran is a secular alternative? Its a competitor for the caliphate.

8 posted on 07/09/2012 6:51:49 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: cunning_fish

Iran is hardly a “responsible” state. They support a myriad of terrorist orgs. and publicly threaten the destruction of Israel. How is that responsible?


9 posted on 07/09/2012 6:57:42 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: SampleMan

Your analysis is too facile. Russia, unlike the US, has only Sunni enemies. And, by and large, radical Islam is a Sunni phenomenon — Al Qaeda, Hizb ut Tahrir (active throughout central Asia), the Muslim Brotherhoods, the Chechen and Ingushetian “nationalists” who bomb Moscow subways are all Sunni.

The sole example of Shi’ite radicalism is the Iranian regime, which is, alas, hostile to the US because the Shah had been one of ‘our bastards’ during the Cold War, and is run by a minority Shi’ite sect, the “Hasteners” or Ta’ajili, who think they can hasten the return of the 12th Imam by creating chaos. Traditional Shi’ites, whether ‘orthodox’ Twelvers like those in Iraq who objectively backed the US invasion or Ismaeli (or Sevener) Shi’ites by and large cause no one any trouble, and regard the Iranian regime with suspicion.

Russia’s backing of anti-Israeli groups is indirect and a function of support of the Alawite regime in Syria and their (I think mistaken) attempts to use Iran as a pawn in balance-of-power politics vis-a-vis the US. On the other hand in disputes over oil and gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Russia has been actively backing the Greek-Cypriot-Israeli consortium against Turkey, even sending warships to see off Turkish interference.

I do not think Russian policy in the Levant can be properly understood without considering the fact that Russia has traditional religious interests in the region. In pre-Soviet times Russia was the protector of Orthodox Christians in the region and pressured the Ottoman Sultans, sometimes sending warships, to ensure good treatment. Putin sees himself as restoring Russia to her traditional place, and as such will back the Israelis when they throw in with the Orthodox Greeks and Cypriots, but will also back the Syrian Alawites because they protect Christians from the enthusiasms of the Sunni majority.


10 posted on 07/09/2012 6:58:53 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: The_Reader_David

Just so. Russia is returning to its historical role of protector for Christians (especially indigenous Orthodox Christians) in the middle east. The historical role of the United States meanwhile, is the dismantling of Christendom, to be succeeded by endless varieties of demented, rootless, secularized heresies.


11 posted on 07/09/2012 7:53:24 AM PDT by Romulus
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To: driftless2

Irresponsibility has many levels. Iran hasn’t declared jihad on US yet and Al-Qaeda has killed thousands Americans already.


12 posted on 07/09/2012 8:01:19 AM PDT by cunning_fish (.)
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To: SampleMan

>>>>>>>>I don’t follow your point.
That Iran is a secular alternative? Its a competitor for the caliphate.>>>>>>>>>>

The_Reader_David just presented a perfect analysis.
And I have to add: Iran don’t like Al-Qaeda which is the nastiest of all radical islamist groups.


13 posted on 07/09/2012 8:07:41 AM PDT by cunning_fish (.)
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To: SampleMan

>>>>>>>>I don’t follow your point.
That Iran is a secular alternative? Its a competitor for the caliphate.>>>>>>>>>>

The_Reader_David just presented a perfect analysis.
And I have to add: Iran don’t like Al-Qaeda which is the nastiest of all radical islamist groups.


14 posted on 07/09/2012 8:07:48 AM PDT by cunning_fish (.)
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To: cunning_fish

Iran supplies arms and weapons to terrorists who kill Americans. That makes them just as culpable as the people pulling the triggers or setting off the bombs.


15 posted on 07/09/2012 8:21:40 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: cunning_fish

Meant to say money and weapons as “arms and weapons” is redundant.


16 posted on 07/09/2012 8:23:52 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: driftless2

My point is Iran may be extremely bad but it doesn’t mean every cause Iran is rooting for is bad as well. Even a broken clock is ok twice a day.

Opposing Al-Qaeda and helping out Christian population of Syria is good on Iran’s side.


17 posted on 07/09/2012 8:33:48 AM PDT by cunning_fish (.)
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To: vertolet888
The Times article is wrong. Here is the Russian Base at Tartus:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_naval_base_in_Tartus

Tartus is essential to Russia, their only refueling and warm water port outside of Russia.

Ten Russian ships home port there:

The cruisers Moskva and Peter The Great, 4 nuke subs, and 4 support ships. Yet the Times says there are only 50 Russians working there, the Times fell for the Russian disinformation campaign.

Backwater port??? Here it is:


18 posted on 07/09/2012 9:41:14 AM PDT by gandalftb (The art of diplomacy says "nice doggie", until you find a bigger rock.)
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To: The_Reader_David
I'm fully aware of everything you stated, and its all important to consider. However, I don't think Iran is as docile, as you portray them.

There is also a factor in Russian thought that I think you missed. I think they actively play the roll of spoiler, taking any and every opportunity to make Western European powers and the U.S. weaker.

19 posted on 07/09/2012 10:18:34 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: SampleMan

Iran is not docile, which I why I think Russia is mistaken in thinking they can use them as a pawn in balance-of-power politics.


20 posted on 07/09/2012 8:05:55 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: vertolet888

Isn’t it obvious to you yet that Russia is in the process of stabbing its Syrian allies in the back just like they did in Libya? The same fate awaits any fools stupid enough to ally themselves with Putinist Russia. Ask yourself, why did Russia not veto the Libya no-fly zone at the UN? It’s because Medvedev calculated that Kadaffy would end up costing them more than he was worth. Now Putin is officially back in charge so he has to act like he is tougher than Medvedev, when really he’s not. Russia’s Libya and Syria policies are just Putin and Medvedev’s classic “good cop, bad cop” routine!”


21 posted on 07/10/2012 1:53:14 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: vertolet888

Without Assad, it would be the Muzzie brothers and some screwball Imam in charge. As much as I despise Assad, I guaranty that even George McGovern would be calling in air strikes on the population if there were 10,000 fools with RPG’s IED’s and mounted rocket launchers running around in say Baltimore. If it takes the Russians to keep Syria’s weaponry away from the Islamists, good for them.


22 posted on 07/14/2012 1:41:05 PM PDT by anton
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