Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Israel issues threat to Russia: No S-300s for Syria

Updated: May 31st, 2013

Russian S-300 air-defense system

Source: Press TV

Israel has issued a veiled threat to Russia over its plan to sell S-300 air-defense missiles to Syria, implying that it is ready to use force to prevent the delivery of the missiles.

On Tuesday, Russia said that it would go ahead with the delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria, noting that the deal would help deter foreign intervention in the country.

Later in the day, Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Moshe Ya'alon commented on the plan, saying, "Clearly this move is a threat to us."

"At this stage I can't say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent," he said. But "if God forbid they do reach Syria, we will know what to do."

The S-300 anti-aircraft system is designed to defend large industrial and administrative centers, army bases, and similar facilities and is capable of destroying ballistic missiles. The most recent modifications of the system can shoot down hostile missiles or aircraft up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) away.

Israel has repeatedly asked Russia to scrap the contract to sell Syria the truck-mounted S-300 missile system.

However, Russia has insisted that it will deliver the S-300 missile system to Syria.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia to try to dissuade Moscow from delivering the S-300s to Syria.

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov insisted that Russia would not cancel the deal despite strong Western and Israeli opposition.

"We understand the concerns and signals sent to us from different capitals. We realize that many of our partners are concerned about the issue," Ryabkov said. "We have no reason to revise our stance."

"We believe that such steps to a large extent help restrain some hotheads considering a scenario to give an international dimension to this conflict," he added .

Update: May 29th - 2013 - 4:45 PM

S-300s stabilizing factor for Syria

Source Video: Press TV

Update: May 30th, 2013

Syria already in possession of Russia's S-300 system: President Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Source: Press TV

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says Damascus is already in possession of the first batch of S-300 missile defense systems from Russia.

During an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV, President Assad also said that the second shipment of the Russian systems will be delivered to Syria soon.

He added that his country would respond to any Israeli aggression against his country.

The complete interview is expected to be aired later on Thursday.

Earlier on May 28, Moscow had said it would go ahead with the delivery of S-300 systems to Damascus, following which the Israeli regime hinted it would take action to prevent the delivery of the systems to Damascus.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem later reiterated that Damascus would give an “immediate” response to any act of aggression by Israel.

“Syria will not let any Israeli aggression go unanswered without retaliation. The retaliation will be the same size as the aggression, and the same type of weapons will be used,” the Syrian foreign minister stated.

In a separate development, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on May 29 that Moscow may reconsider its commitments to restrictions on the delivery of arms to the Syrian government, following a recent decision by the European Union to end an arms embargo on the militants in Syria.

Russia says that the shipment of the S-300 missile defense system is aimed at deterring foreign intervention in Syria.

Syria has been gripped by turmoil since March 2011 and the foreign-sponsored militancy has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.


Update: 2013 May 31st

Russian missiles put Israel at risk: US, Germany


US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Source: Press TV

US Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle say Russia’s delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria will hamper efforts at planned peace talks in Geneva and put Israel at risk.

"It is not helpful to have the S-300 transferred to the region while we are trying to organize this peace [conference] and create peace," Kerry said at a joint news conference with his German counterpart in Washington on Friday.

"We ask them again not to upset the balance within the region with respect to Israel," he said. "The weaponry that is being provided Assad whether it is an old contract or not, has a profoundly negative impact on the balance of interests and the stability of the region and it does put Israel at risk."

Westerwelle also said the Russian missiles would “endanger” the Geneva talks and put Israel’s security at risk.

The two top diplomats were referring to the joint US-Russian bid to hold an international conference on the crisis in Syria that will probably be held in mid-June in the Swiss city of Geneva.

Russia said on Tuesday that it would provide Syria with its S-300 air defense system in accordance with a previous contract. The announcement came a day after the European Union decided to end its arms embargo on Syria to lay the ground for arming militants against the Syrian government.

The warnings to Russia are made by two Western countries that provide the Israeli regime with the most advanced weaponry. In late April, Israel received its fifth Dolfin-class submarine, capable of launching missiles with nuclear warheads, from Germany.

The first two nuclear submarines were donated for free while the third was given at a 50-percent discount. Germany also paid for a third of the fourth and fifth submarines, according to International Defense News.

Berlin will also give another nuclear submarine to Israel in several years and will pay about 135 million euro of the total 600-million-euro cost of the submarine.

In March, President Barack Obama said the US would support Israel with military aid through 2017 and even beyond. This year’s agreement would increase the current aid from $2.4 to $3.1 billion every year.

Obama also said his team would work with the Congress about another $600 million over the next two years for the development of Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.


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