Sunday, September 19, 2010

Russia supplies advance weapons to Syria

From Ynet News, 19 September 2010, by Itamar Eichner:

Jerusalem angered at sale of Russian [cruise] missiles to Syria...

Israeli officials are threatening to sell weapons to "areas of strategic importance" to Russia after Moscow announced over the weekend that it would go through with the sale of P800 [cruise] missiles to Syria...

Russia's announcement came after both Israel and the US implored that it abandon the sale. The cruise missiles discussed, dubbed Yakhont, have a range of 300 km, which puts Israeli ships off of Lebanon's coast at risk of being hit by missiles fired from Syria's southern port.

...last month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin and requested that he call it off, for fear the missiles will be handed to Hezbollah.

More recently Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Moscow on a similar mission. Barak spoke with both Putin and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. ...

Despite the extensive efforts, the deal was announced Friday to be proceeding as planned. "They've gone one step too far," one Jerusalem official said. "This is not in keeping with our cooperation with them."

The official said Israel had so far refrained from selling "strategic, tie-breaking weapons" to third-world countries, and that it expected Russia to do the same.

"The supply of advanced weapons to Syria, one of Hezbollah's two main supporters, especially on the eve of the fateful peace talks with the Palestinians, is not a move encouraging the moderate forces of the Middle East – but rather a prize for extremist states," the source said.

...The P800 is considered one of the world's most advanced cruising missiles due to its speed and low flight. Israel fears it will fall into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which would put its ships in the Mediterranean at risk, especially in light of terror organizations' desire to derail peace talks with the Palestinians...
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