June 17, 2012
On Friday, the Russian General Staff announced it will send warships from the Black Sea Fleet to the Syrian coast. The deployment will protect the Russian logistics base in Tartus, Syria.
Russia has historically maintained a strong bilateral relationship with Syria. Its only Mediterranean naval base for the Black Sea Fleet is located in the port of Tartus.
“Several warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, including large landing ships with marines aboard, are fully prepared to go on the voyage,” the General Staff told Itar-Tass.
In late May, Russian and Western media reported that the Russian-flagged bulk cargo vessel Professor Katsman docked at the Syrian port of Tartus and delivered weapons to the al-Assad regime. The Ford Foundation funded NGO Human Rights First also made the claim. Amnesty International, a Soros funded NGO, has called on the Russian government to cease the transfer of arms to Syria in compliance with UN Security Council recommendations.
“Either the U.S. intelligence service works poorly or they have a poor knowledge of geography,” a source with the Russian General Staff remarked in response to the allegation.
On Sunday, The Telegraph reported that the United States has enlisted the help British officials to stop an alleged shipment of MI25 helicopters from the Russian Baltic port of Kaliningrad. The MV Alaed, a Russian-operated cargo vessel, is said to be sailing across the North Sea en route to Syria. The U.S. wants the ship’s insurance cover removed under the terms of a European Union arms embargo against Syria. Removing the MV Alaed’s insurance would make it difficult for the cargo ship to dock in port.
In April, a German cargo ship was prevented from docking at Tartus. The ship allegedly carried a cargo of munitions sent by Iran to the al-Assad regime.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. ambassador Susan Rice used the claim to accuse Russia of arming the al-Assad regime.
“The new Russian weapons supplies add to Syria’s massive arsenal of hundreds of Soviet-built combat jets, attack helicopters and missiles and thousands of tanks, other armored vehicles and artillery systems,” the AP reported after Clinton’s accusation that Russia had sent attack helicopters to Syria. “Russia said it also has military advisers in Syria training the Syrians to use the Russian weapons, and has helped repair and maintain Syrian weapons. Some experts alleged that the helicopters Clinton said were en route to Syria could be old ones that underwent maintenance in Russia.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied the accusation. In a statement on June 15, he said that “many years ago” Russia sold helicopters to Syria, but is now only repairing the helicopters.
Former Clinton bureaucrat and United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson used the accusation to call for arming Syrian rebels “in an effort to protect civilians against government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad,” according to Fox News.
The Free Syrian Army now active inside Syria is supported by the CIA, MI6 and Mossad. The rebel group held talks with the NSC last week in an effort to acquire heavy weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. According to witnesses and other evidence, the FSA is responsible for the massacre in al-Houla, Syria, not the al-Assad regime as was widely reported by the media in the United States and Europe.