April 7, 2012
Efforts by Western powers and Persian Gulf Arab states to topple the Syrian government and undermine Iran pose a serious threat to the security of Russia, Press TV reports.
“Unfortunately, what’s now occurring in Syria and even the threat to Iran by the Israelis is having a very serious effect on the Russians in terms of their own vital interests in the Middle East,” Michael Malouf, former Pentagon official from Washington, said in an interview with Press TV.
Malouf went on to say that Russia “has some major military assets in Syria itself that will probably come into play if the opposition continues the way it is right now in continuing to bombard unabated.”
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western and Arab nations against arming foreign-backed opposition groups in Syria, saying that a heavily armed opposition won’t defeat the Syrian army.
This comes as several Persian Gulf Arab states and the United States pledged 100 million dollars to provide salaries and communications equipment for Syrian rebels fighting against the government.
“When the opposition first started out they didn’t have very much in terms of arms; now they have very exotic weapons. Where did they get those weapons? They had to come from the outside. You had Saudi Arabia arming and providing that kind of assistance,” Malouf added.
However, Moscow has responded to Western encroachment by “moving more and more troops and modernizing their base in Armenia in anticipation of the whole crisis in the Middle East from Syria to Iran exploding.”
Saudi Arabia and Qatar also backed the idea of arming the opposition against Bashar Assad’s government.
“Not only the crisis in Syria, but in the larger geo-political and geo-strategic stand point this is also going to be the problem with respect to the potential threats that you’re hearing from not only the US, but from Israel in wanting to bomb Iran – It’s making Moscow increasingly uneasy in terms of the instability in the region,” Malouf concluded.
Russia is supporting a six-point peace initiative proposed by the joint UN and Arab League special envoy, Kofi Annan, who told the UN Security Council on Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed on the April 10 deadline to put the plan to work.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on March 6 that the Syrian people have “proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism.”
Moscow has also accused Washington of campaigning so-called democratic issues in Russia, including running a pro-democracy program which fueled protests that erupted after December’s parliamentary election in the country.