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Thursday, September 9, 2010     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Russia OKs advanced cruise missile sale to Syria

MOSCOW — The Kremlin has approved the sale of an anti-ship missile to the Syrian Navy.

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Officials said the missile, identified as P-800, was deemed a defensive weapon that would not change the military balance in the Middle East.

"I would like to stress that the Russian Federation is committed to all agreements previously signed between Russia and Syria," Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said.


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Prikhodko said the P-800 sale was approved by the Kremlin based on a study of its affect on the military balance with Israel. He said Russian weapons to Syria would not be directed "against any third party."

The P-800 Yakhont would mark the first acquisition of an anti-ship missile by the Syrian Navy in at least a decade. Officials said the Yakhont deal was part of an agreement by Damascus for the Russian Navy to expand its presence in the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartous.

Officials said Israel and Russia have been discussing the P-800 missile sale to Syria. They said the issue would be high on the agenda of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, hosted by his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov, during the former's scheduled to Moscow on Sept. 5.

"Some Israeli media distort the position of Russia towards fulfilling its obligations with Syria, including military and technical cooperation," Prikhodko said.

Officials said Israel has been concerned that the P-800 could also be transferred by Syria to the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. Moscow, faced with Israeli evidence presented after the 2006 war in Lebanon, has acknowledged that Hizbullah deployed Russian weapons sold to the Syrian military nearly a decade ago.

The P-800, with a range of 300 kilometers, contains a 200-kilogram warhead. Yakhont has been capable of skimming the sea and avoiding most radar.

For Syria, the P-800 would represent a leap in capability. The Syrian Navy has been employing the Chinese-origin C-802 anti-ship missile, with a range of 120 kilometers.




Comments


Let's say Russia is selling offensive weapon,s o what? There is no balance in ME in terms of power because Syria does not have anything compared to what Israel has (deadly weapons)in its arsenal. There will be balance in power and stability in ME if Russia sells sophisticated arms to Syria because Israel has been violating air space again and again and threating to attack Syria. They will never attack Syria, if they know that Syria has better arms to defend and retaliate. When Syria buys anything even occasionaly, why regional balance of power or instability debate arise? But when Israel continue to develop WMD and buys weapon (F35jet), do the policy makers pretend to be dumb?

Ivan      7:57 p.m. / Friday, September 10, 2010

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