Russia will continue arms sales to Syria
TRussia will continue exporting arms to Syria since no international decision has been made outlawing it. A statement to this effect was made by Deputy Director of Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation Vyacheslav Dzirklan at the Dubai Air Show on Monday.
Experts are cautious in their assessments of the prospects of the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Syria, as international pressure is mounting on President Bashar al-Assad to end the violent repression of dissent. Syria is the biggest importer of Russian weapons in the region. The cooperation between the two countries was on the wane in the aftermath of the break up of the Soviet Union. From that moment on, the ties grew stronger, Konstantin Makienko, an expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, says:
"The trading has not been very active, as Syria is not that rich. Nonetheless Syria spends almost 100 million on Russia’s hardware every year. There has now been a growing amount of deals, which allowed Syria to grab the 5th place among Russia’s major importers with contracts up to 3.5 – 3.8 billion dollars. In one of the largest deals so far Syria purchased 24 MiG-29M2. The contract will be implemented in 2012 and 2013."
It is also worth to note that submitting to the pressure from the West, the US and Israel Russia refused to export Iskander long-range missiles to Syria despite the preliminary agreement between the two countries.
Russia has also agreed to supply Syria with mobile coastal missile system (MCMS) Bastion and Yakhont antiship missiles. Konstantin Makienko argues that any accusations in this case are completely groundless:
"As far as missiles are concerned, a restriction imposed by Missile technology Control Regime limits the missile range to 300 kilometers. As the range of the Bastion complex comes up to 280 kilometers, it does not violate any international laws."
Russia has also delivered Kornet and Metis anti-tank missiles to Syria. The top contracts already implemented included supplies of 36 anti-aircraft “Pancyr C” complexes, and the upgrade of T-72 and MiG-29 forces.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia rejects any arms embargo imposed on Syria and would try to avoid a repeat of the Libyan scenario in the country. Lavrov stressed that lessons should be learned from the situation in Libya, where an embargo on arms supplies was "only applied to the Libyan army". Experts say it is impossible to see how things will unravel in Syria. Nevertheless Russia will do everything it can to respect its contractual obligations to the country.
Source: Voice of Russia, By Oleg Nekhai - 6 December 2011 - Russian-Syrian relations, Military news (http://english.ruvr.ru)
Photo: Syrian 96K6 Pantsir-C1 system with revised acquisition radar (Photo by ENIKS)