You're unlikely to hear much about this in the mainstream media. But Russia is going all-in to support the Assad Regime in Syria.
|Yakhont Anti-Shipping Cruise Missile (Russia)|
New York Times reported that in addition to delivering the advanced S-300 surface to air missile systems to Syria, Russia is providing the balance of an order of seventy-two Yakhont anti-ship missiles. The Yakhont are reputed to be among the best anti-ship missiles in the world. They would make a US intervention from the sea in the Syrian theater, complicated.
We don't know whether Russian or Syrian crews will man the S-300 SAM's. The net effect of both systems is to deter a UN sanctioned no-fly zone over Syria, and to prevent a move by NATO to reinforce by sea. You will recall that in Libya, the UN resolution calling for a no-fly zone evolved into a NATO air campaign with limited ground support.
|Russian destroyer Admiral Panteleyev|
Russian navy ships from the Pacific Fleet entered the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in decades this week. The task group includes the destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, two amphibious warfare ships Peresvet and Admiral Nevelskoi, as well as a tanker and a tugboat.
"The task force has successfully passed through the Suez Canal and entered the Mediterranean. It is the first time in decades that Pacific Fleet warships have entered this region," the Pacific Fleet spokesman, Captain First Rank Roman Martov told RIA Novosti. Their next port of call is Limassol, Cyprus.
Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov made it clear that they will not allow NATO to repeat in Syria what they did in Libya. Chirkov announced plans for the Mediterranean task force and said that it may "possibly" be enlarged to include nuclear submarines. "Overall, already from this year, we plan to have five or six warships and support vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, which will be replaced on a rotating basis from each of the fleets. Depending on the scope of assignments and their complexity, the number of warships in the task force may be increased,"
While NATO and the Arab monarchs have dithered, the Russians made their decision to stand by Syria. While President Obama would seem to be moving his red lines this way and that way, Vladimir Putin appears to be a man of his word.