Thursday, June 6, 2013

S-300, MiG 29s and MiG 31s for Syria. Russia Draws Red Line In Syrian Sand. Toward a Strategic Balance in the Middle East

Christof Lehmann

The recent commitment by Russia to honor a contract with Syria for the delivery of S-300 Surface to Air defense systems, considered to be one of the best, if not the best in the world, is followed up by a Syrian request for the delivery of MiG 29 M/M2 fighter jets. In 2012 NATO stationed Patriot Missile Defense Systems along the 900 km long Syrian – Turkish border; Saudi-Arabia and the USA signed a deal for a significant upgrade of Saudi-Arabia´s air force. Russia is drawing a red line in the Syrian sand. With the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a direct military intervention against Syria would be futile. The Middle East is being prepared for a stand-off.

Russia-made MIG-29 M/M2 fighter jets (file photo)
Russia-made MIG-29 M/M2 fighter jets (file photo)

At a press conference on the opening day of the Russia – E.U. Summit in Yekaterinburg on Tuesday 4 June, Russia´s President Vladimir Putin confirmed again, that Russia will honor its contract with Syria and deliver S-300 SAM Systems. Putin stressed Russia´s disappointment over the E.U.´s failure to prolong the arms embargo against Syria which effectively permits each E.U. member state to decide whether it will arm the terrorist and mercenary corps which have destabilized Syria since 2011.

The S-300 SAMs will, according to Putin bring stability to the region. Putin made a point of stating, that the S-300 SAMs are among the best, if they are not the best Air Defense System, which, so Putin, every military expert can confirm. At the same occasion, the Russian President issued a thinly-veiled warning to NATO, Israel and the GCC member states when he stated, that any attempted direct military intervention against Syria would be futile.

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