Russia warns of Mideast suffering if U.S. strikes Syria
As U.S. ships and British warplanes neared the shores of its last remaining ally in the Middle East, Russia warned again Tuesday that any military intervention in Syria would have "catastrophic consequences" for the region.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that launching a military strike without seeking approval from the United Nations Security Council would cause "new suffering and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa," according to the Russian TV station RT.
Russia has vowed to veto any Security Council attempts to approve a military attack on Syria, and it is arming Syria as well, which is why the United States is considering a unilateral attack with the help of the United Kingdom and other nations.
"The Russians are extremely mad and there's sort of pre-war frenzy in Moscow," Cohen said. "I think in reality their options are limited but dangerous."
While the Russians are unlikely to oppose U.S. forces in the fields, Cohen listed other things they can do:
- The Russians could also send Assad their supersonic P800 long-range anti-ship missile, which is capable of sinking NATO ships with a single strike. U.S. officials reported that Israel attempted to destroy such missiles in Latakia during a July 5 air strike, though it was unclear if the strike was successful, according to the Guardian newspaper.
- The Russians could expand sales to Iran of weapons and nuclear technology that has both nuclear and civilian functions. Iran's nuclear program is considered a threat by Iran's rivals Israel and Gulf Arab states.
- Russian could pursue plans to deploy a large permanent naval task force and expand its number of bases in the Mediterranean.
The Egyptian military has offered Russia a military base in recent months, and is seeking expanded relations with Russia for weapons and wheat sales, Cohen said.....snip~
Anyone else got anything to say about France Rules of we will protect other populations? Everyone alright with France or another being able to say they could come into the US at anytime all to protect the people of a certain state if needed?
That's whats going on here.
Where has Syria attacked a US interest in this conflict?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
But now within months of the problem with MB in Egypt then this issue in Syria. The Egyptians themselves have Offered the Russians a military base in Egypt. Now does that speak volumes to our fearless leaders? Not Since when, has the Egyptians even thought.....of such an idea.
How about that deal coming around should the Russians lose Tartus?
This is why as President you don't telegraph your moves so far in advance. It may have felt good to Obama to announce his line in the sand. I'm sure he felt it sounded tough while at the same time being so outlandish that he'd never be called to follow through. Unfortunately all he did was either give the militants the best path to getting US support, or given Assad the opportunity to show how little he actually respects the US President's warnings. Either way the announcement has had little effect on the conditions in Syria and has forced the administration into a few equally bad choices.
An air campaign in Syria will be disastrous diplomatically. Syria is no doubt prepping for this by stationing mobile AA batteries in densely populated areas, turning the US campaign into one giant catch 22. I would be surprised if any such air campaign would result in fewer civilian deaths than the gas attacks that were used to justify it.
That on top of the fact that Russia is ready to draw it's own line in the sand over Syria.
Those canceled anti-ICBM batteries in Poland would be a real comfort right now....
At this point in time, there appears to be strong evidence that chemical weapons (possibly a nerve agent) were used. Real questions exist as to who was responsible.
Nevertheless, it appears that the U.S. and some others are inclined to carry out a military operation. The seemingly likely military strikes may be, at least in part and perhaps even the largest part, the result of an emotional response to "do something" on the humanitarian end. General Anthony Zinni spoke about that scenario. From The Washington Post:
“When there is a humanitarian disaster, people want to see something happen,” Zinni said. “You’ll knee-jerk into the first option, blowing something up, without thinking through what this could lead to.”
Imminent U.S. strike on Syria could draw nation into civil war - The Washington Post
As for Russia's warnings, they likely have to do with unintended and negative consequences that could follow. In the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has not exactly demonstrated a strong capacity for contingency planning, with the result that the U.S. was unprepared for likely insurgencies in both countries. Russia is not in a position to block U.S. military intervention, though it could speed up arms deliveries to Syria and provide Syria with upgraded weapons in the aftermath. It might also conclude weapons deals with Iran to make any U.S. strikes potentially more costly.
The reality is that U.S. military action against Syria, in which Russia has far greater interests than the U.S., is a major problem for Russia. It would further illustrate Russia's inability to protect its allies, much less shape world affairs. It would also exacerbate Russia's worries about its own growing weaknesses.
Russia, including President Putin, seem quite insecure in a changing world. Russia's population is declining, its life expectancy is falling, ethnic unrest persists along parts of its periphery and in some of its Central Asian territory. Although Russia remains a great power (largely military and largely on account of its nuclear arsenal--that latter point is probably the most likely explanation for Russia's current refusal to pursue further reductions in nuclear arms), it is having difficulty reconciling the reality that it is not a superpower with its self-perceptions/ambitions. The West's unilaterally expanding the limited no-fly zone authority in Libya from a civilian protection mission to one of regime change not only eroded Russia's trust in U.S. reliability, but painfully brought home the realities of its impotence to influence such events. I suspect that the combination of its present and historic fears, its weakness, and U.S. policy choices have fueled an increasing tit-for-tat dynamic with the U.S.
Russia's leaders might believe that such a strategy conveys strength. To outsiders, it illustrates weakness. Those decisions have little meaningful impact both on the trajectory of world affairs and the global balance of power. Concrete results, not words or threats, provide foreign policy currency. Failures of deterrence, in this case dissuading the U.S. from launching military action against a Russian ally, undermine such currency.
To be sure, Russia can still create problems for the U.S. beyond Syria. For example, should it suspend cooperation with regard to Iran or even ship more advanced weapons systems to Tehran, that would complicate things for the U.S. Nevertheless, that wouldn't create insurmountable problems for the U.S. The U.S. still possesses the power to prevent a shift in the region's balance of power, to protect vital U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf and regional strategic allies, and to deter Iran from using/sharing nuclear weapons technology should it develop that capacity.
In sum, Russia has much to lose should the U.S. carry out military strikes against Syria. Any outcome other than its dissuading the U.S. from launching military strikes could inflict "losses" on Russia. It can't support those strikes, even if credible evidence revealed the Assad government were responsible for the chemical weapons attack (not yet available), as that would demonstrate that Russia is not a reliable partner to its allies and prospective allies. Thus, it can only oppose military action. However, it is essentially powerless to stop it and that weakness would be exposed should any military action be taken. Such military action would demonstrate Russia's lack of ability to protect is allies from attack.
Therefore, Russia could try to make Syria a litmus test of sorts. It did so with Libya, albeit on a smaller scale, in resolving not to support UN Security Council Resolutions that could authorize the use of force for the foreseeable future. In this case, Russia's interests are greater. Hence, it could try to link policy choices to the outcome in Syria in a bid to create substantive rather than symbolic problems for the U.S. Logical choices would include increased weapons deliveries to Syria, perhaps on a scale to turn the sectarian conflict decidedly in Assad's favor. It could withdraw cooperation with the U.S. in some parts of the world where U.S. and Russian interests are not well-aligned. It could suspend or even with draw from the international nuclear talks with Iran. It could conclude new arms deals with Iran that grant Iran access to some of Russia's most sophisticated defense systems. It likely won't respond with military action of its own, though covert action in Syria can't be ruled out.