Russia starts new relationship with Lebanon

Phil Boehmke
This week Vladimir Putin and Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri met in Russia for talks which seem to have “reset” relations between the two nations and opened the door for greater Russian involvement in the Middle-East. During Hariri’s two day visit he also met with President Medvedev, Mikhail Dmitriyev, the director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation and other Russian officials. The Daily Star of Lebanon reports:
 
Hariri announced that Moscow would provide Lebanon with six MI 24 helicopters, 31 T-72 tanks, 36 cannons of 130 mm caliber, around half a million different munitions for medium-sized weapons, and 30,000 artillery shells for free.
 
Prime Minister Hariri praised his new Russian friends saying that “military and security relations are very important, as well as military exchanges and training.” Since Lebanon has no Air Force, Russian pilots and technicians will be training Lebanese military personnel to fly and maintain the MI 24 attack helicopters. Hariri said:
 
“We believe that Russia’s role is major, and your historical positions in support of the Palestinian cause and the Arabs, as well as your support to the international resolutions related to these issues, were fair. Russia has always been the party that sees the problem from two sides,” he said.
 
“We hope that your role in this process will become stronger, because the region needs Russia’s role. We must put an end to Israeli continuous intransigence, because the region does not tolerate all this extremism that exists in it,” the premier said.
 
The Jerusalem Post reports that Yiftah Shapir, the director of the military balance project at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies said that the Russians also offered Hariri fighter jets, but the Lebanese prime minister declined because his country has no pilots or suitable facilities. Shapir called the Russian weapons militarily insignificant saying that “In the case of war, these things would not exist after 15 minutes.” While the present military impact is negligible, Shapir expressed concern over the “deep political significance” of the move, adding that “Russia wants a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean.”
 
Russia is also reportedly set to sell Syria a number of Yakhont land-to-sea missiles which have a range of some 300 kilometers.
 
“These missiles are supersonic, radar guided, and have navigational capabilities as they approach their target. They leave little time for response,” Shapir said. “The chances that it will end up in Lebanon are pretty high.”
 
Shapir added that the advanced missile system would curtail the Navy’s freedom of operation around the Mediterranean, and enable Hizbullah to fire on Israeli warships near naval home ports like Haifa.
 
[…]
 
For its part, Syria is revamping its port in the coastal city of Tartus in order to allow Russian warships to dock there, giving Russia a presence in the Mediterranean it has not enjoyed in the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
 
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama will be in Lisbon this weekend for the NATO summit which will include Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Mr. Obama continues to press the lame duck senate to ratify the New START treaty in order to impress his Russian friends as he attempts to secure their military support in Afghanistan. 
 
It seems that the disastrous Obama-Clinton foreign policy has been tailor made for a new era of Russian expansion. The Russian Bear is well rested after his long hibernation, he is hungry and he remembers how much fun it was during the Carter years.

 
paboehmke@yahoo.com
This week Vladimir Putin and Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri met in Russia for talks which seem to have “reset” relations between the two nations and opened the door for greater Russian involvement in the Middle-East. During Hariri’s two day visit he also met with President Medvedev, Mikhail Dmitriyev, the director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation and other Russian officials. The Daily Star of Lebanon reports:
 
Hariri announced that Moscow would provide Lebanon with six MI 24 helicopters, 31 T-72 tanks, 36 cannons of 130 mm caliber, around half a million different munitions for medium-sized weapons, and 30,000 artillery shells for free.
 
Prime Minister Hariri praised his new Russian friends saying that “military and security relations are very important, as well as military exchanges and training.” Since Lebanon has no Air Force, Russian pilots and technicians will be training Lebanese military personnel to fly and maintain the MI 24 attack helicopters. Hariri said:
 
“We believe that Russia’s role is major, and your historical positions in support of the Palestinian cause and the Arabs, as well as your support to the international resolutions related to these issues, were fair. Russia has always been the party that sees the problem from two sides,” he said.
 
“We hope that your role in this process will become stronger, because the region needs Russia’s role. We must put an end to Israeli continuous intransigence, because the region does not tolerate all this extremism that exists in it,” the premier said.
 
The Jerusalem Post reports that Yiftah Shapir, the director of the military balance project at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies said that the Russians also offered Hariri fighter jets, but the Lebanese prime minister declined because his country has no pilots or suitable facilities. Shapir called the Russian weapons militarily insignificant saying that “In the case of war, these things would not exist after 15 minutes.” While the present military impact is negligible, Shapir expressed concern over the “deep political significance” of the move, adding that “Russia wants a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean.”
 
Russia is also reportedly set to sell Syria a number of Yakhont land-to-sea missiles which have a range of some 300 kilometers.
 
“These missiles are supersonic, radar guided, and have navigational capabilities as they approach their target. They leave little time for response,” Shapir said. “The chances that it will end up in Lebanon are pretty high.”
 
Shapir added that the advanced missile system would curtail the Navy’s freedom of operation around the Mediterranean, and enable Hizbullah to fire on Israeli warships near naval home ports like Haifa.
 
[…]
 
For its part, Syria is revamping its port in the coastal city of Tartus in order to allow Russian warships to dock there, giving Russia a presence in the Mediterranean it has not enjoyed in the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
 
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama will be in Lisbon this weekend for the NATO summit which will include Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Mr. Obama continues to press the lame duck senate to ratify the New START treaty in order to impress his Russian friends as he attempts to secure their military support in Afghanistan. 
 
It seems that the disastrous Obama-Clinton foreign policy has been tailor made for a new era of Russian expansion. The Russian Bear is well rested after his long hibernation, he is hungry and he remembers how much fun it was during the Carter years.

 
paboehmke@yahoo.com