Russia delivers air-defense missiles to Syria as opposition rejects Geneva conference

posted at 8:41 am on May 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The first air-defense missiles from Russia have begun rolling into Syria, according to the the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Speaking on a TV station owned by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad said that Russia will honor its promises to Syria, and had in fact already started to do so (via Rovin):

The Syrian president has told Lebanon’s Hizbollah-owned TV station that Damascus received the first shipment of S300 Russian air defence missiles.

Al-Manar said in a statement that when asked about the promised delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missiles, Assad replied: “All the agreements with Russia will be honoured and some already have been recently.”

Assad’s comment on the arrival of the long-range S-300s in Syria will further ratchet up tensions in the region and undermine efforts to hold UN-sponsored talks with Syria’s warring sides.

The shipments are intended to dissuade the US and NATO from interfering in the Syrian civil war by making a no-fly zone mission more dangerous.  That’s not the only danger involved in boosting Syrian air defenses.  Israel is looking at the situation very closely and deciding whether to allow Syria to deploy these defenses before they alter the balance of power:

Col Zvika Haimovich of Israel’s air defence corps was separately quoted yesterday as saying that Syria’s air defences were undergoing continuous upgrade even as the conflict rages.

“We are looking at all aspects, from the performance of the weaponry to the way the Syrians are using it. They have used everything that I am aware exists in their missile and rocket arsenal. They are improving all the time, and so are we, but we need to study this, and to be prepared,” he said.

Israel’s defence chief, Moshe Yaalon, said earlier this week that Russia’s plan to supply Syria with the weapons is a threat and that Israel was prepared to use force to stop the delivery.

Meanwhile, the US and Russia are supposed to be getting the two sides to the table in Geneva.  Assad has already agreed in principle to attend the peace conference, but John Kerry’s efforts with the rebels seem to have collapsed:

Syria’s main Western-backed opposition group says it will not participate in U.S.-Russian sponsored peace talks while the regime is carrying out massacres in Syria. …

A spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, Khalid Saleh, says an “international conference on a political solution to the situation in Syria has no meaning in light of the massacres that are taking place.”

The BBC got a more blunt assessment from the rebels:

Meanwhile, the main opposition outside Syria said it would not take part in peace talks while massacres continued.

Speaking in Istanbul where the Syrian National Coalition is meeting, its interim head, George Sabra, said that talk of diplomatic conferences was farcical while Syrian government forces backed by the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah were carrying out heinous crimes.

That’s not all that’s farcical in this dance.  


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Afghanistan circa 1982 part deux….

ted c on May 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM

quick!
Someone draw another red line or something!!!

ted c on May 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Given the performance of Soviet/Russian weapons over the last 20 years, I’d only be worried if they sent SA-3s over to the Syrians, especially if they had the Serbian modifications.

When will somebody make Lake Damascus?

Steve Eggleston on May 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Russia is double dog daring Obama to try something. Putin knows he won’t do anything and he is rubbing his face in it.

Johnnyreb on May 30, 2013 at 8:46 AM

The project-managing developer of the S-300 is Russian Almaz corporation (government owned, aka “KB-1″) which is currently a part of “Almaz-Antei” Air Defense Concern. S-300 uses missiles developed by MKB “Fakel” design bureau (a separate government corporation, aka “OKB-2″).

The S-300 is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded.[3] Its radars have the ability to simultaneously track up to 100 targets while engaging up to 12. S-300 deployment time is five minutes.[3] The S-300 missiles are sealed rounds and require no maintenance over their lifetime. An evolved version of the S-300 system is the S-400 (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler), entering limited service in 2004.

ted c on May 30, 2013 at 8:47 AM

“And if you need any more Bashar just let me know. There’s more where those came from. I’m really enjoying giving America’s Dear Leader the finger. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Seriously, let me know what else you might need, my friend. Oh, BTW Ahmadinejad said to say hi, and that goes for him, too.” — Putin

farsighted on May 30, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Paging Dennis Rodman. Paging Dennis Rodman.

If ever the rat-eared coward’s diplomat-at-large is needed to shoot a few hoops with an enemy of the United States, this is it.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2013 at 8:49 AM

How’s that “post election flexibility” working out for you, champ?

ted c on May 30, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Russia is double dog daring Obama to try something. Putin knows he won’t do anything and he is rubbing his face in it.

Johnnyreb on May 30, 2013 at 8:46 AM

I thought the rat-eared coward had more flexibility now.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Russia gave Assad their best AA gear a while back and he used it to protect that nuke site he started up. How well did that work out again?

Putin has no worry about Zero brains. The Israeli’s will do what they must.

dogsoldier on May 30, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Let’s see hotshot Obama/McCain try an intervention in Syria.

If those missiles are SA-10, they have an effective range of 5-150km. They’re designed to defend against a mass air strike.

I don’t know Syria’s military capability, but it won’t surprise me in the least if, for now, those new launchers are manned by Russians.

Obama/McCain really need to keep their mouths shut for once.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Yup — the Russian S300 is what NATO calls the SA-10.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Psst? Meester Obama…..

Yes, Mr. Medvedev?

Hey, we want to ship some meeeesles over to our friend in Syria, Meeester Assad?

Well, Mr. Medvedev, I need to first suppress all these tea party groups, get better control of the press, and inspect Mitt Romney’s taxes a bit more before ya’ll go batsh!t over there, mmkay? I mean, once I get past my next election, I’ll have a bit more flexibility…..then ya’ll can do what you want. Pass that to Vladimir wouldja???

Yes, definitely Meester President, I veeel pass to Vladimir…..

ted c on May 30, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Let’s see hotshot Obama/McCain try an intervention in Syria.

If those missiles are SA-10, they have an effective range of 5-150km. They’re designed to defend against a mass air strike.

I don’t know Syria’s military capability, but it won’t surprise me in the least if, for now, those new launchers are manned by Russians.

Obama/McCain really need to keep their mouths shut for once.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:51 AM

The S-300 is the Soviet Russian designation for the missiles NATO designates the SA-10.

Steve Eggleston on May 30, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I don’t know Syria’s military capability, but it won’t surprise me in the least if, for now, those new launchers are manned by Russians.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Most likely they are. They probably have to be for now.

The Russians will call them “trainers”.

farsighted on May 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

The S-300 is the Soviet Russian designation for the missiles NATO designates the SA-10.

Steve Eggleston on May 30, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I’m slow! LOL

Thanks for the confirmation. I’m not up on modern Russian equipment as I used to be during the 80s.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

It all becomes clear. When Hillary & Obama said they wanted to “reset” relations with Russia, they meant to reset it all the way back to Cold War style proxy wars.

Fenris on May 30, 2013 at 8:56 AM

The Russians will call them “trainers”.

farsighted on May 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Russian weapons work, and their crews know how to use them.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Thanks for the H/T Ed. At a glance, I’d say John Kerry’s doing a “bang-up” job since taking over for Hillary, (/) You think even McCain knew this shipment was in the works?

Of course, Obama will have to read it in the news before he comments on this issue.

Rovin on May 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Do Obama/McCain really want to get us into a shooting war in Syria that doesn’t serve the national interest?

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM

So much flexibility…

Gatsu on May 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM

And McCain can tell the difference between the good rebels and the bad rebels
Cripe

cmsinaz on May 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM

The President may have to gain a fuller appreciation of Israel, now.

Jabberwock on May 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM

I’m slow! LOL

Thanks for the confirmation. I’m not up on modern Russian equipment as I used to be during the 80s.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM

No problem. I’m not as fast as I used to be on the Sov/Rus-to-NATO translation as I used to be either.

Steve Eggleston on May 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Russia is double dog daring Obama to try something. Putin knows he won’t do anything and he is rubbing his face in it.

Johnnyreb on May 30, 2013 at 8:46 AM

I think you give Obama too much credit. Obama wants to be seen to be doing something; to be seen pondering with a wise look on his face and coming to a considered decision to take bold action. The actual thought process has little to do with actual threats and outcomes in the Middle East, and everything to do with political threats and outcomes here at home. If Obama’s actions create more chaos abroad then what does he care?

Fenris on May 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Can McLame figure out who the bad guys are now?

Kissmygrits on May 30, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Russia delivers air-defense missiles to Syria as opposition rejects Geneva conference

Wait. Do you mean that treaties like the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty don’t work once outside of the rarefied, surreal world of DC, the General Assembly of the UN, and the faculty lounge?

And…only apply to countries other than the US?

Who could’ve seen this coming?

Russia arming the Syrian regime: Bad

Obama arming the ‘eating their hearts out’ Syrian rebels: Good.

Resist We Much on May 30, 2013 at 9:05 AM

And McCain can tell the difference between the good rebels and the bad rebels
Cripe

cmsinaz on May 30, 2013 at 9:01 AM

He can? Near as I can tell, he can’t tell the difference between is a-hole and a hole in the ground using both hands, radar, and a guide even when he has a flashlight and it’s high noon on a clear sunny day.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I don’t know Syria’s military capability, but it won’t surprise me in the least if, for now, those new launchers are manned by Russians.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 8:51 AM

The Russians have been shooting down American planes since at least 1950.See Korea and VietNam.How many POW’s can verify this?

docflash on May 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM

If the various sects of Islam are all hating on each other and blowing each other up, does that distract them from focusing their hatred on “The great satan”?

just wondering.

PappyD61 on May 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM

When will somebody make Lake Damascus?

Steve Eggleston on May 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I would bet many Syrians would be just as happy with Assad Pond.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM

No problem. I’m not as fast as I used to be on the Sov/Rus-to-NATO translation as I used to be either.

Steve Eggleston on May 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I used to wargame in the 80s for a hobby, and got to know Soviet TO&E pretty well. I’m so long out of the loop I couldn’t now ID a T72 from a T80. And my wargame force was replica of a Soviet regiment at the time, down to the last infantry squad.

I feel so old….

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM

If this war George Bush, would the media start a 24 hour news cycle pitch about how dangerous he is and how this was going to start WWIII with the Russians?

smoothsailing on May 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM

The Russians have been shooting down American planes since at least 1950.See Korea and VietNam.How many POW’s can verify this?

docflash on May 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I know. It used to be propaganda that Russian weapons were ‘crude’. In many ways, they were. But they worked, and the Russians knew what what they were doing.

At an airshow, I got to see a MiG-29 up close and personal. Nothing crude about that plane at all.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM

o/t

Special IRS Prosecutor Favored as Obama Support Drops

Three-quarters of U.S. voters want a special prosecutor to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party groups, according to a poll that showed a drop in President Barack Obama’s approval and trust ratings.

In the survey released today by Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University, registered voters favored a special prosecutor by 76 percent to 17 percent. Those backing such a move included 63 percent of Democrats.

The spotlight on the controversies has taken a toll on Obama’s standing. In the latest survey, 49 percent disapproved of his performance in office, with 45 percent approving. In a Quinnipiac poll released May 1, he received a 48 percent job-approval rating, with 45 percent disapproving.

Obama was judged honest and trustworthy by 49 percent in the latest poll, with 47 disagreeing. In September 2011, the last time Quinnipiac asked that question, 58 percent said Obama was honest and trustworthy and 37 percent said he wasn’t.

Resist We Much on May 30, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Assad has shown no will to surrender. This shipment of AA missiles from the Soviets (come on, now, the USSR never disappeared) would make any campaign a bloody one. Bacack can’t govern a country much less fight a war. He’s fired too many career brass not loyal to his will.

madmonkphotog on May 30, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Heh Liam

Just ask McCain he’ll tell you

cmsinaz on May 30, 2013 at 9:14 AM

…Arab Spring

KOOLAID2 on May 30, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Heh Liam

Just ask McCain he’ll tell you

cmsinaz on May 30, 2013 at 9:14 AM

He can email me, instead.

Soon as he finds his own a-hole. ;-)

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Israel has already stated they will take out the S-300′s before they become operational……any doubters……popcorn ready.

dddave on May 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Who is surprised by this?

By demanding the arms embargo be lifted in order to provide the rebels in Syria with weapons, the U.S. ignorantly played into Russia’s/Putin’s hands. Putin was just waiting for the U.S. to get the ban lifted, knowing U.S. politicians can’t help but stick their noses into other nations’ affairs/conflicts. Russia also knew the easiest & most palatable option for the U.S. to choose – as shown in Libya – is to conduct a ‘No-Fly Zone’. What’s the best way for Putin & Assad to conduct their own No-Fly Zone? You install a bunch of new advanced technological Surface-to-Air missiles in your country guaranteed to shoot down any airplane trying to prevent you from flying your own jets over your own country. (Yes, we can take these out, but it will take a great effort to do so.)

Syria IS and always WILL BE Putin’s/Russia’s ‘toadie’, at least as long as Assad is in power.

easyt65 on May 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Israel has already stated they will take out the S-300′s before they become operational……any doubters……popcorn ready.

dddave on May 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM

This has too much potential to get hot way too fast. And Obama isn’t adequate to the task of cooling everybody else’s jets.

I hereby nominate RWM to the Office of President of the United States, forthwith. Can I get a second here?

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Obama was never good at playing chess.

albill on May 30, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Obama was never good at playing chess.

albill on May 30, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Are you kidding? Checkers baffles him.

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:21 AM

quick!
Someone draw another red line or something!!!

ted c on May 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Someone did. (It wasn’t Obama.)

Barnestormer on May 30, 2013 at 9:22 AM

:) Liam

cmsinaz on May 30, 2013 at 9:24 AM

American fighter jets enforcing a no-fly zone, and Russian SAMs? What could go wrong?

Ward Cleaver on May 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM

American fighter jets enforcing a no-fly zone, and Russian SAMs? What could go wrong?

Ward Cleaver on May 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM

With Obama ‘in charge’, anything and everything?

Wish I had built that bomb shelter when I had the chance…

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Obama draws a Red Line – Psych.

Israel given a Green Light – Boom!

Reset, reset, I want a do over.
-Barky

D-fusit on May 30, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Mr President, what actions have you taken regarding Syria to atone for the 100,000 deaths you allowed to happen and what, specifically, have you done to insure the Syrian conflict ends within a year?

[insert cricket chirp here]

HopeHeFails on May 30, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Another success story courtesy of the Cairo Speech.

Bark is pretty damn amazing, you have to admit it.

Bishop on May 30, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Senator Insane McCain: Confident of identifying the ‘good guys’ in Syria.

- Senator Insane McCain, Anderson Cooper 360

Yesterday’s Old & Busted:

‘We can identify who these people are. We can help the right people.’

Today’s New Hotness:

‘Spox: ‘(Senator Insane McCain, who is renown for his discernment and prognostications) didn’t realise that he was posing with rebel kidnapper in Syria.’

You LITERALLY cannot make this shit up!

Resist We Much on May 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

You LITERALLY cannot make this shit up!

Resist We Much on May 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Stupidity seems a hallmark of the US government.

I forget who it was, but years ago some senator said of Saddam Hussein, “We can work with this guy.”

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM

You LITERALLY cannot make this shit up!

Resist We Much on May 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

You or any of us couldn’t, apparently our overseers can and do!
Sickening.

D-fusit on May 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

This has too much potential to get hot way too fast. And Obama isn’t adequate to the task of cooling everybody else’s jets.

I hereby nominate RWM to the Office of President of the United States, forthwith. Can I get a second here?

Liam on May 30, 2013 at 9:19 AM

IIRC, she has stated that she is a native of the United Kingdom.

*Ducks and runs for cover from birther and anti-birther flak.*

Gene Hunt on May 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Senator John McCain Confident of Identifying ‘Good Guys’ in Syria

U.S. Senator John McCain said on Wednesday, two days after meeting with rebels in Syria, that he is confident the United States can send weapons to fighters in Syria without the risk they will fall into the wrong hands.

McCain Wasn’t Posing With Rebel Kidnapper, Spokesman Says

Senator John McCain’s office is pushing back against reports that while visiting Syria this week he posed in a photo with rebels who kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shi’ite pilgrims.

The photo, released by McCain’s office, shows McCain with a group of rebels. Among them are two men identified in the Lebanese press as Mohamed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, two of the kidnappers of the group from Lebanon.

Clueless, crass, and crazy…

RETIRE MCCAIN!!!

dominigan on May 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Resist We Much on May 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

ROFL! Just missed your post. Glad someone else caught this too!

dominigan on May 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Just another result of all that “Smart Diplomacy”. Has anyone asked The Chosen One how that ‘reset’ thingy is working?

GarandFan on May 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM

I detest international politics, using third party countries as pawns.

sadatoni on May 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM

If this keeps us out of that damned Civil War in Syria, I say good for Putin.

As hard as it is for me to comprehend this, Assad is what passes for a good guy over there. Yes, he’s tyrannical dictator and murderous thug, but the main complaint of opposition groups is that he’s not murderous enough towards the Christian minority in Syria. Assad allowed about 2 million Christians to walk about freely and not be beheaded!

AngusMc on May 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Meanwhile, the main opposition outside Syria said it would not take part in peace talks while massacres continued.

Speaking in Istanbul where the Syrian National Coalition is meeting, its interim head, George Sabra, said that talk of diplomatic conferences was farcical while Syrian government forces backed by the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah were carrying out heinous crimes.

Meanwhile…still no mention of the massacre of hundreds of Christians in one village by the islamofascist “rebels”.

I guess that doesn’t rise to the level of a “heinous crime”.

Solaratov on May 30, 2013 at 12:14 PM

As hard as it is for me to comprehend this, Assad is what passes for a good guy over there. Yes, he’s tyrannical dictator and murderous thug, but the main complaint of opposition groups is that he’s not murderous enough towards the Christian minority in Syria. Assad allowed about 2 million Christians to walk about freely and not be beheaded!

AngusMc on May 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM

This. We failed so badly in Iraq that Christians there are under more danger from the kind of sharia that Orangerind Tarzan deserves to live under than when Saddam was in charge. It is simply a fact of life that unless the ME is depopulated and colonized by Western nations there will be no lasting peace or order.

Kill a strongman, you either swap in something strong to replace him or you get a mess that benefits nobody but barbarians.

MelonCollie on May 30, 2013 at 10:48 PM

No, the Russians have yet to deliver the missiles:

Russia has not transfered S-300 missiles to Syria, reports say

‘Assad is lying about possessing S-300 missiles’

john.frank on May 31, 2013 at 4:29 AM