Massive War Games Planned Off Syrian Coast
Iran, Syria, Russia and China are planning the “biggest-ever wargames in the Middle East,” according to an unconfirmed report on the semi-official Iranian news site Fars News. A Syrian official denied the claims, however, China and Russia have come to the aid of both countries in recent months at the UN Security Council, vetoing military intervention in Syria and expanded sanctions on Iran.
According to the report this new axis, as it were, are preparing 90,000 troops, 400 aircraft and 1,000 tanks for the massive joint maneuvers, which are to take place along the Syrian coast within a month.
It has been recently reported that Russian armament sales will continue unabated to Syria including shipment of refurbished Cold War era attack helicopters. The shipment has been reported to have turned back off the Scotland coast after losing its insurance due to the controversial nature of its mission, however, its transponder has since been turned off and verification cannot be achieved. It is possible the armaments are still on their way to Syria.
Russia’s tacit support of the Bashar al Assad regime has the US State Department dismayed, however, in light of covert training, funding and harboring militant opposition elements in Turkey, a NATO member, the western nations are hardly blameless in the intervention. It has been reported that presumably US, UK, France, Jordan and Turkey have Special Operations Forces in Syria since at least December of 2011 training opposition forces and providing reconnaissance. Outfinanced and outgunned and fearing another Libyan style multilateral qu d’etat Iranian Quds Force and Russian SOF have also been reported providing similar assistance to the Syrian military.
Russian interests in the region center around the deep sea ports of Tartus and Latakia. In 2007 Russia endeavored to reestablish a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean for the first time since the Cold War. Needless to say the prospect alarmed many in Washington and Tel Aviv. China has a similar and potentially sticky port access issue in Gwadar, Pakistan in a region where NATO and US forces are waging a full-blown drone war and are covertly, as in Syria, aiding opposition forces. It has been speculated that this Balochistan region could change Sino-US strategic equations significantly. An effort in Congress to drive a wedge between the region and the Pakistani government in Islamabad was shelved in February – at least for now.
The Fars News report of war games states that Russian “atomic submarines and warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers as well as Iranian battleships and submarines will also arrive in Syria” and that Egypt has agreed to let 12 Chinese warships cross the Suez Canal for the exercises. Considering US designs to deny Chinese naval freedom out of Pakistani ports and therefore projection into the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf China has a vested interest in aiding Russia and its claims to access the Mediterranean.
Syria meanwhile faces international pressure, predominantly from the West’s NATO member nations, to end a 15-month crackdown on local rebels trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. But this is of course more than about “rebels.” The small wars of the last decade are mere peons on the grand chessboard, however, it looks as though larger pieces are being moved into place.
To understand the containment policy I invite you to read NATO’s Ring of Fire: The Western Flank and Russia and its follow up The Eastern Flank, China and the Indian “Linchpin.”
You may even wish to delve further into America’s Pacific Century: Containing China and indulge in an informative analysis of US hegemonic machinations in a new video from Nile Bowie and Global Research TV.