Russian Arms Sold to Syria Will Be Used Against Israel
September 19, 2010
The Israeli defense establishment is greatly concerned about Russia's plans to go ahead with a sale of advanced arms to Syria, a defense source said on Saturday.
"Israel views [arms sale] with great concern," the senior defense official said. "The weapons will eventually be turned against Israel."According to the official, Defense Minister Ehud Barak raised the issue in meetings earlier this month with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
On Friday, Serdyukov announced that Russia would go ahead with its sale of advanced anti-ship rockets to Syria, despite recent attempts by U.S. and Israeli officials to thwart the planned deal.
The arms deal, signed in 2007, involves the sale of advanced P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles to the Syrian military, weaponry which Israel considers as capable of posing significant danger to its navy vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.
Last month, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had tried to sway his Russian counterpart, Putin, from completing the deal, reportedly saying the missiles could be transferred to Hezbollah and used against IDF troops, as was the case in the Second Lebanon War.
September 19, 2010
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted on Sunday that despite intensive diplomacy, Israel had failed to dissuade Russia from selling advanced missiles to Syria.
Speaking at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu told ministers that Russian plans to go ahead with the delivery of P-800 anti-ship missiles to Syria was "problematic" for Israel.
"We have been aware of this deal for some time and there were discussions with the Russians at every level," Netanyahu said.Syria signed a deal to buy the P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles from Russia in 2007. Israel says the weapons pose significant danger to its naval vessels in the Mediterranean and could upset the strategic balance in the region.
"To our regret, the deal is now proceeding in stages and that is problematic for us," Netanyahu said, adding that the Syrian missiles were part of the reason behind Israel's recent decision to upgrade its air force with new American F-35 warplanes.
"We are dealing with a new arsenal of missiles and rockets and there has to be a military response to that," he said.