The coast of Syria is getting crowded. Russia has retained a naval support infrastructure there since the end of the Cold War, resuming warship visits in 2008. The Russians reportedly will make improvements to the port of Tartus this year, with the intention of using it as a base for naval operations by 2012-13.
The Iranian ships that came through the Suez Canal last week are in Latakia, Syria, where high-level visits and official celebrations attended their arrival. Iran bills the ship deployment as a peace-and-friendship outreach – a message somewhat undercut by the musings of the Syrian defense minister, who reportedly says the presence of the warships “cripples Israel.” (It doesn’t; and it looks like the Iranian ships are heading home now anyway.) Iran and Syria signed a naval cooperation pact on 25 February, which DEBKAfile says includes an agreement to base Iranian forces at Latakia.
That’s certainly possible – in fact, likely – although at this point not independently confirmed. What is confirmed, however, is that Russia reasserted last week her determination Continue reading “Supersonic Cruise Missiles Coming to the Med”