Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Thursday in Washington that Russia would honor a 2007 contract to supply Syria with P-800 Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, Russian news agencies reported Friday. The RIA-Novosti agency reports that the missiles (known as P-800 Oniks in Russia) have a range of 300 kilometers, carry a 200-kilogram warhead and feature a unique ability to cruise several meters above the surface, making it difficult to detect and intercept them.Since Syria does not share the need the rest of the Arab world has of defending itself against Iran, the only other reason that Syria would want the missiles would be to increase its offensive capabilities against Israel--or keep its own people under control.
Russia, for its part, is probably taking a page out of the Obama play book and is merely trying to create jobs back home.
The real concern, though, is not that Syria itself will use those missiles--but that Syria will give them to Hezbollah, who will. Fortunately, Russia was quick to reassure:
"The US and Israel ask us not to supply Syria with Yakhont. But we do not see the concerns expressed by them that these arms will fall into the hands of terrorists." Serdyukov explained that Russia always stipulates strict terms when it comes to weapon supplies.I don't know, considering that just last year an entire Russian cargo ship went missing, I just don't feel that confident in Russia's "strict terms".
Technorati Tag: Russia and Syria and Hezbollah and Yakhont.