U.S.: Russia's Missile Shipment Will Embolden Syria

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Russia's shipment of anti-ship missiles to Syria will "embolden" the regime and fuel the country's civil war, the U.S. military's top officer said Friday.

General Martin Dempsey's comments were the first official confirmation from the U.S. government that Moscow had sent advanced "ship-killer" cruise missiles to President Bashar Assad's regime.

"It is at the very least an unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a news conference when asked about the reported shipment of missiles.

"It's ill-timed and very unfortunate."

At the same press conference, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States would continue to confer with Russia on the Syrian conflict and that both countries shared an interest in preventing a potential regional war that would be explosive.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also expressed concern over Russian arms shipments to Syria, but downplayed reports of anti-ship missiles being sent to Damascus as not new.

"We remain concerned about any aid that is being provided to help the Syrian regime by the Russians or anyone else, including any form of missile," Psaki said.

"That's a concern we've expressed publicly, and the secretary and others have expressed privately as well."

The New York Times reported on Friday that Russia had sent Syria a shipment of upgraded Yakhonts anti-ship missiles that would make any naval blockade of Syria more difficult.

"Russia had previously provided a version of the missiles to Syria," The Times wrote. "But those delivered recently are outfitted with an advanced radar that makes them more effective," it added, citing American officials.

But Psaki took issue with the timeline, saying: "We're not aware of new shipments of these specific missiles."

"These specific missiles, the Yakhont anti-ship missile was reported in December of 2011."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned last week that such missiles sales would be "destabilizing" amid reports Moscow was planning to go ahead with a million deal to sell sophisticated surface-to-air missiles to Syria.

Psaki, however, also stressed that Washington was "pleased" that Moscow was working with the United States to try to organize an international peace conference on Syria.

Comments 10
Default-user-icon Kostando Boshbambil (Guest) 18 May 2013, 00:05

Oh yeah? I guess unlike the US shipments of the deadliest weapons and ammunition to the most criminal people on the face of this earth, the Israeli rapists?

Thumb primesuspect 18 May 2013, 01:06


Thumb benzona 18 May 2013, 04:29

Talk for yourself my dear. We want peace with Israel... After 60+ years this is it, the israelis are here for good whether you like it or not. Perhaps the time has come to invest in the future, not in weapons that's ruin everyone's life.... Well, at least the locals, not the expats.

Missing cowboymicho 18 May 2013, 05:14

And what about the US weapons coming in to help the rebels. Double standard.

Thumb smarty 18 May 2013, 05:27

Germany is helping Syrian rebels by providing them with information gathered by a German navy vessel off the coast of Syria,the boat has spying equipment from the German intelligence service on board, enabling it to observe Syrian troop movements up to 600 km inland.

Thumb jcamerican 18 May 2013, 10:18

This is why not much had been done.

Missing love4lebanon 18 May 2013, 11:09

Well said bigjohn,please don't waste your time with the likes of that Jew loving benzona & co.

Missing love4lebanon 18 May 2013, 11:10

Hey benzona no peace with Jews .

Default-user-icon Zaturn (Guest) 18 May 2013, 12:20

Right... and the American/NATO intervention in Syria would embolden whom? Syrian conflict is their own doing, but hypocrisy and double standards are typical here.

Missing yakoub 18 May 2013, 17:21

Ben zina, your the one who should talk for yourself. Who the hell are we?? Because majority of arabs want israel to die and rightefully so. Israel is not here to stay, not according to religion and not according to demographics.