Thursday, August 29, 2013

Russia Evacuating Syrian Naval Base

Russia To Withdraw Personnel From Syria Base  

MOSCOW | Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:44pm BST

(Reuters) - Russia is preparing to withdraw personnel from its naval maintenance and supply facility on Syria's Mediterranean coast, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.

If accurate, the plan would reflect safety concerns as the United States and its allies gear up for a probable strike to punish President Bashar al-Assad for an alleged gas attack his foes say killed hundreds of people.

The modestly staffed and equipped facility in the port of Tartous is Russia's sole military base outside the former Soviet Union, serving as a foothold in Syria and helping it keep warships travelling through the Eastern Mediterranean supplied.

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Editor's Note: Our (AAIS) sources tell us that the Russians have already placed most of their base personnel on board a large Russian military transport vessel that normally spends a great deal of time at the base. They are in a position to complete shut down of operations, turn off the electricity , lock up and move offshore on a moment's notice. Russian warships are arriving in the Med suitable as escorts. The Russians are ahead of the curve. We seriously doubt that the allied nations have even agreed on an operational plan and common objective yet. It could be weeks before there is any action. The Russians are well positioned to both get out of the way, and be politically welcome to come back regardless of how this all plays out. The West has a limited imperative to act, the strong belief that the international community must punish anyone who makes first use of chemical weapons , especially on unarmed civilians including children. The Russians have a limited objective, they want to keep their base. Of course, as is always the case in the Middle East, Israel is being touted as a hostage with Syria claiming that "Israel will burn " if Syria is attacked. We wouldn't bet on that, Israel is far from defenseless and has acted immediately upon this threat. We'll be posting on the reaction by Israel shortly. Syria also now puts forward the very consideration that we articulated in these pages last night, unanticipated consequences. How's this for crazy? The Syrian President, speaking from Iran, the only nation on earth that openly shelters al Qaeda tells us that "some very bad actors" could take over if he is ousted. Yeah we know al Qaeda is mixed in with the rebels, but if Iran is willing to shelter Assad, how much of an improvement can he be. There is always the hope that democratic and non sectarian elements in the revolution mighty keep the terrorists out of the next government. Well that's probably a pipe dream but the whole point to the Western intervention isn't who rules next, its about defending your rule by gassing children. So if the West topples Assad maybe the next gang will think twice about using the same tactics when their popularity wears off.

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