Saturday, July 28, 2012

The US-NATO War on Syria: Western Naval Forces Confront Russia Off the Syrian Coastline?

Global Research
July 26, 2012



"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan." 

Former Nato Commander General Wesley Clark

"Let me say to the soldiers and officials still supporting the Syrian regime -- the Syrian people will remember the choices you make in the coming days...."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Friends of Syria conference in Paris' July 7, 2012 

While confrontation between Russia and the West was, until recently, confined to the polite ambit of international diplomacy, within the confines of the UN Nations Security Council, an uncertain and perilous situation is now unfolding in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Allied forces including intelligence operatives and special forces have reinforced their presence on the ground in Syria following the UN stalemate. Meanwhile, coinciding with the UN Security Council deadlock, Moscow has dispatched to the Mediterranean a flotilla of ten Russian warships and escort vessels led by the Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine destroyer. Russia's flotilla is currently stationed off the Southern Syrian coastline.
 
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in St. Petersburg on June 29, 2012, on the eve of international talks in Geneva to find a political solution to the Syria crisis"Polite Diplomacy" (without smiles). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L)  and Russia's Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov meet in St. Petersbourg, June 29, 2012
Back in August of last year, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned that "NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran,..."  In relation to the current naval deployment, Russia’s navy chief, Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov, confirmed, however, that while the [Russian] flotilla was carrying marines, the warships would "not be engaged in Syria Tasks". "The ships will perform "planned military manoeuvres", said the [Russian Defense] ministry" 
The US-NATO alliance has retorted to Russia's naval initiative, with a much larger naval deployment, a formidable Western armada, consisting of British, French and American warships, slated to be deployed later this Summer in the Eastern Mediterranean, leading to a potential "Cold War style confrontation" between Russian and Western naval forces.
Meanwhile, US-NATO military planners have announced that various "military options" and "intervention scenarios" are being contemplated in the wake of the Russian-Chinese veto in the UN Security Council.

The planned naval deployment is coordinated with allied ground operations in support of the US-NATO sponsored "Free Syrian Army"(FSA). In this regard, US-NATO has speeded up the recruitment of foreign fighters trained in Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Russian warship in the Syrian port of Tartus
Franco-British War Games: "Warship Diplomacy"
France and Britain will be participating later this Summer in war games codenamed Exercise Cougar 12 [2012]. The games will be conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of a Franco-British  "Response Force Task Group" involving  Britain's HMS Bulwark and France's Charles De Gaulle carrier battle group. The focus of these naval exercises will be on amphibious operations involving the (planned simulated) landing ashore of troops on "enemy territory". 
File:HMS Bulwark midships.jpg
Britain's HMS Bulwark
Fichier:Charles De Gaulle (R91) underway 2009.jpg
France's Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier
Smokescreen: The Proposed Evacuation of Western Nationals "Using a Humanitarian Naval Fleet of WMDs"
Barely mentioned by the mainstream media, the warships involved in the Cougar 12 naval exercise will also participate in the planned evacuation of  "British nationals from the Middle East, should the ongoing conflict in Syria further spill across borders into neighboring Lebanon and Jordan.":
The British would likely send the HMS Illustrious, a helicopter carrier, along with the HMS Bulwark, an amphibious ship, as well as an advanced destroyer to provide defenses for the task force. On board will be several hundred Royal Marine commandos, as well as a complement of AH-64 attack helicopters (the same ones used in Libya last year). A fleet of French ships, including the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier, carrying a complement of Rafale fighter aircraft, are expected to join them.

Those forces are expected stay offshore and could escort specially chartered civilian ships meant to pick up foreign nationals fleeing Syria and surrounding countries.  (ibtimes.com, 24 July 2012). 
Sources in the British Ministry of Defense, while confirming the Royal Navy's "humanitarian mandate" in the planned evacuation program, have categorically denied "any intention of a combat role for British forces [against Syria]". 

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