Are There or Aren’t there Russian Troops in Syria?

Well, things in Syria are getting a bit more complicated. Weeks after the news that special operators from NATO countries may be inside Syria advising the rebels, comes the news that Russia has dispatched counterterrorism troops to the embattled nation.

Now, some news reports say the Russian’s claim they’ve just sent a Navy tanker to support anti-piracy operations in Middle Eastern waters and that any troops aboard that ship are simply there to protect the tanker’s civilian crew and that there are no Russian counterterror troop in Syria. Now, the ship is docked in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea. That’s a very long way from  the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Sea — the site of most anti-piracy ops. Hey, it could just be making a brief port call. Oh wait, other reports say the ship, and its complement of Russian marines, is in Tartus “to demonstrate Kremlin concern over Syria’s stability, and to assist in case of a possible evacuation of Russian civilians from the region”

While Moscow says it’s officially neutral in the conflict between the Syrian government and its people, Russia continues to sell arms to the Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime.

Needless to say, if these Russian troops come ashore in Syria, it will make any intervention by the West a bit more difficult.

 

  • Tim

    Well… Why should it be complicated?

    Let’s put it this way: If they kept denying that there were “no” Russian counter-terror troops in Syria, then any Russian casualties occurred as a consequence of attacks by the West would also be deniable by the West.

    • blight_

      Maybe they’ll send OMON guys over as counter-terrorism “advisors”, and reinforce their naval facilities. Otherwise; any Russians you capture around Homs will be “lost”. Not sure if the Russians would want to be overtly seen suppressing Muslims, but considering how well they’ve clamped down on the Caucasus (and because of Putin) they’ll do the whole “bring it on” and see what happens.

  • Kski

    I think it makes things easier. The Russkis don’t give a rats ass about rules of engagment or any of those other worthless rules we make our troops abid by. That an thier more heavy handed when it comes to taking down enemies, i.e. shoot first ask questions if you want.

    • KarlW

      Spelling. – We’re supposed to be the good guys. We’re supposed to have rules. We’re supposed to be better than them. We’re not supposed to urinate on the dead, or kill civilians. – Oh, wait…

      • passingby

        It’s the other way around. The US has never followed any rules in major conflicts. US war crimes have been well documented since the Korean War, if not earlier. US soldiers are now well-known throughout Asia to be among the worst fighters on the battlefield and the worst war criminals. Most of the time US soldiers are not fighting for a good cause, and are afraid to die. So when they get beaten, they take it out on helpless civilians. In some cases, there are simply rogue elements doing the bidding of the military industrial complex – deliberately commit war crimes to escalate the conflicts so that arms/weapon manufacturers can make hundreds of billions off government military spending.

        • orly?

          I bet your history book describes glorious Japanese banzai charges, Chinese human wave attacks and the US not even hitting one of them.

          You probably even think that Japan lost WW2 from a Soviet nuclear bomb.

          • passingby

            How much can you afford to wager? Got a ranch? LOL

      • Liam

        Oh wait they dragged burned bodies of contractors and hung them from bridges. PeePee’s nothing.

    • Kosme

      How do you know “The Russkis don’t give a rats ass about rules of engagment or any of those other worthless rules we make our troops abid by ” ???

      Have you been in the russian millitary?

      • crackedlenses

        Look up some vids of their internal counter-terrorist operations. I can show you the one I’m thinking of if you don’t find it yourself. They may have rules, but they are far more brutally efficient when it comes to warfare….

        • passingby

          they’ve learned from the Germans. Isn’t that why the Russians beat the Germans in WWII?

        • blight_

          I was thinking of Beslan, when they used stuff heavier than small arms to start a fire and kill civilians inside the building (echoes of Branch Davidians in Waco?)

      • tiger

        They don’t even treat their troops that well.

        • passingby

          does the US treat its troops well? perhaps we should ask some Vietnam veterans.

      • blight_

        Americans worship military might. For instance:

        The Marines are awesome. The SAS are awesome. The FFL are awesome, the Spetsnatz are awesome…The Russians don’t take prisoners, etc. etc.

        • passingby

          True. Americans worship military might. Not a good trait in my opinion. It can be exploited by shrewd opponents.

    • Alex

      “or any of those other worthless rules we make our troops abid by”
      Do not mock-sad .. this statement would be very funny, which is adhered to the rules American heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan .. etc … Rule number one, Every U.S. Marine is required to urinate on slain enemies, Rule Number two, every helicopter crew has to laugh out loud when you kill journalists or see how the American car stomping corpses killed by the helicopter crew … because they’re the rules which have American heroes committed or know of a more rigid and worse in terms of weakening Combat readiness of American troops …. or maybe a rule that no American soldier anywhere in the world can not be held responsible for war crimes committed … and he can only be tried in the U.S. (we have seen some terrible punishment given … Again it was not so sad it would be very funny.

      Read more: http://live-defensetech.sites.thewpvalet.com/2012/03/20/are-there-or-ar
      Defense.org

  • Sgt. Buffy

    I’m a little concerned here, anything with the Russians is a tricky situation, but this is the first time in a long time that NATO or any “Allied” country has been in a firing position on any of Russia’s troops. IF NATO finds itself in a situation where they are pressed to fire upon Russian troops, then we’re in trouble, regardless of the “Our tech smokes their tech” debates. It will probably (if all rumors are true) evolve into a second Cold War type, where we are both leering over each other over a 3rd party territory.
    So tread softly….. And carry a surgical instrument?

    • passingby

      You should be concerned, but not about Russia. Syria has had a friendly relationship with Russia for a long time. Now that Syria is being savaged by terrorists from (or trained and armed by) the US, UK, France, Israel and rogue client states of NATO, Russia has an obligation to help. In fact, I think both India and China have an obligation to send anti-terrorists troops to Syria and fight the thugs and criminals supported by the US, and its NATO lapdogs.

      • Andrew

        Assad’s government is blockading cities, firing on hospitals, randomly shelling neighborhoods, and going from house to house murdering and arresting people at random, and you have the gall to call the rebels “terrorists” and “criminals”?
        And all Russia cares about is the possible loss of a very large arms purchaser, nothing else.

        • passingby

          lemme guess again, you got that from the US propaganda machines (e.g. the mainstream media)

          • Yo Yo

            Syrian troops under the order of Assad have killed and killed their own people in the name of anti-terrorism and your comment is but blaming the US and NATO. Did you see any US & NATO troops fired their guns/artillery/missiles at any Syrians? That’s very kind of you for making the US and NATO as the blame for all things gone wrong with the Middle East, but only idiots would fall for this kind of Cold-War Soviet style propaganda.

          • passingby

            What else are you good at beside regurgitating US propaganda?? Creating your own??

          • Yo Yo

            It’s you who regurgitated the same old anti-US rhetorics, blah, blah.. Your simpleton minded delusional assertion of the US as the source of all evils is laughable at best. Obviously, you haven’t heard how the Soviets massacred more than 70000 Polish officers and soldiers on their way to “liberate” Poland, have you? Oh yes, that’s after comrade Stalin made a deal with Hitler to gorge out northern Poland in the first place.

            It’s no wonder you failed junior high. Most of your education seemed to come from… youtube… LOL…

          • passingby

            LOL. nah, you aren’t good at creating your own propaganda. I think you should stick to regurgitating official ones.

          • blight_

            Terrorism is more than shelling cities and killing people. We’d be deep in it with such a lax standard. Needs more nuance.

          • KarlW

            Actually, the same thing is reported by all European news sources, and Al Jazeera, as well. I’m afraid Andrew is right.

          • passingby

            Propaganda machines are not unique to the US. There are propaganda machines in Europe. BBC, London Times, Spiegel, Agence France-Presse … to name a few. Mainstream news media in NATO countries rarely counteract each other. After all, the money masters that own and control the US media also own and control most of the mainstream media in Europe.

            It’s not whether “all of them” are reporting the same — they almost always do; it’s really a matter of credibility. We know that Russia and China have ruined the NATO plan to create Libya 2.0 in Syria. But as expected, they are going to do “plan B” — overt and covert operations to sabotage the Syrian government. Of course the US/NATO propaganda outlets aren’t going to report their own crimes. They are going to just concentrate on reporting half truths, distortions, and outright fabrications. It has happened many times the past several months. Fox news even used videos of protests in Greece and Italy as “images of protests in Russia”, as did a few European TV news programs.

            When I read something like “the Syrian government is bombing a hospital” my first questions would be (1) is it true? (2) who’s the source of the report? (3) why would the government fire at a hospital? (4) had the hospital building been abandoned already and was occupied by rebels armed and funded by NATO? (5) was the hospital actually bombed by US/NATO-backed rebels and then blamed on the Syrian government? You know, like USS Liberty, Gulf of Tonkin, and 9-11???

          • passingby

            I’d add that Israel failed to assign blame on Egypt in the USS Liberty attack, partly because of evidence collected by the surviving USS Liberty crew, and partly because of a Soviet spy vessel observing the attack in the vicinity (there was a witness on Egypt’s behalf).

            Gulf of Tonkin false flag operation was a success – it did bring the US into a financially and politically ruinous war.

            9-11 was also a success, despite the blatantly obvious lies from the government. But I must admit that the US government (and the shadow power behind it) correctly estimated the average IQ of Americans.

          • passingby

            As a matter of interest, I’d add that some have credited the survival of USS Liberty crew to the Soviet spy vessel, arguing that Israel aborted the plan to sink USS Liberty and kill everyone aboard after spotting the spy vessel, for obvious reasons. (imagine what would have happened to Israel had it moved forward with the plan and then gotten exposed by the Soviets)

          • yashpahade

            what about the 60,000 people killed?
            I suppose that was reported the “us proganda machine” too?

    • tiger

      Let’s step back a bit. NATO is not going to Syria.

      • passingby

        They are already in there, unofficially of course. You think they would just stop after illegally overthrowing the government in Libya simply because Russia and China have vetoed their designs for Syria in the UN? The US had even brought in that ugly “secretary of state” Hilary Clinton (highest ranking political whore in Obama’s cabinet) to the UN meeting. It shows you how eager they are in overthrowing the current government in Syria.

        • passingby

          to be fair to Hillary Clinton, I should mention her counterpart under Bush, Condi Rice, also a political whore, albeit far more talented artistically than Hillary

  • Frodo

    Dwos wascally wabbits!

  • -dp

    Whose to say there isn’t a contingent of “volunteers” consisting of Russians who are ethnically Syrian. This way, Russia can send troops but they don’t stick out.

    • KarlW

      “Ethnically Syrian Russians”? Seriously? I very much doubt you’d find a lot of those. You’d have better luck finding Russian Caucasians. As in, from the Caucasus region.

    • passingby

      the important step to take would be for Russia and Iran to send special forces / troops to Syria to fend off the dark hands of NATO.

  • Lance

    The Russian say one thing and do another history proves that. But let them the rebels are Islamic radicals who are worse than the dictator why keep undermining regimes in the region to make the Iranian dream of the Islamic revolution all over come true, bad decisions by our President is why.

    • KarlW

      You keep saying that stuff, but that doesn’t make it any more true… Tried reading a decent paper recently?

      • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001233585475 Matt Sturgeon

        lolzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz @ reading “decent papers” as qualifier, who are you, Katie Couric?

    • Andrew

      Even if they are Islamic radicals, do they not have the right to decide for themselves who shouold govern them? Assad is denying Syrians that right, and we as Americans can’t keep talking about how much we support democracy on one hand while denying that people have a right to actually have democracy on the other hand. It makes us look hypocritical and loses us a lot of credibility.

  • KarlW

    Seems to me that Russia is sending a message to the West: leave Syria alone. Don’t take it away from us.
    Syria is one of the last allies it has in the area. Russia has been working against encirclement for centuries. The past 20 years have pushed NATO / American forces ever closer to Russia’s borders. Russians are sensitive and prickly, and resent American dominance (much like America would resent Russia’s dominance). Thus they need foreign bases like Syria, to reassert themselves.

    • kim

      Agree. And just like the US needs Israel for a naval base, the Russians need Syria for their naval base. Whatever internal politics of suppression the two countries have don’t matter in that context.

      • orly?

        Highly doubt Israel is needed for a naval base.

        • passingby

          Highly doubt that you know where Israel is.

          • blight_

            We don’t base in Israel. One, it’s close to a bunch of cruise-missile wielders. We’d rather hide out in Cyprus or Italy or the Mideast.

          • passingby

            The entire state of Israel is sort of a US military base for playing the Middle East game. LOL

          • blight_

            At least you acknowledge that it is “sort of” rather than “is”.

            In any case, Qatar, Kuwait and KSA are much closer to the game itself. Using Israel is a political hot potato. Our allies in the middle east probably could give two hoots about Israel as long as it stays where it is and has no designs on their own realms; but maintain the anti-Semitic fires to distract the population and to provide a convenient scapegoat.

            That said, Israel was happy to jump into GW1 and GW2 and had to be held back lest it destroy the arab/european coalition. Though they’re not above unilateral bombing in Syria or Iraq of suspected nuclear facilities.

          • passingby

            I never claimed that there was a US naval base in Israel. I’d like to think that the US military wants one. But the Israeli government is too smart to let it happen so easily. Israel is surrounded by Arab countries. It can’t help to be “sort of a” base … for survival. LOL

          • blight_

            Actually, it can. Because Middle Eastern nations armed by the United States would be placed in the awkward position of fighting the military that gave them weapons.

            While it guarantees Israeli survival, it just makes the United States look even more pro-Semitic in the Middle East.

          • passingby

            awkward only to the few oppressive dictators in power (with the help of the US)

            There are plenty of strong anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-government undercurrents among the people.

            A few military coups or a few bloody mass uprisings can change all that. It’s not going to be easy, granted. But it’s “doable”

          • blight_

            It would require one hell of an Arab spring. Though Egypt is up in the air. KSA and the other Gulf states suppressed their uprisings.

          • passingby

            My take is that at some point, the US dollar will be dropped in a big chunk of global trade settlement, including oil export. The dollar will then begin to collapse, and with it, the US military machine.

            I think Israel might be seeing the same thing, and is therefore very worried.

          • blight_

            I think most people have forgotten that economic powers become military powers, and not the other way around.

            For France and Britain, their militaries began to collapse in post-WW2 independence environment, leading to a corresponding drop in economic power. We’re at an interesting point where we can stabilize or continue to drop.

          • passingby

            The kind of spending cuts required to stabilize the economy is unfathomable for the kind of political system, politicians, and ironically, the general electorate of this country.

          • blight_

            Ack, the second paragraph sounds almost at odds with the first.

            In the post-WW2 environment as nations began to secede, they not only took armed forces out of the lineup, they stripped out parts of GNP; and military forces meant to protect home and overseas assets were superfluous. And once the revenue-generating overseas assets were no longer sending money home, the military assets that did not belong to the former colony could no longer be paid for.

        • DaHunter52

          Agreed we have the 5th fleet in Bahrain – closer to the action in Iraq, Iran, and the Horn of African. Israel is not really needed as a port.

          • orly?

            So passingby is wrong. How shocking.

          • passingby

            huh? I said “Highly doubt that you know where Israel is.”

            that’s wrong?

          • passingby

            Did you know that the 5th fleet in Bahrain can be easily acquired by Iran’s Sunburn ASCMs???

    • blight_

      If push comes to shove, the Russians may attempt to remove the Assads and find someone pliable to their interests, but Not Assad. If anything, they already have.

  • Nick

    SWEET!!! Proxy wars! Let’s call it “Cold War II”

    • passingby

      well, head to head armed conflict between Russian anti-terrorist troops and US/NATO armed terrorists … sounds like a warm-up war to me. LOL!!!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000568890197 Greg Donovan

    Fighting in the Middle East? Shocking! Who could have imagined? 100 years of oil money, decades of huge arms purchases and then someone actually uses them? Unimaginable.

  • RCDC

    I’d say just play it cool. And just be on the sideline and an observer while helping the Syrian opposition covertly to protect themself (Food, survellance and etc) from Turkey route.

    They (Russian) are on the the back of the ship liner. I think they were woking with allied troops (Europian allies) to press Assad on its problems with its people and working covertly against al-quida and other anti piracy mission while supporting Syrian government and selling arms.

  • DB-1

    Well I don’t know how good any of your memories are here but this could be a Russian repeat of the Balkan war in the early 90’s. When NATO was bombing there Serbian allies and to force NATO’s hand at the bargaining table. The Russians sent a contingent of there airborne troops to an airfield that NATO was suppose to occupy.The U.S. wanted them out but did’nt have the forces on the ground or the will to do it. when they ask the British if they could do something about it, because the had the ground forces in country and the British response was sure, if you’re ready to see a lot of dead russian soldiers on the evening news and all the political fall out that may cause and with that move the russians in effect checked NATO…

    • blight_

      Might you be thinking of Kosovo, where the Russian VDV beat us to Pristina?

      • DB-1

        Roger that

  • http://www.hcp.kk5.org Brian Black

    Russia already provided military and technical support to the Syrian armed forces. And while Russia is happy to continue supplying Syrian forces, and talks of thousands of ‘foreign terrorists’ operating in the country, the noises out of Moscow seem quite clear that they have no intention of becoming embroiled in someone elses war.
    Any additional Russian specialists that may have been sent are likely to be there only to protect their citizens and facilities in Syria – as was less sensationally suggested.

  • ghostwhowalks

    of course the ‘uprising’ in Afghanistan doesnt have any American troops suppressing it. And 1000s of civilians arent being killed .

  • Gerardo Booth

    The presence of the Russians should not pose any complications at all so long as the Russians stick to their cover story regarding their presence in Syria.

  • OldFedVet1941

    This is great! Let the Ruskies get bogged down in a quagmire. It’s their time again,
    like the USA they will never learn. The Politicians are the ones calling the shots Stupid.
    While I am on the Ruskie thing! Where is the accounting for the American Troops that were shipped to Russia after capture from Korea and VN. Not a peep out of anyone on this subject is there.

    • passingby

      quote: “This is great! Let the Ruskies get bogged down in a quagmire.”

      Like the US in Afghanistan? I doubt it. Better watch the US/ NATO in Libya though

      • Andrew

        Or you know, like the Russians for 10 years in Afghanistan.

        • passingby

          10 years? that’s nothing. The US is going to be in Afghanistan far longer than that.

    • tiger

      Since the fall of the Soviet Union many of the files on those matters have been opened. So some of these MIA cases have been adressed.

      • blight_

        Most are probably dead in a mass grave somewhere. If they weren’t repatriated, they were killed or were brainwashed into defecting. Even North Korea still has a defector or two today.

        • passingby

          Yes, but in view of the atrocities at Guantanamo, it’s hard to muster sympathy for the POWs, who arguably received much better treatment than the arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, and imprisoned civilians at Guantanamo. I’ve attended a couple of seminars by highly experienced criminal and civil rights lawyers who have represented the victims. These are real, practicing lawyers, unlike the phonies like Obama and Hillary Clinton. NOT ONE word of compliment from them. ALL condemnations!!! (they are ALL US lawyers)

  • Loco Veritas

    Ruskies are NATO buds – remember the Aleutian Islands handed over for Ulyanovsk?
    About as smart as sending food to N Korea so they could afford the missle launches! Or, placing sanctions on Iran and then letting 11 Euro countries off the hook to buy Iranian oil – go hillary!

    • passingby

      Hillary is a puppet (or political whore if you will) just like Obama. She and Obama do as their corporate master wishes.

  • http://twitter.com/ptitz @ptitz

    There are ALWAYS some Russian troops stationed in Syria. First of all Russians have a base there, second since they are the primary arms supplier to Syria, they always have some personnel training Syrian troops to use the equipment that they buy. I really doubt there are any Russian troops on the ground tho.

  • Loco Veritas

    Of course “ALWAYS some Russian troops stationed in Syria” – but, “Are Middle East & African Wars Really About Protecting the Immoral Global Banking System & Fighting Gold?”
    Remember what General Wesley Clark had to say? Check it out at zerohedge(dot)com.

  • jamaica348

    I think this is Viet Nan again when russian ships were in North Vienan ports and prevented us from blowing them up now they are in Syria and here we go again NO FIRING zone. What else is new.

    • Mike

      We mined Haiphong, jamaica348…stopped Soviet shipping cold…and French, British, West German, Canadian, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and other international shipping, as well. I know. I was there with TF78 (Operation End Sweep) aboard the USS New Orleans (LPH-11) Feb-Apr. 1973…I saw the ships, and their flags. They don’t like to tell you about that part…

  • Wondering

    Sort of reminds me of when the US helped the opposition Taliban in Afghanistan defeat a Russian backed government. That certainly turned out well didn’t it? Anyone up for a repeat?

    • Mastro

      Weird when we supported the French opposition to the Nazis they didn’t go all Jihad on our butts when peace was declared.

      They just tried to rebuild their country and make movies about adultery.

      • Mike

        Yes…but those are the French, you see…OH yes! OF COURSE! The French are civilized. The others go jihad. Problem solved…

        • Mike

          And I’d rather see a thousand movies about adultery than hear one more F**KING WORD about Allah…and if that offends anyone, tough s**t!.

      • blight_

        They also took shipment of German prisoners and sent them to all corners of the world on labor details. Not much better than the Russians. They also repatriated equipment and would have followed our lead if we had pushed through the Morgenthau Plan. If anything, they were probably more committed to the idea of pastoralizing Germany than we were.

    • http://twitter.com/ptitz @ptitz

      Russian backed government was already gone by the time Taliban came to power.

  • Korn

    I say let Turkey annex Syria

  • geoff

    we should have joined forces with hitler and taken out russia,
    this putin guy is he related to rasputin he was an evil bastard too

    • blight_

      Rasputin was definitely crazy; but he was more Court-Vizier-Interested-In-Power-Behind-The-Throne while being very difficult to kill. Putin is quite different; he is not above being prime minister, then president, then prime minister again and hanging on to power as long as possible.