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View Diary: BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria (91 comments)

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  •  About that "base"... (1+ / 0-)
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    Claudius Bombarnac

    Well, after reading all the comments here, I've decided to add my 2 cents worth. My conclusion will be at the bottom.

    My background: I grew up in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, and served six years in the Coast Guard. I've seen my share of naval and Coast Guard bases and am quite familiar with what those facilities entail on the military and physical sides.

    The Russian "base" at Tartus is a joke, plain and simple. In using Google Earth to look at what little there is of Tartus Port (as a whole), the base consists of about 15-20% of the entire area, and is not physically separated from the civil port area. It consists of about 2400' of pier space, has a small shipyard (for small ships naturally) some support buildings, and not much else. It also looks pretty run down and unkempt. There is no other area in or near Tartus that even comes close to resembling a naval base.

    The Google imagery is dated 3/30/2011, so the physical plant is probably unchanged since then. Only small patrol craft are visible, some 19 ships in all, ranging in size from 60 to 260' long. Some are missile-equipped gunboats, most aren't even that big. I think they're Syrian Navy, not Russian Navy, as they are too small for easy overseas deployment, yet are very useful for a state such as Syria.

    There is no fueling facility at this 'base,' which means they are dependent on local suppliers to bring in barges of fuel oil, which may be problematic in a war zone if you don't bring your own. There are no visible communications facilities (my military specialty), or even a helicopter pad. There simply isn't much there at all that is truly worth anything.

    What this is is an example of "basing rights." The US is setting up a similar situation in Singapore for some smaller combatant ships (LCS class) there: it will consist of dockspace, utilities, and a small command center ashore handling basic functions of supplies, communications, and support for the assigned ships. There will be no giant piers or living facilities with base exchanges, no airfield, just the basics. It also doesn't piss off the locals very much. Those of you with longer memories of the relevant data can think back to what Subic Bay in the Philippines was like, and Singapore will be the antithesis of that.

    Now what are the Russians doing (IMO)? Showing the flag, protecting the Syrian Navy from the FSA, and giving the illusion of power projection that Russia is important and all that. Oh, and serve as an evacuation route as well for all those "advisers" currently in country. If they bring in about 300 Naval Infantry personnel (their version of Marines), they will be able to adequately "defend" the base. If a mass evacuation is to take place, they'll likely bring in more so that convoys to Damascus can be run safely if needed. Think of the fall of Saigon and you'll be close to answering "why?"

    •  It is interesting that the ship bringing in the (0+ / 0-)

      dreaded "armed Russian troops" is the Iman - a small fuel tanker.

      •  Whoa...thanks for the link! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac

        That's a tiny tanker! That's the smallest one I've seen in many a year, maybe 15-20K tons gross. It does have large accommodation spaces though, look at all the cabins at the stern. It will probably hold about 150-200 troops tightly crammed together.

        Judging by the design, that ship may be as old as me (50+)! Yet another aged asset that is no great loss if attacked, outside of propaganda purposes that is.

        •  You may be interested in knowing why there (0+ / 0-)

          are Russian marines on board. They are for protection of the civilian crew as well as providing security for other vessels against pirates under "Atalanta".

          Notice how the western MSM (and this diarist who fell for it) has twisted the facts for the purposes of propagandizing.

          Russian warships off the coast of Syria, no, said the Defense Ministry

          "No Russian warships, performing tasks from the shores of Syria, no. In the Syrian port of Tartus 10 days of the ship auxiliary fleet tanker" Iman "which performs the tasks logistics - the replenishment of fuel and food - of the Black Sea and Northern Fleets, which provides security shipping in the Gulf of Aden anti-piracy ", - told RIA Novosti representative of management information and the Defense Ministry.

          Previously, some Russian and foreign media reported that the Black Sea Fleet tanker "Iman" on board which is a group of Marines, ostensibly to perform combat missions off the coast of Syria.

          The representative of the Russian Defense Ministry said that the crew of the tanker "Iman" is made up of civilian personnel, has been given protection.

          Fighting pirates in the Gulf of Aden is being conducted under a 2008 naval mission EU "Atalanta" and launched in 2009 NATO operation Ocean Shield. During the operation, in addition to the primary task of combating piracy, it is also expected to help countries in the region to start their own measures against pirates.

          The EU participates in the work of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and has established cooperative frameworks and arrangements to enable EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA to cooperate effectively with other naval forces and assets deployed in the region such as NATO, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and also units from China, India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan and others – all with varying mandates and mission objectives.

          On 17 November 2009, the Council welcomed the proactive role taken by EUNAVFOR-Atalanta in the coordination between the multinational, national and regional naval forces operating in the area to ensure de-confliction, shared awareness and coordination in the disruption of piracy.

      •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

        Your argument on the facts is no longer with me but with the NY Times and a host of other publications, from the NY Times today, as cited above:

        Introducing an unpredictable new element into the Syrian crisis, a news agency said on Monday that two Russian naval vessels with marines on board were ready to head for Syria to protect Russian citizens and a naval base there, in what would be the first known reinforcement of Moscow’s military presence since the start of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

        The Interfax news agency quoted a Russian naval official, who was not identified, as saying that the two amphibious assault ships would head for the Mediterranean port of Tartus, where Russia has its only warm-water naval base in the region.

        Now where did you get the crap you are trying to peddle to the effect that its just this one old rusty tanker ship is all?

        More to the point, why are you here on the pages of the Daily Kos with over 6k comments and no diaries, posting bull shit in defense a dictator that is massacring his own people as we write?

        Have you no shame?

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 11:55:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your link and quote in your post do not match. (0+ / 0-)

          Here's what it does say:

          Unnamed Russian officers who have discussed the possibility of deploying Russian marines suggested a limited mission of protecting the pier at Tartus and evacuating Russian citizens.

          Care to redo?
          Now where did you get the crap you are trying to peddle to the effect that its just this one old rusty tanker ship is all?

          From your own report
          . You were the one using the term "anti-terrorism" and "elite troops". Here's your misleading report:
          Report: More Russian troops heading to Syria
          By Carlo Munoz - 06/15/12 03:03 PM ET

          Russia is deploying another batch of troops to Syria as Moscow and Washington continue to spar over the best way to resolve the worsening crisis in the country.

          A Russian warship carrying a small contingent of troops is en route to the country's naval base in Tartus to provide security for the installation, U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday.

          In March, Moscow reportedly sent elite units of Russian marines and special-operations forces to Syria to conduct anti-terrorism missions in the country.

          Let us know when the next "batch of troops" leaves.

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