Video from Socio Economics History blog.
Russia has also moved military resources to Tartus, Syria. This deployment was planned a year ago. It just happens that it is, perhaps, Just In Time to deter an attack on Syria. If we believed in coincidences, we would call it one of those. However, the ships are not there yet.
longwarjournal map, click to enlarge
The only Russian naval base abroad – Syrian port Tartus – will meet a task unit headed by the only Russian aircraft Admiral Kuznetsov in spring 2012. According to Russian military, deployment of Admiral Kuznetsov has no relation to politico-military situation in the region.
"Presence of any non-NATO force is very advantageous for that region, since it will prevent unleashing of armed conflict", said ex-chief of Russian Navy Main HQ Admiral Viktor Kravchenko in the interview to Izvestiya.
He reminded that Soviet Navy had founded Tartus base for repair and supply of 5th Operational Squadron deployed in the Mediterranean Sea with a view to deter Western forces.
At present, the base is used as Russian Navy's maintenance station, mainly by Black Sea Fleet (BSF) ships. In Tartus, they can undergo light repairs as well as replenish fuel, water, and food supplies. About 600 military and civilians presently serve there. However, no Russian warships are based in Tartus; BSF floating workshop PM-138 left the base early in 2011 and has not been shifted yet.
Meanwhile, the US Navy's carrier strike group including the newest carrier USS George H.W. Bush, two guided missile cruisers and two destroyers started patrol mission off Syria.
"Of course, the Russian task force will be incomparably weaker than the US Navy's 6th Fleet deployed in the Mediterranean Sea with one or two aircraft carriers and several escort ships at hand. But combat conflict is not in question today, because any attack on a Russian ship will be classified as declaration of war with all ensuing consequences", explained the admiral.
Russian military says the cruise bears no relation to the situation in Syria, since it was allegedly scheduled a year ago.
"Call of Russian warships at Tartus should not be regarded as a kind of reaction on events happening in Syria. This cruise was planned back in 2010 when there was no tension. We have been preparing for this cruise, and there are no reasons to cancel or postpone it", said the representative of Russian Navy Main HQ. He emphasized that except for Tartus, Admiral Kuznetsov and her escort would visit Lebanese Beirut, Italian Genoa, and Cyprus.
The cruise will start early in Dec 2011. Aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov will leave the Barents Sea along with large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko. The ships will double Europe and enter the Mediterranean Sea via Gibraltar.
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) frigate Ladny will move from the other side – via Bosporus and Dardanelles straits – and join the task unit in the Med Sea. Prior to that, Ladny will call at Maltese port Valletta.
Air wing of Admiral Kuznetsov will consist of eight deck-based fighters Su-33, several new MiG-29K build for India and attending their first long-range cruise, and two ASW helicopters Ka-27. Flight drills will take place at high sea, far away from Syrian coast.
Except for aircrafts, Admiral Kuznetsov is armed with 12 launchers of Granit antiship missiles, SAM systems Kinzhal, eight Kortik antiaircraft missile/gun systems, six 6-barreled 30-mm automatic guns AK-630M, two antisubmarine rocket launchers RBU-12000 Udav and other weapons.
It is noteworthy that the aircraft carrier will not call at the port due to her deep draft. She will remain off the harbor, and all supplies will be brought by Admiral Chabanenko and Ladny. Aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov is the fifth Project 11435 ship and the only carrier in Russian Navy. She has performed four long-range cruises to the Mediterranean Sea and Northeast Atlantic. The ship has passed three large repairs with total duration of 6 years. After the cruise, Admiral Kuznetsov will be laid up for repairs again.
Kuznetsov's twins were sold abroad: Varyag – to China, and Admiral Gorshkov – to India. Deck-based fighters MiG-29K which are to be tested during the cruise will be based on the Indian aircraft carrier being presently retrofitted at Sevmash shipyard.
Admiral Kuznetsov has visited Tartus two times, in 1995 and 2007, writes Izvestiya.
So, importantly, we know that there are already 600 people employed at Russia's Tartus base, and the ships are on the way.
Reviewing the history of this base...
"If the Russians complete the upgrade of the Tartus facility, Russia's only foothold in the Mediterranean, it would mark the first military presence Moscow has established outside the borders of the former Soviet Union since it collapsed in 1991."
Russia Eyes Med Naval Base in Syria
JULY 21, 2009
From the article we learn:
- The base, established during the Cold War but little used since, will support Russia's anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.
- Tartus and Latakia, another main port of Syria, could be used to reassert Russian influence in the Mediterranean.
- Russia was also looking to establish naval bases in Libya and Yemen.
"This is causing some consternation in the region. Israel in particular is showing signs of alarm at the prospect of Russian military and intelligence support for Syria, possibly including the deployment of advanced air-defense systems around Tartus and Latakia on its doorstep."
- The Russian flotilla would be heavily outgunned by US, NATO and Israeli forces, and far from air support.
- Nevertheless, the Mediterranean is strategic and Russia wants a permanent presence.
- Dredging and dock construction began as far back as June 2006.
- A four ship squadron was planned.
"The Israeli media has speculated that a Russian presence in Syria would handcuff the Israeli militarily in any future conflict over the Golan Heights or Lebanon.
If the Russians do rebuild their base at Tartus, it would likely be protected by state-of-the-art S-300PMU-2 Favorit surface-to-air missile batteries manned by Russians.
These long-range systems, far superior to Syria's air-defense system, could provide cover for much of Syria and become a major obstacle for the Israeli air force.
The S-300s would certainly make recent Israeli air force operations, such as the provocative 2006 low-level buzzing of President Bashar Assad's palace in Latakia and the September 2007 airstrike on a nuclear facility near the Turkish border, far more risky.
According to various reports, Moscow has been selling Syria a wide range of weaponry, including highly effective SS-26 Iskander-E missiles and advanced anti-tank systems.
The Syrians, always hard up for cash, may well be prepared to provide Moscow with naval bases as partial payment for its arms purchases, past, present and future."
Perhaps we can assume that the base at Tartus is, in fact, protected by state-of-the-art S-300 surface-to-air missile batteries manned by Russians.... ?
Russians, ruining everything then.... ? WE CERTAINLY HOPE SO.
Not to be deterred in the quest for a war on Syria, note the lone gunman story coming out of Turkey.
Here's the gunman. AP photo, very high quality. (Go to the link under the pic for a large version.) RECOMMENDED by MSNBC, "Dramatic picture of gunman at Istanbul's Topkapi Palace." He looks like a WHITE GUY judging from those ears. Are there any high quality photos of his face? NO? How unlucky.
"A heavily armed gunman walks inside the courtyard of the the Ottoman-era Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 30, 2011. A gunman wounded a soldier and a security guard at the entrance of Istanbul's Topkapi Palace before being shot dead Wednesday, witnesses said."
Allegedly, he is a Libyan...
...with Syrian citizenship.
Turkish security forces killed a Libyan gunman who shot and wounded two people with a pump-action rifle in the courtyard of Istanbul's historic Topkapi Palace on Wednesday, Turkish officials said. The assailant opened fire around the time the first visitors would normally be arriving at the lavish palace, home of Ottoman sultans for centuries and one of Istanbul's top tourist draws. He was killed after a one-hour siege.Witnesses say he cried "Allahu Akbar," NATURALLY, before attacking soldiers and guards.
"The attacker was not a Turkish citizen, he was foreign. A Libyan national born in 1975. He entered Turkey on November 27," Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin told reporters.He said police had identified the vehicle in which the attacker arrived at the scene.
"The vehicle had a Syrian number plate. Its owner is someone else. But according to initial information the link between them is not very clear," he said. Investigations were continuing, he said.
Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters the gunman had been shot after refusing to surrender. He declined to comment on a possible motive for the attack.
Witnesses say a gunman cried ‘Allahu Akbar’ and attacked soldiers and a security guard at the at the entrance of Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, before engaging in a shootout with police inside the palace courtyard. The Gunman reportedly fired at the crowds and wounded 2 people, who were carried injured into ambulances after the attack.WHY would the witnesses take him for a crazy person, at first? From the photo supplied, he looks like another SOLDIER OR GUARD. Was he doing something crazy other than walking around ARMED TO THE TEETH? Once he started shooting, we guess they NO LONGER CONSIDERED HIM A CRAZY PERSON....?
Witnesses took the gunman for a crazy person at first but the with a shotgun armed man began shooting as soon as he saw soldiers and guards, the witnesses state.
It is important to note that the attack occurred minutes after Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced economic sanctions on Syria.
The dead man has allegedly been identified as 36-year-old Samir Salem Ali Elmadhavri.
Here is Samir coming out of some shop or cafe. Damn but we still can't see his face!
CLICK HERE to watch the video (we can't embed it for some reason), and you can see that it is totally staged, his final moments caught on film. Dramatic pause on entering the door. Please watch before they remove it.
Trying to decipher this translation, but it sounds like he ran up a big tab in a bar JUST LIKE MOHAMMED ATTA & CO., got really angry about the exorbitant price of getting hammered, borrowed money from a friend to pay the tab.... ? Not sure but that seems to be what it says.
Atta and Crew Living it Up in Florida
Doing More Cocaine than Scarface
Or something like that.
Witness accounts said the shooter threatened a soldier on duty at the Topkapı Palace gates with his weapon and took the soldier’s G3 army gun. He then began shooting.Sure.
After being such an incredible bully, able to get an assault rifle off a soldier, he turned out to be a lousy shot. Also, he made no demands and refused to surrender.
Inexplicably, all this required 1.5 hours of apparently random shooting. See the next video.
Witnesses said the man shot the soldier in the leg and the guard in the abdomen before running into the palace courtyard through the main gate, chanting in Arabic “God is Great!”Istanbul’s governor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, said the wounded are not in life threatening condition. Mutlu said the gunman made no demands and that police decided to shoot him when he refused to surrender.
"Topkapi Palace, the conflict lasted approximately 1.5 hours after the security forces took over as the attacker dead." SOURCE
In case you were wondering where the HUNDREDS of shell casings came from, it must have been all those police and security people shooting RANDOMLY.
A witness who happened to be in the right place at the right time, to speak to the gunman, and to see the two wounded moments later! Wow. That's... so.... unbelievable.
DEAR IDRIS, WHY did you speak to the man in ENGLISH? Did he look like an American or something?“I saw the gunman carrying a gun on his shoulder, like a hunter. He had ammunition around his neck and a backpack. His overcoat was buttoned, I couldn’t see what was underneath,” witness Idris Cengiz told AP television. “He was coming toward us and my friend said he looked like a hunter so I asked him in English ‘Are you a hunter?’ He said something in Arabic which I didn’t understand. Then he said ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great).”Cengiz said he and his friend heard the gun shots moments later.“We ran we saw a soldier and a security guard laying on the ground,” he said.No tourists were hurt in the attack.