Moscow has removed the gloves in its defense of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad. Wednesday, July 4, senior official Ruslan Pukhov warned: “If the Syrian regime is changed by force or if Russia doesn’t like the outcome, it most likely will respond by selling S-300s to Iran.”
Pukhov, who sits on the Russian Defense Ministry’s advisory board and heads a defense affairs think tank in Moscow, added: “The fall of the Syrian government would significantly increase the chances of a strike on Iran. Resuming S-300 shipments to Iran may be a very timely decision.”
Moscow has since 2010 withheld the S-300 air defense system from Iran at the request of the US and Israel. The Pukhov statement indicated that, just as that was the correct decision for the time, the strategic situation in the Middle East with regard to Syria and Iran has since changed, and so providing Iran with these weapons would be the timely decision now.
Kremlin strategic thinking on the region shifted radically in August 2011.
On August 8, two weeks before NATO and Arab forces drove the Libyan rebel invasion of Tripoli to oust Muammar Qaddafi, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, warned in an interview to the Russian Izvestia, “NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran.”
To this day, Moscow is certain that the same Western-Arab coalition will sooner or later intervene militarily in Syria and then move against Iran.