Russia plans navy bases in Mideast and African ports
Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:25am GMT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has decided to establish naval bases in Libya, Syria and Yemen within a few years, a Russian military official was quoted as saying Friday by Itar-Tass news agency.
"It is difficult to say how much time it will take to create the bases for our fleet in these countries, but within a few years this will be done without question," the official was quoted as saying. "The political decision on this question has been taken," the official said. A spokesman for the Russian navy could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Kremlin is seeking to play a more assertive role in world politics and has been using its military to project its new-found confidence beyond its borders.
Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers regularly fly around the globe on patrols, and warships traverse the oceans in another show of force by Moscow.
Analysts have said that the Syrian port of Tartus could be revived as a Russian naval base. During the Cold War, the Soviet navy had a permanent presence in the Mediterranean, using Tartus as a supply point.
Russian media reported that opening a naval base in the Libyan port of Benghazi was among the main issues discussed during Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's visit to Moscow in October last year.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 27, 2009 11:02:50 GMT -5
Russia's first Persian Gulf naval presence coordinated with Tehran
DEBKAfile ^ | 05/26/09 | DEBKAfile
Russian warships are due to call Wednesday, May 27, at the Bahrain port of Manama, seat of the US Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, DEBKAfile's military sources reveal. They will be following in the wake of the Russian vessels already docked at the Omani port of Salalah, the first to avail themselves of facilities at Gulf ports.
Their arrival is fully coordinated between the Russian and Iranian naval commands.
According to our sources, this is the first time a Russian flotilla will have taken on provisions and fuel at the same Gulf ports which hitherto serviced only the US Navy. Moscow has thus gained its first maritime foothold in the Persian Gulf.
The flotilla consists of four vessels from Russia's Pacific Fleet: The submarine fighter Admiral Panteleyev is due at Manama Wednesday, escorted by the refueling-supply ship Izhorai, The supply-battleship Irkut and the rescue craft BM-37 are already docked in Salalah.
DEBKAfile's military sources report that the Russians, like the Iranians, cover their stealthy advance into new waters by apparent movements for joining the international task force combating Somali pirates. While Iranian warships have taken up positions in the Gulf of Aden, the Russians are moving naval units southeast into the Persian Gulf.
Monday, May 25, the Iranian naval chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, announced that six Iranian warships had been dispatched to "the international waters" of the Gulf of Aden in a "historically unprecedented move… to show its ability to confront any foreign threats." He did not bother to mention the pirates.
Russian and Iranian naval movements in the two strategic seas are clearly synchronized at the highest levels in Tehran and Moscow.
Our military analysts find Russia and Iran seizing the moment for supplanting positions held exclusively by the US and other western fleets. They are taking advantage of two developments:
1. The number of US warships maintained in the Gulf has been reduced to its lowest level in two years; President Obama quietly reduced their presence near Iran's shores in order to generate a positive atmosphere for the coming US dialogue with the Islamic Republic. Not a single US aircraft carrier is consequently to be found anywhere in the Gulf region.
2. Monday, May 25, President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated France's first naval facility in the Gulf in Abu Dhabi. The Russian and Iranian policy-makers see no reason why Moscow cannot set up a military presence in the region if Paris can.
Russia set to build up its naval facilities in Syria.
MOSCOW, July 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Navy will expand and modernize its Soviet-era naval maintenance site near Tartus in Syria to support anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast, a high-ranking navy source said on Monday.
About 50 naval personnel and three berthing floats are currently deployed at the Tartus site, which can accommodate up to a dozen warships.
"Two tug boats from the Black Sea Fleet will deliver a new berthing float to Tartus," the source said.
"Following modernization, the Russian naval maintenance site in Tartus will become fully-operational," he added.
The Navy maintenance site near Tartus is the only Russian foothold in the Mediterranean. Russian navy commanders have long been calling for the expansion and modernization of the Tartus base.
"The base in Tartus will provide all necessary support for the Russian warships which will be engaged in protecting commercial shipping around the Horn of Africa," the official said.
According to the Russian Navy, the naval base in Syria significantly boosts Russia's operational capability in the region because the warships based there are capable of reaching the Red Sea through the Suez Canal and the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar in a matter of days.
Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said in January that the General Staff had backed the Navy command's proposal to develop naval infrastructure outside Russia.
Russia has reportedly been involved in talks to establish naval facilities in Yemen, Syria and Libya, among other countries in the Mediterranean.
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