Russia Tries To Stop Syria Intervention

Russia's efforts today, including ship movement and a UN Security Council meeting, suggest an effort to stop the impending Western intervention in the Syrian civil war.



The rise in rhetoric and threats from the West to intervene in the Syrian civil war following the use of chemical weapons in Damascus has now forced the hand of Syria's key ally, Russia.  While Russia blocked measures by the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (with support from China) in recent days, the United States and France are intent on conducting a military strike without the authorization of either the United Nations or NATO.  The Russians have responded by sending warships to the Mediterranean Sea, ostensibly as part of a naval rotation, but comes as a military strike is predicted in the next few days.  Now, following this deployment, Russia has called for an urgent meeting with the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council, possibly in an attempt to prevent the intervention.

Russian cruiser Moskva, facing deployment to the Mediterranean

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva, shown here, is facing deployment in the Mediterranean Sea over "the next few days." (Source:  Reuters)

The Russian Navy announced today that three naval vessels would be deployed to the Mediterranean starting in the next few days.  These ships include the missile cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet and an anti-submarine destroyer from the Northern Fleet, likely from the 2nd Anti-Submarine Ship Division.  The missile cruiser Varyag from the Pacific Fleet would later be deployed to replace another anti-submarine ship that is currently deployed in the Mediterranean, close to Syria.  However, following reports that the ships were en route to beef up the Syrian Navy in the event of a predicted foreign intervention, the Russian Navy issued a statement denying that the ships were moving in connection to Syria, but merely as part of Russian naval protocol.

Now, a meeting is being called by the Russians to speak with the rest of the UN Security Council, set to be 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time.  Nobody knows for certain the reason for the meeting, but it may be a last ditch attempt by the Russians to stop the intervention.

The meeting comes as the case for a military strike falls apart.  The British government has decided against an immediate strike following significant opposition within the coalition government, waiting instead for a report from UN inspectors on the chemical attacks in Damascus.  Meanwhile, American intelligence officials acknowledged that even they are not sure who fired the chemical weapons at this time, as it could have been either the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad, a rogue officer in the Syrian Army, or even the Syrian rebels themselves.

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