Russia sends warship with ‘special cargo’ toward Syria


Russia to send large warships towards Syrian coast, request UN assess risk of attack on Syrian nuclear reactor, as Obama attempts to garner support in G20. Iraqi source says Assad agreed to step down if promised elections, immunity from prosecution


Russia is sending its large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov loaded with ‘special cargo’ towards the Syrian coast, state news agency Interfax quoted a navy source as saying on Friday.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama told G20 leaders the United States has high confidence that Syrian forces used chemical weapons and underlined the need to uphold an international ban on the use of such weapons, a senior White House adviser said on Friday.

“The vessel will dock in Novorossiysk where it will take special cargo on board and head to the designated area of military service in the eastern Mediterranean,” Interfax quoted the unnamed navy source as saying.

It gave no more details on the cargo. Russia, a key international ally of Damascus in the Syrian civil war, is rotating its navy vessels in the Mediterranean and says its presence there is a security guarantee.

Obama made his case at a lengthy G20 leaders dinner that stretched late into the night on Thursday and was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the chief opponent to a US push to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad over an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack it blames on his troops.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told reporters that Obama “once again underscored the very high confidence that we have” that Assad’s government launched a poison gas attack that killed 1,429 people.

He made a similar case in talks on Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both Putin and Xi have blocked UN Security Council action against Syria, which has frustrated US efforts for international solidarity.

The efforts came amid reports by CNN, ABC and The New York Times that the potential US strike on Syria could be larger than previously anticipated. The possible US led air campaign could be two-days long and include long-range B-2 and B-52 stealth bombers which would takeoff from the US and fire guided missiles from beyond the range of Syria anti-air defense systems, Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who is traveling with President Barack Obama to Russia, reported.

If indeed the heavy bombers will be involved in the attack, one of their potential targets will be rockets used for chemical attacks as well as those capable of reaching Israel, ABC reported, in addition to some 200 tomahawk missiles which will be fired from US destroyers in the Mediterranean.

In anticiaption of the attack, the UN nuclear watchdog has received a request from Russia to assess the impact if a missile were to hit a small Syrian reactor and is considering the issue, the Vienna-based agency said on Friday.

Russia said this week a military strike on Syria could have catastrophic effects if the research reactor near Damascus that contains radioactive uranium was struck, “by design or by chance”.

It called on the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to urgently assess the risk as the United States considers military action to punish Syria’s government for an alleged gas attack.

“I can confirm that the IAEA has received a formal request from the Russian Federation. The agency is considering the questions raised,” IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said in an e-mail, giving no further detail.

Russia said nearby areas could be contaminated by highly enriched uranium and that it would be impossible to account for the nuclear material after such a strike, suggesting it could fall into the hands of people who might use it as a weapon.

Assad’s conditions
Meanwhile, an Iraqi official close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal that Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to step down from power on his own conditions.

Acording to the report, Assad’s conditions were that elections were to be held almost immediately and that he would be immune from any international legal prosecution. Nonetheless, the report claimed that the US refused.

Rising tensions
It was reported that Russia was sending a missile cruiser to the east Mediterranean to take over the navy’s operations in the region, Interfax quoted a military source as saying on Wednesday.

The ship, Moskva, will take over operations from a naval unit in the region that Moscow says is needed to protect national interests. It will be joined by a destroyer from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and a frigate from the Black Sea Fleet.

“The Cruiser Moskva is heading to the Gibraltar Straits. In approximately 10 days it will enter the east Mediterranean, where it will take over as the flagship of the naval task force,” the source said.

Last week, the Defense Ministry said new warships, including the Moskva, were being sent to the Mediterranean but described the movements as routine deployments.

Russia is closely monitoring the region’s developments, recently testified to by the Russian military’s spotting of the Israeli missile launch from the central Mediterranean. The Russian notice of the launch forced Israel to release a formal statement admitting to the successful test of the Ankor missile used to test the Hetz air defense system.

Earlier on Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed in an interview for AP that Moscow supplied Syria with components for the high-end S-300 air defense system, but that the shipment was not completed: “We have suspended it for now,” he said but added that “if we see that steps are taken that violate the existing international norms, we shall think how we should act in the future, in particular regarding supplies of such sensitive weapons to certain regions of the world.”

Against the background of the crystallization of the US outline for a possible strike in Syria, Putin warned the West of acting without the UN Security Council’s backing. However, in the interview Putin said he doesn’t “exclude” Russian support for a military action, should proof of Assad’s use of chemical weapons be shown to the UN.

Meanwhile, in Russia, President Barack Obama is using his last day in Europe to renew his quest for foreign support for a US military strike in Syria. But three days after he left Washington, it’s unclear whether the global coalition the president has been seeking is any closer to becoming a reality.

China’s a firm no. The European Union is skeptical about whether any military action can be effective. Even Pope Francis weighed in, urging leaders gathered here to abandon what he called a “futile mission.”

Still, Obama was undeterred. As the president pressed his case on the world stage, he was dispatching his UN ambassador, Samantha Power, to a Washington think tank to argue that the global community cannot afford the precedent of letting chemical weapons use go unpunished.

  1. #1 by N Clark on 09/06/2013 - 9:34

    Why would the US say no to Assads offer….???? More underlying BS……zionists want another MB regime to destroy the country so they can take over the country.

  2. #2 by bill on 09/06/2013 - 9:34

    the precedent was set in Iraq in 1990

  3. #3 by on 09/06/2013 - 9:34


  4. #4 by Dion on 09/06/2013 - 9:34

    Obama, I voted for you well because you were the lesser of two evils, but had some promise. Who are you now and what the hell do you think you are doing? Looks like either you are on a power trip or the sinister plan from all along is coming to fruition. It bad when you have to advise your respected advisors, but Mr. President get off your high horse. Your personal agenda is not what we need right now. Stop your attack strategy and take care of home. You are failing as a leader. Nobody is asking you to do this so why are you?

  5. #5 by carl on 09/06/2013 - 9:34

    This mess boggles my mind, how many people were killed v’s how many will be killed bombing Syria. I don’t even know if they were gassed, we only have the governments word to rely on. they’ve lied to us so much, we are over there because Iraq had hidden weapons of mass destruction. How many more of our sons & daughters must die to keep this governments propaganda alive.

  6. #6 by michael on 09/07/2013 - 9:34

    us needs to back off or we will be at war with Russia next

  7. #7 by Murphy Slaw (@BartsEvilTwin) on 09/07/2013 - 9:34

    And what if one of those missiles ends up hitting a tank filled with chemical weapons? Is this what USA wants to risk in the name of starting yet another for-profit war?

  8. #8 by trancefreak (@trancefreak64) on 09/07/2013 - 9:34

    Exactly N Clark the US citizens which I am one of do not want more involvement in the middle east if it has anything to do with destructive behavior or war. We are tired of it. I want the Syrian conflict to end but the US needs to stay out. I know Russia has interests there and yes it an atrocity what is happening but I prefer Putin’s approach on Syria’s standing on the issue. Yet i don’t care much for him but his policy seems more logical than Obama’s. The UN we know can be joke but with unilateral support the US has no right to intervene. I am sure Russia is there for a lot of reasons; possibly to retrieve and deliver all types of goods and reconnaissance. I don’t think Russia and the US Navy will go at it but Russia will be a distraction to US operations. I think they will also monitor US war ships for their own benefit. But a war between Russia and the US would be devastating to the world if it went that far. If it it did hopefully it would just remain in the scope of the Navy in the areas of the Red sea and Mediterranean. I am not trying to over react but WW3 doesn’t need to start.

  9. #9 by paul on 09/07/2013 - 9:34

    i have a friend who served in nam and what 40 yrs later as hes getting ready to have a little grand baby in his life has been told hes gonna pass soon from agent orange. what i’m saying is the effects of these police actions or wars disrupt peoples ability to live a normal and healthy life for many many years. its a lose lose situation. he did everything his country asked and 40 yrs later agent orange is gonna cut him down. he has been sick for 40 yrs and now with his new born grand daughter he wont see her grow up. human sacrifice is a wasted thing when your talking about these bastards like assad,hussein,bin laden,gadafi, khomeni, you name them they are sores on the human race. can they actually be this cold when they see pictures of the human sacrifice that they dont care. i say string them all up by their nuts till they die slowly for every man woman and child they sacrifice and for what… when you look at wars the first thing that strikes you is the good old BOYwhats in it for me. ( oil) etc… its just business as usual…… shame on obama, assad,putin, and every bastard that wants to kill innocent people. REMEMBER THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THESE BASTARDS…. JUST LOOK AT THE WORTHLESS BASTARDS WE HAVE YEAR AFTER YEAR IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE. WE DESERVE THIS BECAUSE WE ELECT THEM… THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF LOWLY LITTLE AMERICANS LIKE MYSELF AND SO MANY OTHERS. WE ARE NOT ALONE. EVERY COUNTRY HAS SOME DICTATOR WITH HIS THUMB ON THEM SCREWING THEM INTO THE GROUND. STOP THE FRIGGIN INSANITY FOLKS. I REPEAT THERE ARE FAR MORE OF US THAN THEM. JUMP ON BOARD FOLKS AND ITS NOT ABOUT PARTY AFFILIATION ITS ABOUT HUMAN DIGNITY. THE RIGHT TO LIVE FREE AND HUMANE LIVES. THE RIGHT TO WATCH YOUR FAMILY GROW UP AROUND YOU THEN YOUR GRANDCHILDREN. WHEN DOES THE INSANITY END…. ALL GOD WANTS IS HIS PEOPLE TO LOVE CHERISH AND RESPECT EACH OTHER IN THEIR OWN WAY WITHOUT THESE ASSHOLES MESSING UP OUR LIVES EVERY DAMN DAY. LOOK AROUND YOU MSTER PRESIDENT OUR CHILDREN ARE BUSTING THEIR ASSES TO GRADUATE AND GET GOOD QUALITY JOBS HERE IN AMERICA. THEY DONT NEED YOU AND YOUR CRONNIES ON CAPITOL HILL MESSING UP THEIR LIVES ANYMORE.. AND ITS NOT JUST ON AMERICA MR. PUTIN IT IS HAPPENING IN RUSSIA, CHINA, JAPAN EVERY COUNTRY IS STRUGGLING TO GIVE THEIR CHILDREN A DECENT LIFE. REMEMBER FOLKS THERES MORE OF US THAN THEM…

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