“We believe that introducing surface-to-air missiles in Syria is going to change the balance of power on the ground, al-Jubeir explained. “It will allow the moderate opposition to be able to neutralize the helicopters and aircraft that are dropping chemicals and have been carpet-bombing them, just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there.”
“This has to be studied very carefully…because you don’t want such weapons to fall into the wrong hands,” al-Jubeir noted.
With his interviewer countering by asking whether he meant that the weapons might fall “into the hands of Islamic State [Daesh],” the minister deferred to Washington, saying that “this is a decision that the international coalition will have to make. This is not Saudi Arabia’s decision.”
A decision for the international coalition…If this is the case, it means that the Saudis will not be sending portable anti-air systems to Syria after all. Because unless Washington has totally lost its mind, it will not look too kindly on Riyadh sending weapons to jihadists which could shoot down Western commercial passenger jets or US-led coalition planes bombing Daesh in Iraq and eastern Syria.
After all, it is a well-known fact (one which even rebel supporters now openly admit) that prior to the Syrian Army’s liberation of Nubl and Zahraa in Aleppo province earlier this month, rebel factions had been actively engaged in trade with Daesh, moving fuel, food, and presumably weapons and fighters back and forth.
The US position, essentially, is what prevented Riyadh from sending anti-aircraft systems to Syria in the first place.
In February 2014, commenting on the latest rumor of Saudi portable SAM deliveries to Syria, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that “the US has long opposed arming rebels with anti-aircraft missiles, for fear they could fall into the hands of extremists who might use them against the West or commercial airlines. The Saudis have held off supplying them in the past because of US opposition. A senior Obama administration official said Friday that the US objection remains the same. ‘There hasn’t been a change internally on our view’, the official said.” Then, as now, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
In the final analysis, even if all of the above turns out to be wrong, and Saudi Arabia does decide to open a Pandora’s Box by sending mobile SAMs to Syria, the move would not change the outcome of the Syrian war.
The systems the Saudis would provide, Jenzen-Jones explained, “are likely to be legacy missile systems,” which, for the most part, could “pose a notable threat [only] to Syrian government aircraft, particularly rotary-wing aircraft” (i.e. helicopters).
In the long term, Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovski suggests, Saudi SAM deliveries “will not significantly influence the course and outcome of the ongoing fighting in Syria.”
Would they force Syrian and Russian aircraft to adjust their tactics? Definitely. Could they lead to losses for Syrian aircraft? Possibly. Could they result in Russia assisting the Syrian Air Force by providing it with modern SAM countermeasures? Certainly. Would they affect the outcome of the war? Definitely not.
U.S. made TOW-Missile fired by “moderate terrorists” fail to penetrate a Russian T-90
- Royals and Rebels: Will Riyadh’s Missiles Aim for Russian Jets in Syria?
- Syria to View Saudi, Turkish Troops as Terrorists if Invasion Launched
- Saudis Trying to Embroil Washington in a Quagmire in Syria
- Dangerous Games: Ankara, Riyadh ‘Lack Clear Strategy’ on Syria
- Who’s First? True Prospects of Foreign Boots on the Ground in Syria
- Political Bluff? Why Saudi Arabia Will Not Invade Syria
SOURCES: Sputnik News Submitted by SyrianPatriots War Press Info Network at: https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/russia-respond/ ~