Greece may close airspace for Russian aircraft going to Syria

The Greek Foreign Ministry has acknowledged the Obama Administration has requested its government deny use of Greek airspace to Russian aircraft traveling to Syria.  Athens is reportedly contemplating Washington’s bid.

The request to close Greek airspace to Russian air traffic follows emerging reports the Russian government was sending troops and military hardware to Syria.

The state-owned Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, reported the Russian government has secured permission from Greece to use its airspace to deliver humanitarian assistance to the beleaguered nation until September 24.

Russia, a long-time ally of Syria, maintains a military base in the Middle Eastern nation at the port city of Tartous and has continued regular flights to Latakia to both transport aid and evacuate Russian nationals from the war-torn country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated:  “(Moscow) has never concealed that it delivers military equipment to official Syrian authorities with the aim of combating terrorism.”

Lebanese daily, As-Safir, reported over the weekend Russian personnel were surveying Syrian airstrips with the intent of lengthening runways.

An unnamed Syrian military representative refused to disclose details of Russian activity in Syria, but did admit to “a big shift” to the relationship Syria enjoys with Russia in the immediate past.

“It is obvious that the Russians will be more resolute in dealing with this situation. This forms a danger to the allies of Russia,” the official said.  

If nothing else, Russia has demonstrated an allegiance to an ally in the region and is resolute in combating the abomination of ISIS.

The Obama Administration, the very embodiment of inertia, resolving to oust Assad, has assembled a contradictory and confusing policy which has yielded negligible gains and nothing a worthy end can justify.

Conversely, the Kremlin has explained its position with intelligent care and has decided to act in face of Western confusion.  While there may be merit to calls for a change of leadership in Damascus, this is an occurrence which should be left entirely to the discretion of the Syrian people.

For the moment, Assad remains. If Moscow can promote stability and maintain order in Syria with their current president in power and, in unison, crush the messengers of death in ISIS, this will further accentuate Mr. Obama’s deficit of leadership.

Given the fact the current Ukrainian government installed by Mr. Obama includes neo-fascists, Assad can’t be all bad.

 

[Reuters] [Foreign Policy] [Photo courtesy CNN]