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Russia to sell missiles to Syria?

Rumours have been flying in the Russian and Israeli press that Russia is about to sell a batch of SS-26 Iskander-E missiles to Syria.  They’re kind of like SCUDs, only better.

Israel is vehemently opposed to the sale, which it says could bring all of Israel within range of Syrian missiles.  But, given that Syria already has missiles that can hit most of Israel, I can’t see it having a significant impact on the balance of power in the region.

America has also opposed the sale:

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington would be unhappy if any such deal was agreed. "We’ve seen reports of the sale. The U.S. policy on this is very clear," boucher said. "We’re against the sale of weaponry to Syria, against the sale of lethal military equipment to Syria, which is a state sponsor of terrorism. And we think those kinds of sales are not appropriate. The Russians know about this policy. They know about our views."

And, of course, Russia has denied that the sale is even a possibility:

"No talks are under way between Russia and Syria for the shipment of those operational tactical missiles," Ivanov said.

But, if it did want to sell them, it most definitely wouldn’t worry about what anybody else says:

"Those missiles are not covered by any of the limitations or international obligations taken on by the Russian Federation. There are no limitations whatsoever on the shipment of those missiles to any foreign countries," Ivanov said.

So there.

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