Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Moscow sends warships to Syria: War games or evacuation?

By Fred Weir


A Turkish Navy cost guard boat (l.) escorts the Russian Navy destroyer Smetlivy in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, July 11




Almost half the ships in a Russian flotilla headed to Syria are well suited for transporting large numbers of people. As many as 100,000 Russians may live in Syria


JewishWorldReview.com |

mOSCOW — (TCSM) A Russian flotilla of a dozen warships, drawn from three naval fleets, is headed for the eastern Mediterranean to hold maneuvers, and will put into the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia operates a naval supply base.

Russian officials insist these war games were scheduled long ago, and that they are designed for all the usual purposes of such exercises, primarily showing the flag in far-flung regions of the globe. But one striking detail tells a very different story: almost half the ships headed for the Mediterranean from Russia's Arctic, Baltic, and Black Sea fleets are giant amphibious assault craft.

That's a type of vessel that's good for transporting large numbers of people (and tanks), and getting them in and out of tight places. Experts say this is pretty conclusive evidence that the Kremlin is actively preparing for the grim but probably imminent necessity to evacuate tens of thousands of Russian citizens and their dependents from Syria as the regime of strongman Bashar al-Assad collapses.


RECEIVE LIBERTY LOVING COLUMNISTS IN YOUR INBOX … FOR FREE!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

"I am quite sure that Russia is thinking about how to handle the possibility that tens of thousands of our own citizens, and perhaps others, may have to be extracted from a dangerous and volatile situation in Syria," says Sergei Markov, vice president of the Plekhanov Economic University in Moscow and a frequent adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"This was a scheduled exercise, and it has the purpose of demonstrating Russia's support for Assad and its important role in the region, but probably the mix of ships in the flotilla has been changed to reflect a potentially more practical purpose," he adds.

Syria has been a political and military partner of Moscow since 1971, and Russia has stubbornly refused to acquiesce to any international action that would license military intervention or tough sanctions against the regime of Mr. Assad.

SHIFT IN TONE?
But in recent weeks, Moscow, perhaps sensing the inevitable demise of Assad, has begun to shift its ground. This week, Russia announced that it will cancel new arms contracts with Syria.

On Tuesday, Russia hosted a delegation from the Syrian National Council, the main exiled Syrian opposition group, as part of its efforts to look more flexible.

"There is a certain transformation in the Russian position, which you can see from the more active diplomatic stance that's being taken," says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a leading Moscow foreign policy journal. "Russia is eager to diversify its options."

Russian media report that the antisubmarine frigate Admiral Chabanenko, plus three huge assault craft — the Alexander Otrakovsky, Georgy Pobedonosets, and Kondopoga — are on their way with a supply ship and a tug from the Navy's northern fleet base near Murmansk. They are set to rendezvous with a corvette and a tanker of the Baltic fleet, based in Kaliningrad. They will be joined in the eastern Mediterranean by five ships from the Black Sea fleet, including the destroyer Smetlivy, two amphibious assault ships — named in some reports as the Caesar Kunikov and the Nikolai Filchenkov — and two smaller vessels.

Estimates of the number of Russians in Syria range up to 100,000, though no one seems to have a clear figure. Part of the reason for that is that thousands of Russian women have married Syrians over the past 40 years — since Syria became a key client state of the USSR, and huge numbers of (mostly male) Syrian students started flowing into Soviet universities.

"Nobody knows for sure, but 30,000 to 40,000 is a good guess, mostly Russian women, wives of Syrian students, who moved there over past decades," says Georgi Mirsky, an expert with the official Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. "Then there are children, other dependents. There are smaller numbers of Russian officials and their families," plus employees of Russian companies that are active in Syria.

Mr. Markov says Russia may have to take responsibility for citizens of other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and also up to 30,000 Circassians — Caucasian people who fled Russia in the 19th century but some of whom have reportedly petitioned the Russian government for repatriation.

Experts say that Russia took careful note when China successfully evacuated more than 30,000 of its own citizens from war-torn Libya last year, using landing craft of the Chinese Navy to accomplish part of the task.

"Everyone was very impressed by the Chinese operation; it set down a kind of a marker," says Mr. Lukyanov. "It means that we can't do less than that, should the need arise."

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Comment by clicking here.











© 2012, The Christian Science Monitor