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Russia is sending three military ships with hundreds of marines aboard to a Moscow-leased naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus.
According to the Russian military, the landing ships, each with up to 120 armed navy personnel on board, will visit the Syrian port in coming days and spend a few days there.
The exact nature of the ships’ mission remains unclear. While Russian news agencies quoted a source in the general staff as saying that they will take on fresh supplies of food and water, some reports suggest that Russian marines will stay in Tartus to protect the country’s staff there.
The ships are currently conducting planned exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and after visiting Tartus they will head for the Bosphorus and the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, an unnamed military source said on Friday.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Vyacheslav Maluzov, Middle East expert, to further discuss the issue. The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: What is your reading of Moscow’s decision to send three amphibious assault ships with marines on board to its naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus?
Maluzov: Of course appearance of three big marine vessels in Tartus these days while the United States proclaims intensifying the supply of weapon and financing of militarized groups in Syrian opposition, that means that it is the response of Russia on Western American stance towards Syria.
I think that official aim of this visit is the maneuvering of Russian three fleets– Northern, Far East and Middle Mediterranean Fleet and meeting in Black Sea and on the way to the Black Sea these three big marine vessels stayed in Tartus who has 120 marines on board on each vessel with all equipment, with all armament that have at their disposal.
I think it is political appearance, political signal to the United States, to Turkey who are making maneuvers on Syrian borders by tanks and others that Russia will not retire from its position in nearest future.
So I think that if we take into consideration the position of Kofi Annan, his retirement and the discussion of issue of Syria in General Assembly on the United Nations, all these events if they are put together it is obvious that United States does not want to leave the position of encouraging militarized groups for military action in Syria.
It is absolutely clear it is violation of all international law existed and violation of the Charter of the United Nations that prohibited any interference and especially military interference in foreign affairs, foreign countries.
I think that ignorant of international law, the United States proclaimed a new policy for the United States in 21th century that do not respect any international law, do not respect the will of the people because what is forces that fighting Syrian government today in Syria? They are foreigners mainly, foreigners coming and encouraged from outside.
I think that it is not just, position of the United States and all accusations towards China, Russia that they brought to this conflict it is a big lie, we cannot agree with this approach of the United States officials talking about responsibility of Russia for undermining the mission of Kofi Annan.
I say that Kofi Annan mission was rejected from the very beginning by the United States who said that it is not their goals of this mission. The goal of that mission should be overthrowing existing authority in Syria. It is not what decision of the Security Council Committee that it was Security Council who decided to bring peace onto Syria but United States wanted the war.
So in this condition I do not think that Syrian government should have any restrictions to undertake any measures, any means to stop violations in their country. It is the legitimate right for Syrian authority to use all forces at their disposal to put an end to this violation.
Russia in my opinion is making all efforts on international level to prohibit foreign open intervention in Syria from Turkey, from Lebanon, from any other directions. I think that foreign interference is excluded but interference under cover and interference in sending modern weapons or rockets against aviation and rockets against tanks and many other things, military purposes, are made from American side.
I think that it is the way to war not the way to peace. Russia chose the peace, America chose the war.
Press TV: But with all due respect it is not just the United States as you mentioned who has ignored international law which in essence has made a mockery of the UN also France, also UK and also some other countries.
But when you say it is a political move by Russia to send these three amphibious assault ships with marines on board, I think you said there is 120 on board each making it 360, well isn’t that a fine line that might be passed when you say that’s in retaliation to the US and its partners funding militarily these militants on the ground?
Maluzov: I do not think that Russian military presence in the sea, in Tartus , the official part of Syria that is acknowledged by all countries as an independent state is a subject of any quarrel between Russia and the United States.
I do not imagine any cases that such kind of peaceful maneuvering will bring military confrontation between the United States and Russia. I think that with those limits of political means, I think that Russia came to this conclusion and using military forces as a political means to prove their political stance towards events developing on Syrian soil.
I think it is firm position, political, diplomatic position including Russian position in the United Nations through discussions that Saudis offered to blame Syrian government on violations on demand on Syrian President to retire.
I think it is not their right for General Assembly even to discuss such kind of issues. Any questions concerning world security, world situation is a subject of Security Council but not General Assembly discussion.
I think it is very old quarrel between the United States and Russia beginning from Korean War in 50’s when United States pressed Russians–Soviet that time–government to acknowledge that decisions of General Assembly are more important than decisions of Security Council.
The Charter of the United Nations gives another answer to these questions. It is a very old dispute between Washington and Moscow and I think that United States is using the same method to achieve their geopolitical goals in the Middle East.
I think that Russia’s position is absolutely firm, absolutely just and based on legitimate stance of United Nations Charter.