NB: Qatar has the US Marine Headquaters for the Arab-Gulf region while Syria has the only Russian Naval-base in the Mediterranean.
“Irrespective to the views of the Syrian people, their fate has long been decided by forces operating beyond their borders. In a speech given to the Commonwealth Club of California in 2007 retired US Military General Wesley Clark speaks of a policy coup initiated by members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Clark cites a confidential document handed down from the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2001 stipulating the entire restructuring of the Middle East and North Africa. Portentously, the document allegedly revealed campaigns to systematically destabilize the governments of Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Under the familiar scenario of an authoritarian regime systematically suppressing peaceful dissent and purging large swaths of its population, the mechanisms of geopolitical stratagem have freely taken course.” – Nile Bowie
Syria Key To Iranian Defenses Against West
By David Fulghum
If Iran’s nuclear development facilities were bombed by the U.S. or Israel, the planning of both attackers and defenders would have to take into account the newly improved, long-range surveillance and intelligence-gathering facilities in Syria and Lebanon.
Russian radar and communications specialists have just completed improvements to Syria’s early warning capabilities that double radar ranges and establish a surveillance network covering all of the eastern Mediterranean, Israel, Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia.
The importance of this upgrade is that it encompasses many of the key aerial approaches both to Syria (in the event of multinational military intervention) and Iran (if the U.S. or Israel attacked Tehran’s uranium enrichment capabilities). For Israel to attack Iran, it would likely have to fly through Syrian, Turkish, Jordanian or Saudi airspace.
Another element is the long-term cooperation between Syria and Iran. They have shared technology and intelligence-gathering for years. Syrians, for example, provided signals intelligence to the Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon during the conflict with Israel in 2006.
A collapse of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could provide enough chaos to shield a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran. Otherwise, Syria would provide early warning.
“Syria does not want to be embarrassed again,” confirms a U.S. official with long service in the world of black operations. In 2007, Israeli strike aircraft slipped into Syria from the Mediterranean without being detected and destroyed a nuclear reactor site built with North Korean help. The Syrian radar system went dark until the Israeli aircraft were gone, say U.S. intelligence officials.
Russian radar specialists recently completed upgrades to an electronic surveillance site south of Damascus. Its range has been increased to cover all of Israel, Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia, according to the Debka website, which is touted by some Israeli analysts as a useful source of unofficial defense information. Upgrades also included the radar site atop Lebanon’s Mount Sannine and improved linkage to the Syrian intelligence-gathering networks, says the report. Mount Sannine is 8,600 ft. high, and a multibillion-dollar resort development there has been on hold since the Israeli raid on Syria in 2007. The mountain overlooks the Hezbollah- and Syrian-dominated Bekaa Valley and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The coverage also enables tracking of U.S. and Israeli naval and aerial movements in the eastern Mediterranean to include Cyprus (where the U.S. has its own intelligence-gathering facilities) and Greece. The sites are additionally used to feed data on Syrian opposition movements and watch for foreign intervention.
The Russian upgrades came as a response to complaints from Tehran that it “could no longer count on Russia for a real-time alert on an incoming U.S. or Israeli military strike because those resources were stretched to the limit in supporting the Assad” regime’s intelligence needs, says the Debka analysis.
Source: Aviation Week