Experts' club
June 29 2012

A peace initiative on Syria of the UN and the League of the Arab
States special representative Kofi Annan brought no results. Neither
government forces nor the armed opposition agreed to it. The
confrontation between them was renewed on even a larger scale and was
followed by increase in death numbers. Along with civilians soldiers,
officers and generals and their families are fleeing Syria. Turkey
only has received more than 33 thousand Syrian citizens. Situation was
exacerbated by destruction of a Turkish fighter by the missile defence
of Syria. Turkey is a NATO member and Ankara along with Washington
demanded adequate measures against Damascus. Syrian President Bashar
Assad said his country is in a state of war.

Against this backdrop, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed
informaiton voiced previously by the US that Russian cargo ship Alaid
carried air defence systems and military helicopters to Syria, for
Bashar al-Assad forces. This means that Russia will again veto new
international efforts against the Syrian regime.

In this conditions, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper published an
article by Vladimir Mukhin under the heading "Caucasus-2012 - combat
readiness being boosted!", which can be perceived as yet another
threat to countries that demand to stop the bloodshed in Syria as
well as the Assad government's resignation.

Having said that planned command-staff exercises of the Russian
Army under the code name "Caucasus 2012" are beginning at military
bases in the south of Russia and Armenia, the author of the article
notes that though military exercises are considered planned, they
are directly related to aggravation of economic, geopolitical and
military problems in the Caspian region, Iran and Syria, as well as
the Karabakh conflict.

According to the press service of the Southern Military District
of Russia, exercises will begin at the training ground "Sernovodsk"
located in the Stavropol Territory and will last for several months.

The main purpose of the exercise is to develop objectives for hidden
control of armed forces using modern information technologies and
electronic means.

After Stavropol exercises will start in those parts of the Russian
army, which are deployed in the occupied regions of Georgia - "South
Ossetia" and Abkhazia - as well as in the 102nd Russian military
base in the Armenian city of Gyumri. In Armenia, the main attention
will be paid to development of coordinated action of the Russian and
Armenian armies in order to achieve a common goal.

According to the Armenian Defence Minister Seiran Oganian, during
manoeuvres the troops will be brought into high combat readiness.

Culmination of collective rapid reaction forces will take place in
September. Due to the fact that Azerbaijan and Georgia treat the
transfer of large units of Russian paratroopers to Armenia with great
suspicion, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued information about the
exercise in April - the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper notes. According
to the newspaper, naval manoeuvres that unfolded on the Caspian Sea
in recent days seem rather large-scale too.

According to the commander of the Caspian Flotilla Rear Admiral Sergei
Alekminsky, 15 surface ships were involved in tactical exercises.

Their crews should improve solving of some problems of defence against
underwater threats and sabotage of a group of ships. Also attention
is paid to issues of protection of oil and gas pipelines, blocking
drug transfer routes from Afghanistan and so on. The Rear Admiral
Alekminsky does not rule out that in the view of the existing situation
the Russian Navy will have to solve larger problems through involvement
of special purpose units, artillery, missiles and precision-guided

In the coming months the Caspian Flotilla will increase with new
ships with modern equipment, which will include Buyan class corvettes
Volgodonsk and Dagestan. The latter is equipped with missile system
that uses several types of high-precision missiles against targets
at ranges up to 300 km.

Recently, several trains with tanks and other types of modern military
equipment were demonstratively brought into Makhachkala.

"The Russian military and political leadership devotes considerable
attention to strengthening of the country's defence in the Caspian
Sea region and the Caucasus. There can be no talk of demilitarization
of the region. Moscow intends to defend its interests here by various
means, including force "- Vladimir Mukhin is categorical on the pages
of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newsapper.

Acouple of weeks ago the same newspaper published an article by
Sergei Konovalov "Syrian direction of the Russian troops" which, it
is obvious, like the article by Mukhin, was written on instructions
of the chief military body of Russia. It demonstrates that threats
and demonstration of military power became part of the policy of the
Russian government. And that the civilized world cannot accept.

From: Baghdasarian