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Monday, December 13, 2010

You'd think they're preparing for war or something like that

Venezuela has purchased 1,800 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. Are they expecting a war?
Russia delivered at least 1,800 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009, U.N. arms control data show, despite vigorous U.S. efforts to stop President Hugo Chavez's stridently anti-American government from acquiring the weapons.

The United States feared that the missiles could be funneled to Marxist guerrillas fighting Colombia's pro-American government or Mexican drug cartels, concerns expressed in U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and first reported in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

It had been unclear how many of the Russian SA-24 missiles were delivered to Venezuela, though the transfer itself was not secret. Chavez showed off a few dozen at a military parade in April 2009, saying they could "deter whatever aerial aggression against our country." A high-level Russian delegation told American officials in Washington in July of that year that 100 of the missiles had been delivered in the first quarter of 2009.

Then earlier this year, Russia reported to the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms, which records the transnational sale of weaponry, that the deal totaled 1,800 missiles.

The U.N. registry did not reveal the model of the delivered weaponry. But the American commander for military forces in Latin America, Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, publicly expressed concern this year that Venezuela was purchasing as many as 2,400 of the missiles, also called the IGLA-S.

Matt Schroeder, a missile expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said the missiles are among the most sophisticated in the world and can down aircraft from 19,000 feet.

"It's the largest recorded transfer in the U.N. arms registry database in five years, at least. There's no state in Latin America of greater concern regarding leakage that has purchased so many missiles," he said, referring to reports of Venezuelan arms flowing to Colombian guerrillas.
Add to that Iran's placing intermediate range ballistic missiles in Venezuela that can reach the US, and what could go wrong?

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At 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another diplomatic triumph for "smart diplomacy"--that "reset with Russia" is certainly working out /sigh

The world has taken its measure of Bar Mitzva Barry--a scourge to his allies, a kitty to foes and would be foes, who take turns pretending to join him in enforcement of international norms while placing kick-me signs on his back and pouring peanut butter into his locker.


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