The United States fears that Iran and Qatar will soon follow Ankara’s example.
One of the main factors of foreign policy in the Middle East are anti-aircraft missile systems. And – the Russian production. Despite the hot protests of the West, official Ankara still acquired Triumph S-400 complexes from Russia. And now Moscow is seriously discussing similar deliveries with several other Middle Eastern powers. Among them – Iran and Qatar. Washington is furious.
Today, the S-400 is delivered from Russia to Turkey in two ways – by sea (for the most sensitive parts) and by air (radar, long-range radar detection systems and command control units). Anti-aircraft missile systems in general will be assembled from individual components already in Turkey.
And although Russian specialists will be doing the installation, it is obvious that Moscow is not afraid of the possibility of a “leakage” of military-technological secrets to the Turkish side. Business pragmatism outweighs. Indeed, despite the fact that the S-400 has been operated in Russia for more than ten years and all this time, potential foreign buyers show great interest in it, so far only the two countries have been able to sell the system, with which Moscow has partnership (albeit uneven) relations – China and Turkey.
And immediately after the start of S-400 deliveries to the Chinese side, the United States. Department of State announced the introduction of sanctions against the Central Military Council of China (this was the first case of applying the US federal law “On Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions”, which Donald Trump signed back in August 2017 ).
Now Trump is facing economic sanctions against Turkey (he has already imposed military sanctions, announcing the cessation of deliveries of Ankara fifth-generation American fighter jets to the F-35). Earlier, the EU imposed restrictions on Turkey: probably acted on the orders of the “Washington Regional Committee”, although a good-looking excuse was invented for decency – allegedly, Ankara illegally conducts geological prospecting off the coast of Cyprus.
The fears of Western politicians and the military are not even connected with the fact that now even one of the NATO members will exploit the weapons of a potential opponent of this bloc itself. And with the fact that, allegedly with the help of S-400 radar stations (they really cover a huge zone with a radius of 600 km), Russians are able to get access to secret information about the movement of alliance aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea.
Pressing Ankara with sanctions, the Americans are shooting themselves in the leg: the Turks will be forced to look for analogues of fifth-generation American fighters. And almost certainly will prefer the Russian C-57.
By the way, the frenzy of Washington over the supply of Triumph is explained not only by military-political, but also purely economic reasons: the US insisted that Ankara buy similar American Patriot anti-aircraft systems.
However, according to former Turkish Foreign Minister Yashar Yakis, the Russian Triumph turned out to be “better, more convenient, and inexpensive” for the Turks. Indeed, Moscow made unprecedented financial concessions to secure the purchase: a part of the deal worth $ 2.5 billion. Turkey pays for it with its own funds. And part of it comes from a loan issued by Russia itself.
Deliveries of components of “Triumph” to Ankara will be completed on July 23. Till September 10 their installation will be completed. And on combat duty ZRS should be in the spring of 2020. The exact location is not reported yet.
Meanwhile, the head of the Committee on International Affairs, Leonid Slutsky, in joy, has already told reporters that deliveries of the C-400 can soon begin in other countries of the Middle East. True – not told which ones. It is authentically known that Iran, Qatar and even Saudi Arabia are showing interest in Russian anti-aircraft complexes.
– Denis Alexandrovich, in your opinion, how will the distribution of forces in the S-400 of Turkey be affected by the distribution of forces in the Middle East?
- Indeed, the fact of the supply of C-400 systems to Turkey makes certain adjustments to the balance of forces in the Middle East.
And, first of all, into the matrix of ensuring their national security by regional states. They are ready, sacrificing opportunistic considerations, to buy weapons from Russia, – says Denis Mirgorod, a senior researcher at the Scientific Research Institute for Strategic Studies.
– At the same time, I note that Turkey falls into an unprecedented technological and economic dependence on Russia, not only from the S-400. But also with the Akkuyu nuclear power plant under construction in this country.
The Turkish Stream gas pipeline should also be added here. And also – the tourist flow. Plus, the Russian market for the sale of Turkish products.
Here parallels with Iran are relevant, its interests systematically, albeit partially, but begin to coincide with the interests of Turkey. This, I believe, will only positively affect the state of security in the region.
I believe that the most important point in this context is that other countries in the Middle East can also begin purchasing C-400 systems. For example, Saudi Arabia is experiencing obvious problems with the protection of its territory from the air attacks of the Houthis.
In fact, it is already possible to speak of some kind of “diplomacy of the ZRS”, which are considered by all interested parties as an element of bargaining when pursuing their political goals. And also – as an effective tool to increase their defense capability.
– You mentioned that military-political dependence on Russia brings Turkey and Iran together. But at the same time, they are also “brothers in misfortune.” I mean American sanctions and even the threat of a military operation. True, Washington clearly threatens only Tehran.
– The current situation around Iran is truly regarded by many as a stalemate for the Donald Trump administration. Demanding decisive, including – military action against Tehran. At stake, the current US president has obligations to a number of partner countries in the Middle East (primarily to Israel). And also – the prospects for the extension of its presidential cadence.
However, the point of no return has not yet been reached, the “red lines” are not violated. The current situation, rather, can be called a decision point.
Prediction of the military outcome of the confrontations of the United States and Iran should be with great caution and skepticism. By virtue of the presence of a huge number of threatening introductory for regional and global security in the event of a tough solution to the Iranian problem.
– Well, if you imagine that Trump will give up his nerves and he will begin a military operation against Iran? How to respond to Russia?
– In this case, Russia will undoubtedly have an extremely difficult choice. Since it is not possible to take a neutral position on this issue – Syria, world oil and gas prices, a wave of refugees, international terrorism and so on are not at stake.
It should be noted that the strategic vision by Moscow and Tehran of the development of the Middle East agenda has both common points and obvious differences. For example, goal-setting in the Syrian crisis. Therefore, to say that Iran is an unequivocal ally for us is wrong.
The Americans have already cut off Iran from supplying the warring Syrian army with fuel. RF – in line.
At the same time, Tehran (and not Ankara) is the main regional key to weakening the actions of the United States and Israel in the region. That at certain stages is beneficial for Russia.
Accepting the Israeli side actually means supporting the US military adventure. And it does not fit into the logic of the titanic work that our state has done in the Middle East over the past 10 years.
– It is unlikely that Moscow will go for it.
– With the development of the most negative scenario, Russia will be forced to “fight” for peace in the Middle East on diplomatic fronts and on the sidelines of big politics, operating with common peacekeeping rhetoric. In a different scenario, we may lose relations with leading regional players.
At the same time, we, the Europeans and the Chinese, need to do everything to sign a new nuclear deal on Iran. Ultimately, this option can be arranged by Washington, which will be able to position it even as its achievement.
And at this time.
According to Reuters, Donald Trump commented on the situation with the purchase of Turkey S-400. In particular, he said: “Turkey also ordered more than 100 F-35 aircraft from the USA, and planned to order more.” Further, the US president noted that since Turkey “has a missile system that was produced in Russia, it is now forbidden for them to acquire more than 100 aircraft.”
Trump said he has “good relations with President Erdogan.” According to him, the Turkish leader “wanted to buy Patriot missiles,” while the US “refused to sell.”
– And then he made a deal with another country, Russia, to buy its system, which he didn’t even want. After that, we suddenly started saying that now we will sell the Patriot. But due to the fact that he bought a Russian rocket, we are now not allowed to supply him with aircraft that cost billions of dollars. This is an unfair situation, – the US President, clearly offended, believes.
And further. In an interview with the Breaking Defense publication, Israeli sources report that the delivery of the Russian S-400 to Ankara created a “new order” in the Middle East airspace. For Israel, the situation can become critical if (or when) Russian troops leave Syria. According to experts, much will depend on whether the Turks deployed S-400 near the border with Syria? Then it could endanger the combat aircraft of the Jewish state, which may be involved in potential operations against Iran or pro-Iranian forces.