Russia Sends Warships To Gaza Coast

Tyler Durden's picture

For the entire 8 day duration of Operation Pillar of Defense, there was one major geopolitical player who had been largely quiet and certainly absent from the scene: the same player whose unflinching position over the Syria conflict has so far prevented any intervention in the civil war torn country: Russia. The same Russia which has a military base in the Syrian port city of Tarsus, and thus in its own eyes, a very substantial "national interest" role to play in the middle east, one that is certainly opposing that of the US and the pro-NATO forces, a tension that will surely boil to the surface now that war between Iran and Israel is always at most "hours away" depending on who is asked, and which one day will be more than just a war of words. Today, Russia decided that it had kept quiet for too long over the Gaza conflict, with Voice of Russia reporting, courtesy of Al Arabiya, that Russian warships anchored off the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea will be put on military alertness should the conflict in Gaza escalate and brought in proximity, according Russian Navy Command source on Friday.

Sure enough, there is a diplomatic reason for the escalation: evacuation preparedness. To wit: "The detachment of combat ships of the Black Sea Fleet, including the Guards missile cruiser Moskva, the patrol ship Smetliviy, large landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov, the sea tug MB-304 and the big sea tanker Ivan Bubnov, got the order to remain in the designated area of the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens from the area of the Gaza strip in case of escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, the spokesperson said. He added that ship crew members will continue routine combat training, maintenance of equipment and weapons along with other military services.

A missile cruiser, which just happens to be the flag ship of the Russian Black Sea naval fleet, and whose purpose is "to destroy hostile surface ships" in order to aid evacuation? Odd...

Naturally, only very naive people would buy this "explanation", which does nothing to mitigate the factor that Russia, too, is now implicitly involved in the Gaza conflict. How soon until China sends a few of its own warships to the region. Just in case China nationals needs evaluation too.

And if indeed evacuation is the catalyst, it may happen soon, because the tenuous cease fire between the two nations may not last long following another reflaring of hostilities between Israel and Gaza:

Hundreds of Palestinians approached the border fence Friday in several locations in southern Gaza, testing expectations Israel would no longer enforce a 300-meter-wide (300-yard-wide) no-go zone on the Palestinian side of the fence that was meant to prevent infiltrations into Israel. In the past, Israeli soldiers routinely opened fire on those who crossed into the zone.


In one incident captured by Associated Press video, several dozen Palestinians, most of them young men, approached the fence, coming close to a group of Israeli soldiers standing on the other side.


Some Palestinians briefly talked to the soldiers, while others appeared to be taunting them with chants of “God is Great” and “Mursi, Mursi,” in praise of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, whose mediation led to the truce.


At one point, a soldier shouted in Hebrew, “Go there, before I shoot you,” and pointed away from the fence, toward Gaza. The soldier then dropped to one knee, assuming a firing position. Eventually, a burst of automatic fire was heard, but it was not clear whether any of the casualties were from this incident.


Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said a 20-year-old man was killed and 19 people were wounded by Israeli fire near the border.


Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said Israeli forces fatally shot Anwar Abdulhadi Qudaih in the head and injured at least 19 other Palestinian civilians in a border area east of Khan Younis.


During the incidents, Hamas security tried to defuse the situation and keep the crowds away from the fence.


Moussa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas official at the ongoing negotiations in Cairo, told The Associated Press that the violence would have no effect on the ceasefire.


The crowds were mainly made up of young men but also included farmers hoping to once again farm lands in the buffer zone. Speaking by phone from the buffer zone, 19-year-old Ali Abu Taimah said he and his father were checking three acres of family land that have been fallow for several years.


“When we go to our land, we are telling the occupation (Israel) that we are not afraid at all,” he said.


Israel’s military said roughly 300 Palestinians approached the security fence at different points, tried to damage it and cross into Israel. Soldiers fired warning shots in the air, but after the Palestinians refused to move back, troops fired at their legs, the military said. A Palestinian infiltrated into Israel during the unrest, but was returned to Gaza, it said.

As we previously showed the Brent market priced in a ceasefire for about 10 minutes last week, before sending Brent to its weekly high, on the realization that the peace between Israel and Gaza is merely lip service until at least one more foreign political entity figures out some way to benefit from a re-escalation of hostilities. Only this time the Russians will be there too.

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ArrestBobRubin's picture

Israel’s Crumbling Pillar of ‘Defense’

Hamas, 1 – Netanyahu, 0

by , November 23, 2012 Print This | Share This

The big news this Thanksgiving holiday is the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire. Will it last beyond the time you’re eating desert and trying to recover from a massive Tryptophane overdose? Don’t be so sure….

The reason for this uncertainty is because Hamas comes out the winner, on all fronts, and Netanyahu just as clearly the loser. What did the Israelis achieve? Nothing. Hamas, on the other hand, secured growing international recognition, as Arab state officials who had once snubbed Hamas trekked to Gaza to show solidarity. More important, Hamas struck at Tel Aviv itself, taking the Israelis by surprise and showing they aren’t the helpless victims the Israelis thought they were, an important factor in mobilizing Arab public opinion.

As far as the battle for international public opinion is concerned, the lopsided nature of the conflict – with all the military assets in Israel’s favor – and those dead Palestinian children being pulled from the ruins undid decades of Israeli propaganda. No campaign of internet hasbara can hide the fact that children under ten made up 30 percent of the dead in Gaza — an astonishing and horrifying figure.


Never One Roach's picture

The Russians did not get the Nobel Peace Prize so I am weary of their intentions.

Mark Noonan's picture

I can see why Russia wants to throw her weight around but to send those antique ships in to a war zone is just idiotic.  The Moskva is nearly 30 years old and hasn't been overhauled in 14 years!  Not exactly the sort of vessel you want to start a war with.

toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

Speaking of "antiques", this puppy is over 40 years old and we still don't have anything to match it or defend against it. Don't under estimate the weapons of NOD.

Parrotile's picture

So thinking like, say, Putin, " It's old, but still probably effective. If there is a significant risk of conflict, we'd prefer to lose an older asset than our more modern ones, which can be retained for effective use "later on" "

Appearance can be just as important as ability to act.

Personally I'd be more concerned in the whereabouts of the Russian Submarine fleets - "Out of sight, out of mind".

Something the Israeli Navy might want to consider too . . . . .

Mark Noonan's picture

Good point - but I wonder?  If they are sending out rusting hulks on the surface, just what condition is the overall Russian navy in?

frostfan's picture

Oh yeah, so after all the comments above, I guess Israel is weaker than ever and that this conflict makes them that much closer to their destruction?  Didn't we hear the same thing after the war with Hezbollah? Cast Lead? The Mavi Mamara?   Yawn......  The scoreboard at the end of the day is Hamas lobbed hundreds of missiles and only killed six people and they're dancing in the streets screaming victory.  Same with Al Jazeera and Hezbollah screaming victory even though Nasrallah had to do it from a cave.

downwiththebanks's picture

This says it all:  from a Zionist's POV, wars are won on the basis of how many babies and grandmothers trolling around in wheelchairs get blown to smithereens by Drones doled out thanks to welfare checks.

Hannibal's picture

I"ll vy for the underdog anytime.

ScotlandTheBrave's picture

Russians want to maintain their control on oil and gas flow to EU. EU (Nato) wants another supplier. Syria, a Russian client, stands in the way of the Saudi trans Turkey pipeline. The Turks loath the Russians because it was the Russians that pushed the Turks out of southern Asia. The Persians stand with the Russians because they remember the Ottoman Empire and how they were treated under it...Sunni Moslems (Arabs) consider the Persian Moslems apostates. Hama's is not Sunni...but enemy of my enemy is my friend so Morsi of the Sunni brohood would say. So Morsi stops the missiles from flying to keep the IDF at bay and Hamas gains legitamacy in palistinian win for Hamas who will now represent all palistine and will rearm to fight another day. Now watch for flareup in Syria again. The Eurasian War is coming like a tiger in the night.