Two days ago we reported that the most recent escalation in the Syrian proxy war involved a bitter exchange between Russia and Israel, where the latter warned the former that it would proceed with destroying any arms shipments from Russia into Syria, specifically referencing the S-300 missiles that has been known to be en route to Damascus for several weeks now. The Israel defense minister warned that: "The shipments haven't set out yet and I hope they won't. If they do arrive in Syria, God forbid, we'll know what to do." Well, according to Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar not only has the shipment been sent out, but it has already arrived. Check to Israel and coming through on its warning to begin an offensive action not only against Syria, but more importantly, implicitly against Russia.
"Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets," Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Assad as saying in an interview due to be broadcast later on Thursday.
More of the missiles would arrive soon, he was quoted as saying.
Russia has said it would deliver the missile system to the Syrian government over Western objections, saying the move would help stabilize the regional balance.
A staunch ally of the Assad government, Moscow has appeared to grow more defiant since the European Union let its arms embargo on Syria expire, opening up the possibility of the West arming the rebels battling to topple the president. The embargo lapses on June 1.
The United States, France and Israel have all called on Russia to stop the missile delivery.
So much for the United Stated, French and Israel's foreign policy leverage, at least in the eyes of Gazpromia Russia, for whom preserving the veto power on Qatar gas pipelines into Europe is the only prerogative.
And just like Israel couldn't get enough of scaremongering about the Iranian nuclear facility in Fordow which was said would lead to the war if left unchecked (we are still waiting), now it is the turn to blindly accuse Syria of preemptive "defensive" violence:
Officials in Israel, the United States' main ally in the region, say the S-300 could reach deep into the Jewish state and threaten flights over its main commercial airport near Tel Aviv.
Israel, wary of any Syrian weapons being sent to Hezbollah in Lebanon, has already launched three air strikes against Damascus to stop suspected transfers.
Sources close to the Russian weapons export monopoly Rosoboronexport said last year that an earlier agreed S-300 deal had been frozen due to concerns over violence in Syria. But one of the sources said Syria had already paid 20 percent of the contract price.
Earlier this month, Israel was reported to have told Washington that Syria had begun payments for a $900 million purchase of S-300s, with an initial deliver due within three months
So if the missiles, shown below, have indeed arrived, look for red flashing headlines about loud explosions in Syria in the next 24 hours. And after that, look for even redder flashier headlines, describing Russia's response.