Saturday, July 7, 2012

UPDATE 1: The Curious Case of Alaed

Not much news has been forthcoming regarding the status of Alaed since it arrived in Murmansk last month. Over the past week, however, internet chatter seemed to indicate that Moscow has found a work-around for shipping the weapons and military hardware to Syria using Russian Navy ships.

Laying out all of the internet chatter, it appears that three Northern Fleet landing ships, accompanied by Udaloy II-class destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and a few auxiliary vessels, will depart Severomorsk soon for the Mediterranean Sea and then the Black Sea for participation in the operational-strategic command-staff exercise Kavkaz-2012, which will be held in September.  The Baltic Fleet's Neustrashimyy-class frigates Neustrashimyy and Yaroslav Mudryy, as well as Uda-class oiler Lena, will rendezvous with the Northern Fleet task group  in the Atlantic Ocean as it heads for the Mediterranean Sea (and possibly to the Black Sea).

But the most interesting part of the story is how this relates to Alaed.  According to one source, one or more of the Northern Fleet landing ships will be carrying at least a portion of Alaed's "contraband" to Syria, presumably along the way to the Black Sea.  Indeed, a crewmember of one of the Northern Fleet's landing ships recently confirmed his ship would be heading to Syria soon.  If this scenario plays out as it appears, then there is very little the EU or NATO will be able to do to stop the shipment from reaching Syria.