Russian naval bases in the Mediterranean “a matter of time”

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last October, when Libyan head of state Muammar al-Gaddafi visited Moscow, observers speculated that the possibility of a Russian naval base in Libya would be high among the subjects for discussion. Now the ITAR-TASS news agency has quoted an “unidentified” Russian military official as saying that the establishment of Russian naval bases in Libya, Syria, and possibly Yemen, is a matter of time. The official suggested that “[t]he political decision [to lease the bases] has been taken” and “this will be done without question”. Responding to a request for comment by The Moscow Times, Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, simply confirmed that Moscow is conducting negotiations “with foreign governments”. From 1971 until 1991, a Soviet naval base was in operation in the Syrian port of Tartus, allowing the Soviets to maintain a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean. Russian interest in reviving the base agreement first emerged in 2007, at which time the Kremlin condemned the speculation as baseless. Last September, however, it was reported that several Russian warships had docked in Tartus “to the apparent surprise of the Israeli military” intelligence. Two months later, Russian warships docked in the Venezuelan port of La Guaira, marking the first such occurrence since the end of the Cold War.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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