Russia offered ten MiG-29 fighter jets to Lebanon to find out whether the US influence in the region was considerable or not, the US media believe. It will be a box in the ear for America, whereas Lebanon’s Air Force will have an opportunity to seriously renew its Air Force, The New York Times wrote. Many in the United states are certain that Moscow prepares to test the determination of new President Barack Obama, who has been recently named Person of the Year 2008 according to Time magazine.
The news about Russia’s valuable gift to Lebanon – ten MiG fighter jets – appeared during the defense minister’s visit to Moscow. The USA is the basic partner of Lebanon in the defense field, the newspaper wrote, but the US plans to modernize the army and the Air Force of the Mideastern country are being realized slowly, whereas Russia takes the above-mentioned and other steps for its self-affirmation in the Mediterranean region.
The contract to deliver the Russian fighter jets needs to be approved by the Lebanese government. In addition, Lebanon will have to discuss the issue with its allies, a spokesperson for the Lebanese military, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
Russia ’s offer to Lebanon has apparently stunned the US administration. The United States undertook to increase its military help to Lebanon in 2005, after the pullout of the Syrian troops. The assistance aims to stabilize the situation in the country and create a legal alternative to Hezbollah. The Pentagon offered Cessna Caravan aircraft to Lebanon, but the jets lag far behind Russia’s MiG-29 in terms of their technical and military performance.
MiG-29 will be delivered to Lebanon at the expense of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the director of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Mikhail Dmitriyev said. “The military assistance stipulates the assistance for the budgetary funds,” the official specified. It just so happens that it is Russian taxpayers who will make such a valuable gift to Lebanon.
It is worthy of note that Russia has begun the shipments of S-300 missile complexes to Iran, news agencies said. The Islamic Republic intends to use the systems to defend its nuclear objects - Washington warned of possible pinpoint strikes on the Iranian nuclear centers.
Acting Under Secretary of State John Rood stated that Russia most likely wanted to test the mettle of the new administration and the new president. The diplomat made a conclusion regarding Russia’s stance as a result of the impressions, which he had obtained during the talks in the Russian capital on Monday.
The Russians, Rood believes, are waiting for an opportunity to propagate their position on missile defense after they estimate Obama’s administration. As for Russia’s stance on the deployment of the elements of the US missile defense in the Czech Republic and Poland, Rood said that Moscow made a pause expecting a new approach to the national security in Washington.
In the meantime, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was hoping for constructive cooperation with the USA in terms of the issues to observe the restriction of strategic offensive arms. START-1 Treaty expires in December 2009. Russia’s Foreign Ministry promised that the country would not succumb to the bellicose rhetoric and would not come into a confrontation with the USA. At the same time, the ministry acknowledged that there was a credibility crisis between the two nations.
The USA acknowledges the crisis in relations with Russia too. Forbes magazine wrote Wednesday that Russia was posing a direct threat to the US interests, and that the confrontation risk was higher than ever before. US politicians and experts fear that Obama may not cope with a goal to tame Russia.
Russia made a decision to cut the volume of its oil extraction, Russian warships visited Cuba, and Russia refused to cease oil-fuel shipments to North Korea. All these actions, the magazine wrote, testify to Moscow’s intention to undermine US interests all over the world.
Like it has always happened before, the United States wants to cooperate with Russia on its own conditions only. Russia’s interests are not relevant at this point. What a shocker.