Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin meeting at the Kremlin in 2006. (Photo: Reuters)
Russian Realpolitik: Inside the Arms Trade with Syria
Simon Shuster of TIME takes a look at Putin’s weapons industry, which has been supplying Damascus with weapons as it seeks to quell the revolt against the Syrian regime.
Welcome to Russia’s premier weapons expo, the deceptively titled Forum of Technologies in Machine Building, a military smorgasbord for the dictators of the world that Russian President Vladimir Putin opened in 2010. Delegations from Iran, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Pakistan and Uganda, among many others, came to the fair last week, but the Syrian presence was the most controversial. Since the 1950s, when it first became a client state of the Soviet Union, Syria has purchased almost all of its weapons from Russia, making it a cherished customer. Over the past 16 months, Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have used these weapons to brutally crush a homegrown rebellion, with the death toll now estimated at 14,000, including thousands of women and children. The rest of the Arab world has joined with the West in condemning these massacres, but that has not stopped the flow of Russian arms. Indeed, the Kremlin seems willing to jeopardize its relations with Europe and the U.S. in order to defend Assad and continue to sell him weapons.
Israel and Protecting Refugees
Writing in Algemeiner, Arthur Lenk defends Israel’s much-criticized policy on refugees.
Today, Israel, a small state of just over seven million in one of the most sensitive regions in the world, continues to uphold its obligations both in accordance with international law and Israeli legislation. Not one individual has been deported so that he or she could be seen to have a well founded of persecution. Instead, Israel, in close cooperation with the UN, has been developing a process for reviewing individual cases and offers protection when needed.
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