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Putin realizes the dream of kings

Putin realizes the dream of kings

11.01.2018
Tags: Fleet, Politics, Ships, Putin, Mediterranean, Navy, Analytics, Russia, Military bases, Syria, Middle East, West

A new Mediterranean power appears, which will have to be reckoned with. Vladimir Putin fulfilled the dream of the kings, having achieved a permanent presence in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. He acts by active methods, and his diplomacy is based on arms sales, agreements on combating terrorism, mediating negotiations and selling energy. The new "tsar" of Russia moves pawns with a cynical, rational and tactical calculation. He receives dividends from the activity at 360 degrees. He freely feels among the various actors, has mastery of the balancer, seeking peace in the Shiite war and rejected in Iran with the help of petitions from other ethnic and confessional groups. In the Syrian tragedy, Putin from the outset took an opportunistic stance, whose goal was to preserve its interests, among which the growing base in Tartus and the new base in Khmeimim. These are the first details of the mosaic at the time of its active development, here Russia is building its plans for power. This became clear a few years ago, when from nowhere emerged the operational group for the Mediterranean basin, 1 June 2013. Since its inception, the Mediterranean team has witnessed the whole series of wonders of the Russian navy. This collection of vessels was to send a signal to the West in the basin, where Russia again began to play its party, catching the United States and NATO by surprise. In a recent conversation with the press, commander Yasnitsky softened the tone, recalling that the maritime group in the Mediterranean has only 20 ships in comparison with the 70-y that the USSR had. We will see.

In the past four years, the Russians have placed in the region all classes of their major combat units as a sign of greatness, overcoming the shortcomings of the old fleet. The revival of the Mediterranean fleet does not well hide the expansionist goals of Russia. At the moment, Moscow rented for 49 years a Syrian base in Tartus, which forms an air-sea conglomerate with a base of Khmeimim, located at 50 km to the north. It will become an espionage point for military intelligence, after expansion, 11 ships with a large displacement capacity can stand at the same time. One or two attacking submarines will steadily cruise in the waters of the Mediterranean.

Probably, the Russians came to an agreement with the Turks just in order to obtain freedom of action in the zone of straits. In exchange, they are ready to sacrifice relations with the Kurds and deepen military-technical cooperation, not forgetting about the energy factor: the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the large Akkuy nuclear power plant have already begun. These projects will closely link Moscow with Ankara, increasing Turkey's energy (and technology) dependence on Russia. When the work on the Akkuy nuclear power plant in the southeast of Turkey is completed, it will be able to provide 35 billion kWh per year, which according to rough calculations corresponds to 10% of the demand for electricity in Ankara. The plant will be built by Rosatom under the Build-Own-Operate model. In practice, the Russian nuclear giant will own and operate the nuclear power plant, reselling the energy of the Turkish energy company Teias.

But back to Tartus, its strategic advantage is that it is located between the vital points of the Straits zone and the Suez Canal. This base will allow the Russian navy to strengthen its presence to the Indian Ocean, playing with diplomatic muscles in the richest region. After Moscow wrote off three-quarters of the Syrian debt, Bashar Assad probably guaranteed the future deployment of Russian ships armed with nuclear warheads in Syria. But that is not all. Moscow is building plans far beyond the east of the Mediterranean.

In the Maghreb she had already revealed her cards, reveling in the fruits of a frenzied and inconspicuous activity. It is a fruitful time in relations with Egypt. The historical window for the USSR in Africa has regained its strategic importance. Russia increased the number of contracts for armament and became the first supplier of integrated weapons systems in the country. To the great discontent of Saudi Arabia, the Egyptians always vote in unison with Russia in the UN Security Council, at least as far as the Syrian dossier is concerned.

Such a revolution of alliances, completely unexpected until October of the year 2016, is a sign of the success of the Kremlin diplomacy. Putin's diplomacy seeks to get marinas for ships and airfields for planes, primarily on Sidi Barrani on the Mediterranean coast, where Russian contractors have been seen many times. Not content with this, the Kremlin wants to secure a foothold in Libya, in Tobruk, to break the Mediterranean balance and get reliable shelter to the west of Syrian bases and Egyptian marinas. It is no coincidence that he openly supports Marshal Khalifa Haftor, who, according to some sources, promised weapons worth more than $ 1.5 billion, including aircraft, armored personnel carriers, air defense systems and so on.

Francesco Palmas, Avvenire, Italy
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