00:04 GMT13 August 2020
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    Russia needs a military base in the Syrian port city of Tartus to protect its national interests, to neutralize threats, to improve its standing in the Middle East, to enhance its defense and foreign policies, as well as to provide technical and logistical assistance to the Russian naval forces deployed to the Mediterranean, experts have said.

    "If Russia wants to once again play a major role in the international area, it needs this base, primarily to protect its interests," George Messi, the head of the International Relations department at the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut, Lebanon, told RIA Novosti. "The United States has established bases all over the world. Why can't Russia have a base at least in the Middle East?"

    Editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko echoed these sentiments, describing Russia's decision to establish a full-scale base in Tartus as a "power move." First and foremost, the base will help to protect Russia's national interests and improve the country's geopolitical standing in the Middle East, he told Radio Sputnik.   

    The Russiaт defense analyst also said that the base in Tartus will provide a "reliable support area" to the Russian naval forces deployed to the area. "A full-scale base will help to improve logistical and technical support for our naval assets," he explained

    Along with the Hmeymim airbase, the base in Tartus "will enhance Russia's foreign and defense policies," Korotchenko said, adding that they will also help to "neutralize any threats."

    "If our new combat surface ships and submarines outfitted with Kalibr cruise missiles are based in Tartus, this will allow Moscow to keep situation in the Middle East and the Mediterranean under control," he suggested, adding that this is particularly important taking into account NATO's increased assertiveness.

    George Messi observed that Washington will not be happy with these developments. The base, he said, will further complicate relations between Moscow and Washington regardless of who wins the upcoming presidential election in the US.

    The next US administration will try to weaken Russia in the Middle East and beyond, Messi noted.

    "Americans have to understand that it's not the 1990s. Russia is much stronger now," he said. "The West, particularly the US, has to accept that Moscow has created a new military and political reality."

    Messi singled out one reason why policymakers in the US are wary about the Russian base in Tartus. Apparently its proximity to the Incirlik airbase in Turkey, home to the US Air Force's 39th Air Base Wing (39 ABW) and other NATO forces, could be an issue.

    "The United States is against the Russian base in Tartus. Firstly, it is located close to Incirlik. In military and strategic terms, this base is extremely dangerous for the US and Israel. It was an unpleasant surprise from Moscow. In addition, the S-300 systems already deployed to Syria are extremely dangerous to the US. I think Americans will think long and hard before doing anything," he said.


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    defense policy, Russian military base, foreign policy, military base, naval base, geopolitics, Syria, Russia, Middle East, Tartus
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