The Iranian and Syrian defense ministers spoke long and passionately about the dangers to their countries posed by American and Israeli policies when they signed a series of defense accords in Tehran Thursday, June 15.
However the Iranian minister Mostafa Najjar and his Syrian counterpart, Hassan Turkmani, uttered not a single word to the assembled correspondents about the contents of those accords or the extraordinarily intimate military collaboration developed between Tehran and Damascus.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military and intelligence sources expose those contents here for the first time:
1. Iran and Syria will establish a Supreme Defense Commission, a sort of joint super-general staff. Since Syrian generals can hardly be put in command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards units, the purpose of this accord is to regularize the de facto set-up at Syrian high staff: Several hundred Iranian officers go to work every day in the various staff departments of the Syrian air force, armored corps and intelligence services. The Iranian officers sit in on operational meetings of the top Syrian brass and are employed in operating Syrian early warning and eavesdropping electronic centers.
2. Tehran and Damascus agree that their air forces and navies will hold their first joint maneuvers. They will take place at the end of summer 2006 in Syria and its Mediterranean waters. To avoid attracting the attention of Western and Israeli military watchers, the maneuver will consist of a search-and-rescue exercise at sea. This will be followed in the fall by joint Iranian-Syrian exercises in different parts of Syria. For the first time, Iranian naval units will operate out of Syrian marine bases on the Mediterranean coast. It will also be the first time for Iranian RG contingents to camp in Syria.
An Intimacy forged by state-of the-art weapons and combat techniques
3. The two signatories will share intelligence.
4. Their anti-air alert and defense commands will be integrated and operate as a single system. This accord affords Tehran its first forward early warning and intelligence resource against American air or missile attack from the eastern Mediterranean or from Israel.
5. Tehran will send missile and artillery instructors to Syria to train Syrian units in the use of Iranian weaponry and combat techniques.
6. Syrian officer cadets will attend Iranian military academies before taking up active service.
7. A special department for Syrian officers will be established at the central military academic in Tehran. Classes will be held in Arabic. This is the first time Iranians have agreed to forego the use of their cherished Farsi which is mandatory in all parts of the military establishment – and only for the sake of a military partnership with an ally.
8. The assembly lines of the subterranean facility turning out Scud missiles in the northern Syrian town of Homs will be doubled in size. Tehran has guaranteed funding for the expansion, as well as new equipment, technology, engineers and technicians. The added production lines will assemble advanced medium-range Scud D missiles, as well as diverse types of Iranian short-range missiles and rockets, including the multiple launch rocket, MLR.
10. A new factory will go up in Syria for manufacturing Iranian armored cars.
11. Two more factories will assemble Iranian vehicles – one for military trucks and pickups and one for civilian cars.
The deals between the two governments on the assembly plants for missiles, military vehicles and civilian cars will make Iranian firms senior partners in Syria’s military industries, while enabling those industries to branch out into production for the civilian market.
Russia‘s finger stirs the Syrian-Iranian pie
Alongside Iran’s massive incursion into Syria, Russia is revealed by DEBKA-Net–Weekly’s military sources as having targeted another strategic Syrian resource, its naval bases at Latakia and Tartus. They report 600 Russian naval officers, engineers and technicians busy at work on transforming the two bases, which the Soviet Union made good use of in the 1960s and 1970s, into thoroughly up-to-date installations capable of accommodating submarines.
Russian ships have begun making brief calls at Latakia and Tartus now being converted to serve the Russian fleet as its permanent Mediterranean bases.
In March, Latakia was visited by a task force led by two first-line Russian vessels, the missile cruiser Moskva and the destroyer Azov.
Russia is therefore emerging as both the main supplier of air defense systems for Iran, including the state of the art Tor-M1 cruise missile, and also Syria’s foremost source of up-to-the-minute surface missiles, such as the Iskander SS-26 and the mobile ground-to-air Igla-S.
Consequently, a powerful Iranian-Syrian-Russian military axis is evolving on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea under the noses of America and Israel.
Washington’s hands for combating this dangerous alliance are tied by its secret dialogue with Tehran on a deal to inhibit Iran’s progress towards attaining a nuclear bomb. The Americans are therefore turning a blind eye.
Israel is preoccupied with its faltering war on Palestinian terror. Therefore, since late 2004, its leaders have shown little interest in the region and are barely keeping up with events.