Editor's Note: How many of you remember the Oslo idiots telling you that after the fall of the Soviet Union, Israel didn't need to worry about Russian arms in the Middle East?


By Daniel Sobelman [Ha'aretz -- January 29.1999]

The Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass, will head a military delegation to Moscow in the coming days to discuss weapon deals with Russia. According to the Russian news agency Interfax, the two sides will discuss $2 billion worth of military equipment, including modern fighter aircraft and S­300 air defense systems. The Syrian delegation is scheduled to stay in Moscow for 10 days.

The renewed strengthening of military relations between Syria and Russia began about two years ago. Some 90 percent of Syria's arsenal is based on Soviet equipment, and much of this is in need of updating and refurbishment. The Russian Defense Minister, Igor Sergeyev, visited Damascus about two months ago, the first such visit since the break­up of the Soviet Union. After this visit, it was reported that the two countries had agreed on settling Syria's debt to Russia, estimated at $12 billion.

Russian sources say that Syria is interested in purchasing T­80 tanks. The Syrian Army has about 4,000 tanks, but most of them are very outdated.

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