Hours after NATO agreed on Tuesday to send Patriot missiles to Turkey because of the crisis in Syria, Russia delivered its first shipment of Iskander missiles to Syria.
The superior Iskander can travel at hypersonic speed of over 1.3 miles per second (Mach 6-7) and has a range of over 280 miles with pinpoint accuracy of destroying targets with its 1,500-pound warhead, a nightmare for any missile defense system.
According to Mashregh, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard media outlet, Russia had warned Turkey not to escalate the situation, but with Turkey's request for Patriot missiles, it delivered its first shipment of Iskanders to Syria.
Reporting today, Mashregh said the handover occurred when Russian naval logistic vessels docked at Tartus in Syria.
The Iskandar is a surface-to-surface missile that no missile defense system can trace or destroy, Mashregh said. Russia had earlier threatened that should America put its missile defense system in Poland, it would retaliate by placing its Iskander missiles at Kaliningrad, its Baltic Sea port.
Russia's delivery of Iskanders to Bashar Assad's embattled regime clearly shows that the security and stability of Syria remains Russia's red line, Mashregh said. It is unknown how many of these missiles have been delivered but the numbers given are sufficient to destroy any Patriot missiles in Turkey, it said.
The delivery of the missile not only threatens the security of Turkey but also Israel, which would have to recalculate its strategy with its defensive and offensive capabilities.
As reported in a WND exclusive on Dec. 5, Iran's Islamic regime also sees the toppling of the Assad regime as its red line and has 170 ballistic missiles targeting Tel Aviv in underground missile silos, some with biological warheads.
In August, a commentary in Mashregh, representing the regime's views, warned America and Israel that further instability in Syria would spark a pre-emptive attack on Israel in which the use of weapons of mass destruction – biological, chemical and even nuclear bombs – won't be off the table. It stated that certain groups (proxies, such as Hezbollah) have been armed with WMDs and that Israel will be their target.
The Mashregh commentary charged that Israel is one of the conspirators behind the Syrian crisis in order to strategically change the geopolitics of the region and defeat one of the main players in the Islamic world's "resistance front" (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah). It warned Israel that with the direction it has chosen, "There is a dead end, and the threat of mass killing awaits."
The Islamic regime in Iran for its part continues to ship arms to Syria via Iraq both by air and ground while its Quds Forces help the Assad regime in killing its own people. To date, over 40,000 people, including many women and children, have died since the Syrian uprising began in March of 2011.
Reports indicate that Assad has decided to use chemical weapons on his own people as a last attempt to save his rule. Speaking in Prague on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Syria that the use of chemical weapons would be a red line, indicating that America would retaliate.
Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered the Guards and its Quds Forces to use all of their capabilities to protect Assad and has threatened war against those helping the rebels in Syria, primarily Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to a source who had served in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit but who has since defected.
The source added that the recent Gaza conflict was a warning to America and Israel that the Islamic regime in Iran can destabilize the region further should the push in Syria continue to topple Assad. The region will witness terrorist attacks, assassinations and incitement for uprisings in countries allied with America as the situation in Syria further deteriorates, the regime has promised, according to the source.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran's Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book "A Time to Betray" (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).