A possible naval showdown: U.S. 6th Fleet vs. Russian Med Task Force
Power body language: Putin has the upper hand…
With the possibility of chemical weapons being used in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the Obama Administration has upped the ante by ordering a fourth ballistic missile armed warship into the Eastern Mediterranean area, as reported by both the news portal IsraelHayom.com and the Associated Press via ABC News on Aug. 25, 2013.
The USS Mahan has joined her sister ships, the USS Gravely, the USS Barry and the USS Rampage, in the waters off Syria if Barack Obama orders a cruise missile strike against presumably the forces of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad due to accusations by Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda-allied rebels against al-Assad of allegedly using chemical weapons against 1,000 Syrian civilians.
For his part, Assad denies the accusations and blames the rebel forces of fabricating the claim in hopes of garnering Western military support.
To date, there has been no independent or objective verification if any chemical attack by either side has been launched and/or civilians have been killed or wounded.
The End Of U.S. Sovereignty?
Obama hedged his bets on direct deadly force against Assad when he stated last Friday that the United States of America can only act if given permission by the United Nations:
If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it — do we have the coalition to make it work?
Those are considerations that we have to take into account.
The Strange Relationship Between Barack Obama And Vladimir Putin…
The diplomatic workings between the two world leaders have been tenuous at best.
It’s widely believed in diplomatic circles that it couldn’t have been lost on the American leader that Assad’s greatest ally on the world stage and greatest supplier of military equipment has been Putin’s Russia.
Russian Build Up Greatest In Decades…
On May 16, 2013, the Russian news portal Russia Today reported that Moscow is establishing a permanent and powerful naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean for the first time since the days of the Soviet Union.
The group includes destroyer the RFS (Russian Federation Ship) Admiral Panteleyev, two amphibious warfare ships the RFS Peresvet and the RFS Admiral Nevelskoi, complete with approximately 2,000 Russian Marines, as well as a oil tanker and an ocean going tug.
Slated to join the Russian Mediterranean Squadron include an anti-submarine destroyer, a frigate and a yet a third amphibious assault ship.
The Russians have also made it clear they “possibly” may add both diesel and nuclear submarines to it’s growing naval presence in the area.
For decades the sole Russian naval installation was the maintenance facility in the Syrian city of Tartus, which has since been quickly evacuated and all but shut-down.
But there has been increasing movement with the Russian Navy opening up shop in the Cyprus port city of Limassol as well as possibly headquartering a forward deployed air power component at the Cypriot Air Force base at the Andreas Papandreou Air Base at Paphos.