Barack Obama: The best friend the West’s enemies ever had.
In what’s being seen as both a military game changer as well as a Russian thumb poked directly in Barack Obama‘s eye, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has authorized the sale of an unknown number of batteries of one of the most advanced surface-to-air missile systems (SAMS) on the planet. As reported by the Agence France-Presse (via The Times of Israel) and also by The Daily Beast, both on April 13, 2015, the Russian weapons shipment not only has military leaders in Jerusalem burning the midnight oil, their American counterparts in the Pentagon as plenty worried are well.
As The Daily Beast’s reporter Dave Majumdar bitingly points out, “For years, Team Obama crowed about keeping this advanced Russian missile out of Iran’s hands. Now the Kremlin suddenly seems eager to hand it over to Tehran.” The Russian missile in question would be the Almaz-Antei S-300PMU-1, widely referred to as simply the S-300. But it’s better known in NATO military circles by the code name the SA-20 Gargoyle.
With Iranian air defense forces widely seen as weak, speculation has been high that if and when Teheran’s Ayatollahs find themselves on the cusp of developing a nuclear device, the Israelis would surely strike. However, the word on the street is that not only would the technologically advanced SA-20s be a match for Israel’s vaunted Air Force, but America’s rather small fleet of stealth bombers just might not be all that stealthy when it comes to facing the Gargoyle.
Who Majumdar described only as a senior defense official with experience on multiple stealth aircraft types, the anonymous source said of the Russian missiles, “This would be a huge deal depending on where they [the SA-20s] are based…The Persian Gulf would be an interesting place to fly. These new [SAMS] change the whole complexion…It’s a big move.”
In many military and diplomatic circles, Putin has been viewed as single-handedly attempting to bring back the glory days of the failed Soviet Union. And the former KGB Lieutenant Colonel may be closer than many in the West realize. Besides the Russian-sanctioned and supported invasion and seizure of the Crimea and much of Eastern Ukraine, the Russians have also been flexing their military muscle from the Baltic to the Middle East.
Many of Obama’s political foes have often and loudly derided the former community organizer’s ability and strength of will when it comes to standing strong to Putin expanding the latest version of the Russian Empire. As noted by the right side of the aisle, in early 2012 Obama was caught on an open microphone telling outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that if given “space,” he’ll have “more flexibility after my election.” Medvedev assured Obama that the “information would be transmitted to Vladimir.”