Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Brits are going crazy again

From the BBC website this morning:
Ship 'carrying Russian attack helicopters to Syria' halted off Scotland

The UK has made moves to stop a cargo vessel allegedly carrying refurbished Russian-made attack helicopters from completing its journey to Syria. The MV Alaed had its insurance withdrawn by The Standard Club in London while it was about 50 miles (80.4km) off Scotland's north coast.  The insurer said it had sought more information on the boat's cargo.  Withdrawal of insurance prevents the MV Alaed from sailing until its owner can secure new cover.  It is thought that the vessel has stopped off the Western Isles.  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was unclear where the vessel would now go.  The Russian embassy in London has not yet commented.  The UK and US have raised concerns with Russia about shipments of weapons to Syria, which is subject to a European Union arms embargo.  In a statement, the FCO said: "We are aware of a ship carrying a consignment of refurbished Russian-made attack helicopters heading to Syria.  "The foreign secretary made clear to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov when they met on 14 June that all defence shipments to Syria must stop.
It sure looks like the USA's "poodle" is fancying itself as a fierce Rottweiler who will courageously protect the world from the Russian bear.  And you got the admire the macho language of the foreign secretary who "made it clear" to Lavrov that "all defense shipments to Syria must stop".

The fact that the British poodle is growling only because it has Uncle Sam to protect him from the Russian bear is apparently lost on the BBC.  As is the fact that no UNSC resolutions have banned the fulfillment of military maintenance contracts with Syria.

As for the Russians, they need to make sure that the Standard Club in London pays for its subservience to political interests and insure its ships elsewhere.  The Russian commercial fleet is very big, and by taking its business elsewhere it can probably hurt the SC where it counts: is pocket.

For the Brits and their traditional Russophobic hysteria all this is God sent: it's an opportunity to brown-nose its US patron and a way to put itself back on the map of big politics, or so they hope.  The real, meaningful bargaining and horse-trading over Syria did, of course, happen during yesterday's meeting between Obama and Putin.  The Brits were not invited.

The Saker

PS: also check out this piece on Mikhail Voytenko's excellent Maritime Bulletin.