RUSSIA & UNITED STATES – THE NEXT STEPS
AFTER GENEVA II / AL MONITOR
In this atmosphere, the recent decision by the Saudi authorities to supply Chinese-made portable anti-aircraft missiles to Syrian rebels is seen in Moscow as a game changer that will escalate the war. There is fear that the Syrian army, to avoid losses, might resort to using the Russian-made Grad rocket systems it has been holding back until now. In the beginning of the 2000s, Syria had about 300 of them. No one knows who is going to end up with these anti-aircraft missiles, but it will quite possibly be al-Qaeda type jihadis. This possibility is exactly why the United States is not willing to provide the opposition with such weapons.
Though Russia, I suppose, will continue pushing to broaden the makeup of the delegation of the opposition to make it more inclusive and representative, particularly by including Kurds and the National Coordination Committee, it will remain opposed to the idea of incorporating the Islamic Front, as some US diplomats have suggested. Reaching an understanding will be essential in this regard. Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/russia-fears-escalation-syria-conflict.html#ixzz2tfRFWWQx