08/10/2006versione stampabileprintinvia paginasend

The USA is imposing sanctions to Russian companies. “Hezbollah is receiving rocket launchers from Russia,” says Israel
The USA and Israel are taking action and have taken the offensive – for the time being only economic and through the media – against Russia, accused of arming the “scoundrel countries” of Iran and Syria and, through them, Hezbollah.
Planes and missiles going from Moscow to Tehran. Washington has imposed unilateral sanctions to two Russian military industry giants: aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi and state export agency Rosoboronexport.
The former is charged with having sold Iran Su-17, Su-24 and Su-25 bombers and interceptor fighters, and the latter with having supplied the Ayatollah’s armed forces with various weapon systems, in particular the 29 Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missles, the subject of the highly contested contract signed by Moscow and Tehran in December.
Because of the sanctions, all industrial projects the two companies have started up with American companies have been cancelled (Sukhoi with Boeing, and Rosoboronexport with General Motors).
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs has called these sanctions “unacceptable” and “illegitimate”, stressing that the military supplies do not regard “weapons of mass destruction” and violate neither the international nuclear non-proliferation treaties nor international weapons export laws.
Tor-M1Hezbollah is using new Russian rocket launchers. At the same time, the Israeli government disclosed that the Lebanese Hezbollah militiamen are using a new type of rocket launcher made in Russia that is capable of penetrating the shells of the famous Israeli ‘Merkva’ tanks.
According to Tel Aviv, the Shiite fighters are fitted out with brand-new RPG-29s coming from Syria, which in turn purchased them from Russia. Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, which reported the news, pointed out that most of the casualties suffered by Israeli forces in Lebanon were due precisely to this type of high-penetration rocket.
But according to the Israeli intelligence community, the Sa-18 ‘Igla’ man-portable surface to air rocket launchers that Moscow sold to Damascus last year have ended up in the hands of Hezbollah, which nevertheless has not used them up until now.
The Cremlin has rebuffed these charges, stating that the origin of the weapons in question can be ascertained only by knowing their serial numbers, otherwise the charges are only simple illations.
Rpg-29A direct channel between Hezbollah and Moscow. In any case, even if it were true, Russia’s responsibility for the transfer of weapons sold to Syria to Hezbollah would be, to say the least, hard to prove.
However, for some time Mossad and CIA circles have maintained that the Lebanese fighters have a direct channel with Moscow, in addition to the indirect channel through Damascus and Tehran. Emissaries of the Shiite movement residing in the Russian capital have allegedly been in touch with the Russian military secret services for years in order to get not only supplies of weaponry, but even military support and training at the Hezbollah bases in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, provided by former members of the Russian special forces. According to these accusations, Russia is allegedly supplying Syria and Iran knowing quite well that some of these weapons end up in the hands of the Lebanese fighters.
It is the opinion of many accusers of Russia that proof of Moscow’s complicity with Hezbollah lies in its decision to not include this movement in the list of terrorist groups that the Cremlin drew up at the end of July, bucking the trend of what all Western countries have done.
Enrico Piovesana