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Going against promises made to both Israel and the United States, Russia will go ahead with a contract to deliver the world’s most advanced surface missile to Syria, with the first deliveries expected in early 2006.
The U.S. and NATO have code-named Russia’s Iskander SS-26 “Stone.” They have nothing that matches its capabilities and little to defend against it. The system easily overcomes air defenses, and is so fast and flexible that current electronic weapons systems cannot prevent the Iskander (“Alexander the Great” in the Turkoman language) from launching. The U.S. considers that this weapon can, even in limited numbers, radically change the strategic balance in a region.
Some feel that (in wake of the Hariri assassination) Syria’s current regime is on the verge of collapse, and that this procurement is an attempt to delay it.