First it was Iran, Venezuela and now Syria. Who’s next?
MARCH 6, 2009 – Belarus continues to align itself with a number of anti-western, antisemitic countries that include Iran, Venezuela and Syria. In January of this year, we reported our concern on the cementing of political and economic ties between Iran and Belarus. “Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Minsk in May 07, the two countries [have] reportedly cemented plans for a strategic partnership and trade has dramatically increased between them.”
As one member of the country’s 55,000 Jewish community said at that time, “…things have changed dramatically since Belarus and Iran became [strategic] partners.”
On December 18, 2008, we also reported that:
US government officials say Moscow is selling Tehran the sophisticated SA-20 strategic-range air defense system through Belarus. In an article published by the Aviation Week, US officials speaking on conditions of anonymity claimed that Moscow is using Belarus as a route for selling the highly advanced air defense systems to Iran so that it can deny ‘direct involvement’ in the affairs.
And on November 26 2008 we brought attention to the fact that Belarus had co-sponsored the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) anti-blasphemy resolution at the UN, as well as mentioned a number of weeks later that Iran and Belarus had opened a joint bank, Torgovy Kapital (TK Bank) in Belarus.
This week it was Syria’s turn to pay homage to Belarus with a visit to Belarus headed by no less that the Syrian Defence Minister, Lieutenant General Hassan Ali Turkmani.
“Syria is Belarus’ traditional key partner in trade, economic, political and other areas in the Middle East. Belarus values highly friendly relations with Syria which have been strengthening and expanding from year to year. Time has shown that these relations are stable and very important for both the countries,” Belarusian Defence Minister Leanid Maltsau was quoted as saying on the Belarusian web site Chapter 97.
Chapter 97 reported:
Belarus is interested in joint efforts to develop equal and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in all areas including military and technical one. “I am sure that there are big prospects for the development of Belarus-Syria relations. Filling bilateral cooperation with real content meets the interests of the two countries,” the Belarusian minister said.
According to the Syrian Defence Minister, the two countries have been actively developing friendly relations and have similar positions on the key international problems. “I believe that the visit will help the two countries develop the cooperation in the military area. During the visit we will be able to identify new avenues of cooperation,” he said.
The Syrian Defence Minister thanked the Belarusian side for the invitation to visit Belarus. It is his first visit to this country. “We are ready to continue negotiations and we would like to get familiar with the opportunities of Belarusian defence companies,” Hassan Ali Turkmani added.
“The international situation and some political aspects suggest that the cooperation between the two counties should be activated. I am convinced that the both states have such a desire,” the Syrian Defence Minister stated.
In March 2008, The Washington Times noted: Belarus, during 2001 alone, secretly sold $500 million in arms to Syria and its terrorist faction, the Hezbollah that used the deadly Katyusha rockets against Israel.
With the Belarus economy dependent on heavy discounts in oil and natural gas prices from Russia and the IMF, approving this past January, an emergency loan to Belarus of about US$2.46 billion- the country’s inflation currently stands at 16 percent- we can’t help to wonder how long it will be before the next despot is welcomed in Minsk.