Russia's Sapphire Missiles Bother Israel's Nerves

Russia's announcement to sell anti-ship missiles to Syria have caused "some concern" in the US and Israel. The arms deal is worth at least $300 million, and with this purchase Syria obtains two missile systems: the anti-ship ASM Yakhont, which, according to Russia, is purely defensive, since it is designed to reflect possible aggression from the sea. Nevertheless, both US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Israeli counterpart Uhud Barak said it might "destabilize" the entire region, warning Russia about arms trade with countries with which Washington has "no understanding". According to Gates: "Though Russia has the right to sell weapons to other countries, Gates hopes that the Russian side takes into account the strategic implications of this transaction. On September 19, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netenyahu voiced his concerns about the deal - according to him, Russia's intention to supply Syria with weapons "that can change the strategic situation in the Middle East is not conducive to stability and peace." The AMS X-61 Yakhont is intended to counter enemy fire and electronic countermeasures. Its combat radius is 300 km, which allows it to effectively defeat an enemy at great distances and minimizes the possible chance of it's own losses.

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