After more than a year of popular uprising the economic situation of the Assad regime is just getting worse, but for one thing Assad still has money – weapons, and in great quantities. Russia sells Syria weapons for cash only, and Syria it seems is prepared even to go bankrupt provided the funds it allocates maintains Russian support for the survival of Assad’s regime.
At the end of the year the foreign currency reserve in President Bashar Assad’s tyrannical regime will reach only $4 billion, as compared to $13 or $14 billion in normal years. Nevertheless, Syria continues to purchase weapons from Russia for astronomical sums, and only recently it was revealed that another Russian weapons ship is about to reach the Syrian port of Latakia.
The Russians also sell the Syrians missiles of various kinds – including the advanced missiles. Yet the weapons Syria purchases from Russia are designated for standard warfare. They are of no use in the internal struggle ongoing now inside Syria.
The weapons deals between the two countries were mainly closed before the popular uprisings broke out in Syria, and despite the difficult economic condition of Assad’s regime he is not withdrawing from them. The Russians are trying through these arms deals to maintain their power among the Syrian elite.
Meanwhile, Assad is trying to buy time with the weapons: so long as Russia is opposed to his downfall, it will be hard for the West to do that.
According to sources in the US, Russia also stands behind Annan’s plan to achieve a settlement in Syria. Russia will do anything to extend Assad’s regime. Moscow, they say, has an interest in remaining involved inside Syria also after the regime falls. Hence, the Russians are doing everything – including selling weapons – to establish circles of power on Syrian soil also for the day after Assad’s disappearance.