In comments angrily condemning Russia for its announced sale of the P-800 cruise missiles to Syria, Israeli officials are suggesting that they intend to sell weapons to Russia’s enemies, if for no other reason than to spite them.
The P-800 Yakhont, which Russia had previously sold to Vietnam and Indonesia, is an anti-ship cruise missile. Israel had fought against the sale on the grounds it would be “very problematic” for Syria to have such missiles.
Israel’s ability to actually follow through with revenge arms sales seems unclear, however, as Russia doesn’t really have a lot of enemies with which it is liable to go to war with at any given time. The only obvious candidate would be Georgia, but both Israel and the US had been arming Georgia for years, and it doesn’t seem like it is even theoretically possible for the two to arm the tiny nation enough that it poses a threat to Russia itself.
Still the threat posed by the P-800 seems relatively small too, except that it would make an Israeli invasion of Syria considerably less convenient, putting Israeli warships at risk along the coast. This seems to have been the same argument Israel made against Russia selling the S-300 defense missiles to Iran, which they managed to get blocked.
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