Russia has delivered anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria, the Interfax news agency cited an unnamed military source as saying on Thursday, days after a United Nations commission of inquiry called for an arms embargo on Damascus.
Moscow has spoken out against further sanctions imposed by Western and Arab League states, and it has defended its right to sell Syria weapons -- tens of millions of dollars worth last year.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in February that Moscow was pressing ahead with the deal despite Israeli concerns, indicating the missiles might have been delivered earlier this year.
Earlier this week, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported that Russia planned to send its aircraft carrier and other ships to Syria.
Barak: No Iran Strike - Yet
"We have no intention of acting for the moment... We should not engage in war when it is not necessary, but there may come a time or another when we are forced to face tests," Barak said.
"Our position has not changed on three points: a nuclear Iran is unacceptable, we are determined to stop that, and all options are on the table," he added.
Barak said he was confident that military action against Iran would not be devastating for Israel. His comments came just one day after former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned striking Iran would have catastrophic consequences for Israel's home front.
Barak stressed Israel would do what was necessary to protect itself.
"It must be understood that Israel is sovereign. The government, the army and the security services are the only ones responsible for the security and the existence of Israel," he said
Are The West And Iran Headed For War?
EU officials are also said to be considering an oil embargo on Iran, preventing the shipping of Iranian oil to the West. The idea has been slowly gaining support since the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's drive for nuclear weapons.
Now, the occupation and sacking of the British embassy has pushed the idea to the forefront of the EU's agenda.
Analysts say the move could be the first step towards open military confrontation between Tehran and the West. Were Tehran to view strong sanctions on its critical oil exports as an "act of war," which is how some Iranian officials are already defining such a move, it could lead to a dramatic escalation.
And below we see the scenario that many have predicted:
Should that happen Tehran might seek to drive up oil prices in retaliation by moving to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's oil supplies flows into the global market. Such an eventuality, analysts say, is something Iranian military planners have long-been preparing for.
If so, the West and its Gulf Arab allies will find themselves forced to open the Straits of Hormuz up by force – which could spread into a broader war in the Gulf region.
Muslim Brotherhood Takes Elections By Storm
Judges overseeing the vote count in Egypt's parliamentary elections say Islamist parties have won a majority of the contested seats in the first round. The judges spoke on condition of anonymity because official results are expected to be released later Thursday.
The liberal Egyptian bloc coalition and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party are competing for second place.
Together, Islamist parties are expected to control a majority of parliamentary seats by March. This week's vote was the first of six stages of parliamentary elections that will last until then.
Continued success by Islamists will allow them to give Cairo's government and constitution a decidedly Islamist character. It could also lead Cairo to shift away from the West towards the Iranian axis.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which birthed the virulently anti-Israel Hamas terror militia, might also seek to effectively annex Gaza. Should Hamas be triumphant in future PA elections, they would also gain a foothold in Judea and Samaria.
It's all lining up exactly as we would expect.