I HATE talking about American politics when there is so much incredible, serious activity happening in Israel – but that is a daily occurrence, is it not? I mean, if you people would stop dispatching rats to eat the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, I know I would feel safer. And what the hell happened at that military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, where gunmen dressed in Iranian military garb killed 29 and wounded dozens more? I couldn’t help but notice those brave IRGC soldiers cowering behind a wall as they tried to determine, Maduro-like, which one of their many enemies had chosen to target them. But the ever-blusterous Rouhani (he’s a moderate, you know) knew who to blame, promised swift retribution and I’m sure we’ll hear all about it at the UN this week.
And then there’s the deteriorating relationship between Russia and Israel over the skies of Syria. As if you couldn’t predict this inevitability. It was a somewhat embarrassing but understandable sight to see officials of the IAF “summoned” to Moscow to provide their explanation for the events of last Monday night in Latakia to the Russian Defense Ministry.
No one has disputed that a Syrian anti-aircraft battery launched a missile that destroyed a Russian IL-20 with 15 Russian regulars aboard but despite Vlad’s momentary acceptance of Bibi’s apology, it has become clear that the Defense Ministry finds this completely unacceptable. They have cast their lot with the Syrians and Iranians, and, by definition, against the Israelis, and this became abundantly clear in the aftermath of that meeting.
Out came a slick (by Russian standards) 3D rendition of the events of that night, showing the IAF F-16’s “hiding” behind the IL-20 as the S-200 attempts to identify the source of the attack. Maj. Gen Igor Konashenkov said the pilots’ actions “either lacked professionalism or were an act of criminal negligence, to say the least.” Is it likely that the leaders of one of the most accomplished combat forces in the world will allow his pilots to be characterized this way, even by the Russians with whom there is a necessity to maintain a level of peace?
The Russians (or rather the Defense Ministry) have taken the Syrians’ side, they have clearly been allowing the Iranians to act without consequence there (despite whatever lip service they have been feeding the Israelis about keeping them some distance from the border frontier – we know they have been dressing in Syrian military garb to disguise their presence. Hey, wait a minute: didn’t that just happen to them in Ahvaz? Man, karma can be such a bitch), and the Israelis have said from the outset: we want nothing to do with the Syrian Civil War. We will not touch the Russians. But. But if you countenance the construction and movement of weaponry on Syrian soil which you effectively control to Lebanon and Hizballah, we will destroy those bases, those weapons and the manner of their delivery. We will communicate with you and do everything in our power to avoid anything that leads to a confrontation between us but understand, we cannot allow Iran to encamp themselves permanently in Syria and we will destroy their facilities now. Over the next five years. Ten years. Forever.
In August 2017, it was reported that Russia had deployed an S-400 anti-aircraft battery at an Iranian facility in Hama, midway between Latakia and Tartus, the Defense Ministry’s two most important facilities in Syria. The facility was alleged to be producing “long-range guided missiles for Hezbollah”, according to Ynet News. Remember the attack on Monday night in Latakia was on an “ammunition warehouse”, far closer to Khmeimim Air Base, the essential Russian air base, but the missiles launched that night were from an S-200 battery?
Khmeimim is defended by S-400’s. Why would the Defense Ministry be defending an Iranian missile production center in Hama with an S-400 when Vlad was telling Bibi what a pain in the ass it was being saddled with having to deal with the Iranians?
I would conjecture that the missile that downed that IL-20 did not – could not – have come from an S-200 battery manned by Syrians. It was destroyed by one of the S-400 batteries manned by Russians from the Defense Ministry which are expressly deployed to protect the facilities in and around Latakia and Tartus. The inept Russian military shot down their own aircraft killing 15 of their fellows in an act of friendly fire. This is a fact that can never be revealed, and Vlad must cover it up at all costs. Why?
Because he lies like a KGB Agent? He needs the Iranians and Hizballah in Syria as sacrificial lambs to keep Assad in power because the people at home will not tolerate another Afghanistan where Russian boys are dying for some nonsensical overseas adventure.
When 500 pro-Syrian forces attacked a small American outpost in Syria in February 2018 in a 4-hour battle, 200 – 300 “pro-regime forces” were killed. But American military and intelligence officials say the majority were Russian mercenaries. Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis told senators that the Russian high command in Syria had “assured us it was not their people.” He directed Gen Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, “for the force, then, to be annihilated.”
“And it was.”
Vlad is nothing if not a realist. He could not absolve the Israelis and blame the Syrians for the deaths of real, regular Russian soldiers. He certainly could not blame the incident on accidental friendly fire.
His whole reason for jumping into the Syrian Civil War was to secure the air base at Khmeimim in Latakia and a warm water naval port at Tartus. Had Abbas fallen, so would his access to those facilities, his influence over some Middle East affairs and the eastern Mediterranean. It would have effectively ended his aspirations to return Russia to “world power” status. So, how could he possibly have accomplished this without the assistance of proxies with their own axes to grind while he minimized any casualty reports back home?
Bring in the Martyrs! Those of the 72 Virgins! Those who worship Death more than Life! Perfection, like a damned piece of ponderous Russian literature.
So, let’s not kid one another. The IAF knew exactly what the outcome of their meeting with the Defense Ministry was going to be when they made the obligatory trip to Moscow to explain their version of the events of Monday night. But they had no choice. They had to go to Moscow to get their knuckles slapped with a yardstick.
“This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that has been done by the Russian federation for Israel and for the Israeli people recently,” said Maj. Gen Igor Konashenkov. Yes, Igor, like ensuring that Assad remains in power, like killing 500,000 Syrian civilians, like using chemical weapons that you committed removing from Assad, like permanently installing Iran and the IRGC in Syria, like shipping ballistic missiles to a terrorist organization Hizballah, like violating UN Sanctions – I mean, how can we ever thank you for your benefaction?