Mark Greenberg
Life-long Progressive Who Got Woke

What Really Happened In Latakia?

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My blessings to all on Yom Kippur, but particularly to the family of Ari Fuld, a man whose spirit and courage puts me to shame. I have seen the video from the convenience store. He doesn’t seem mortally wounded as he chases the teenager who stabbed him in the back over tables and eventually succumbs to his wounds. And the Palestinian Authority intends to compensate his family from the infamous “martyrs’ fund” at a starting salary of $390 per month, and should Khalil Jabrin remain in an Israeli prison for several years, the payments would increase.

I thank Hashem for Taylor Force and even, believe it or not, for Senator Lindsey Graham who prohibited the use of American taxpayer funds for payments into the “martyrs’ fund”. Taylor Force is an American hero. Ari Fuld is an American and Israeli hero, and his murderer is a cowardly baby who did not have the courage to face his victim, just as all Islamists hide in schoolyards and under the skirts of globalists in the UN, anti-Israeli Progressives in the US and the ICC because they know they have no chance to gain purchase otherwise.

I wrote in a 12 February 2018 blog that despite the bizarre “deconfliction” arrangement that existed between Russia and Israel regarding attacks against Syrian and Iranian military facilities in Syria that the IDF believed threatened the homeland, there was a tacit understanding that the area around the Tartus naval facility and the Khmeimim air base in Latakia was strictly off limits. Neither the Russians nor the Israelis wanted any accidental run-ins.

Jane’s Defense Weekly reports that there are two Russian S-400 batteries deployed in Syria with one confirmed defending the air base in Latakia. The Russian propaganda replacement for Pravda, RT, reports there are now four systems based in Syria, two protecting Latakia and two protecting Tartus.

Understand: the Russians believe the S-400 may be the world’s pre-eminent anti-aircraft and anti-missile system ever developed. The standard launcher can accommodate as many as 16 missiles. It contains multifunctional radar illumination systems and guidance, launchers and associated detection and target indication systems. It has the capability of hitting targets at a height of 186 miles. It has a “fire and forget” capability, meaning that its missiles are fitted with honing devices which will lock onto a target and destroy it. The S-400 does not need to track its targets. It’s also the only missile complex in the world capable of hitting targets beyond the horizon. The system is well protected against electronic warfare and jamming.

It is easy to understand, then, why the IAF would steer clear of the Latakia and Tartus areas, given the risks associated with direct confrontation with the Russians and the almost impossible notion of conducting attacks within range of S-400 batteries.

What happened, then, on Monday, 17 September, when Israeli F-16’s attacked a munitions warehouse in Latakia tied to the Organization for Technical Weapons which the Syrians claimed was an aluminum warehouse and which resulted in the destruction of a Russian IL-20M spy plane with 15 Russians aboard?

The claim has been made that the plane was destroyed by “extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft fire” from an S-200 battery, according to Israeli authorities, but satellite imagery following the attack shows a warehouse completely leveled and the remains of an Iranian Qeshm Fars Air 747 that is a “civil aviation company” suspected of smuggling arms into Lebanon from Tehran via odd flight paths through Syria. It is suspected that Qeshm Fars Air is controlled by the IRGC and the Al-Quds Force led by Qassem Soleimani. Among the members of the Board of Directors are three IRGC representatives.

Is it likely that a perceived Israeli attack anywhere near Latakia would have been defended by Syrian soldiers manning an S-200 battery? Or is more likely that the S-400 was deployed, but because the IAF F-16’s had already returned to Israeli airspace, a horrific accident occurred and the Russian IL-20M was perhaps one of the only aircraft aloft, and the “fire and forget” missile destroyed the plane in an incident of friendly fire?

What was Vlad to do? Understanding the penchant of the Israelis to never discuss the details of any cross-border incursions, knowing that he had looked the other way on numerous occasions when Israel had attacked the Iranians without any Russian response, he had to get Netanyahu to make the uncharacteristic admission that in fact the Latakia incursion had been forced upon the Israelis because the Organization for Technical Weapons, responsible for WMD development among other things, was about to make a transfer that was intolerable and bound for Lebanon, and time was of the essence. The loss of Russian life was regrettable but was ultimately the responsibility of the Syrians and the presence of the IRGC.

Why was there some imperative from the Israelis to mention that the inaccurate fire came from an S-200 battery? That’s a very odd admission if true. The implication is that the battery was manned by Syrians, not Russians. The Russians chose not to light up the S-400, meaning they placed their own personnel at risk. That makes no sense from a military standpoint and they have permitted Qassem Soleimani to pass weaponry through that facility before. The explanation does not hold water.

Vlad got his cover for domestic purposes, Bibi kept deconfliction with Russia intact, and no one was the wiser that some way, somehow, the IAF became one of the first attack groups in the world to avoid the invincibility of the S-400. They were vulnerable to four batteries, and the only aircraft the Russians managed to destroy was a prop-driven reconnaissance plane with 15 of their own soldiers aboard.

I think Ari Fuld would have been extremely proud of his countrymen. May his memory be a blessing.

About the Author
Professionally, Mark Greenberg comes out of the world of New York Media. He was a member of the management team that started MTV. He turned down a job at ESPN to move to Austin to raise his family of four boys in a more rational atmosphere. He was also a member of the bicoastal media elite that he critiques on a regular basis.
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