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Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

TOM LUONGO | 19.09.2018

There is one thing that Israel fears more than anything else in Syria. The loss of its ability to fly its F-16’s with impunity and hit whatever targets it wants claiming defensive measures to stop Iran, their existential enemy.

Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 such missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made any kind of international media, recently.

And with the sneak attack on Latakia which involved using a Russian IL-20 ELINT war plane as radar cover Israel has now not only raised the stakes to an unacceptable level, it has also ensured that this may be the last such aerial assault it will ever be able to carry out.

The setup is pretty clear. Israel and France coordinated an attack on multiple targets within Syria without US involvement but with absolute US knowledge of the operation to provoke Russia into going off half-cocked by attacking the inconsequential French frigate which assisted Israel’s air attack.

Any denunciation of sinister intent by Israeli Defense Forces is hollow because if they had not intended to provoke a wider conflict they would have given Russia more than one minute to clear their planes from the area.

That would constitute an attack on a NATO member state and require a response from NATO, thereby getting the exact escalation needed to continue the war in Syria indefinitely and touch off WWIII.

This neatly bypasses any objections to a wider conflict by President Trump who would have to respond militarily to a Russian attack on a NATO ally. It also would reassert NATO’s necessity in the public dialogue, further marginalizing Trump’s attacks on it and any perceived drive of his for peace.

That this took place within the 60 days window of the mid-term elections should also not be discounted.

This attack took place just hours after Presidents Erdogan and Putin negotiated a ‘peaceful’ settlement for Idlib province by declaring a De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) 15-20 kilometers wide which everyone, including Erdogan’s pets Jabhat al-Nusra would have to abide by.

Peace was breaking out in Syria and Israel and the war-hawks in D.C. weren’t standing for that.

By conducting this attack like this Israel and the NATO crowd figured it would be a win/win for them.

If Russia strikes back at France, then NATO invokes Article 5 and they get their wider war.

If Russia doesn’t strike back Putin loses face within Russia, his popularity drops 5 points and John Bolton begins salivating at the prospect of regime change in Russia. Yes, they are that insane.

It was a neat piece of geopolitical maneuvering, almost judo-like. Russia and Syria looked to be on the verge of victory, extending themselves in a major conflict that would result in months of bad press. We were expecting a possible false-flag chemical weapons attack, cries of humanitarian crisis and all the rest of the tired virtue-signaling we can expect by US ‘diplomatic’ officials that has been all too common even under Trump.

What we got was the opposite, a carefully-crafted assault on Russian military forces wherein Russia’s vaunted air-defense systems would be blamed for its own people’s deaths and a mistaken counter-attack that justifies the “Putin is a Vile War-Monger” narrative to justify a US invasion of Syria which has been held in amber since 2013 and Putin’s skillful defusing that situation via diplomatic means.

For once, this almost looked like a well-thought out plan. Not the usual ham-fisted crudities we’ve been treated to over the last few years. But, here’s the rub.

It didn’t work.

By naming names and immediately not responding militarily during the ‘fog of war’ Russia and Putin again prove to be more skilled at this than their adversaries.

Because none of what I just outlined will come to pass. And France, Israel and the US will be the ones to lose face here. And with Israel betraying Putin’s forbearance after April’s air strikes on Damascus, he will have no choice but to upgrade Syria’s air defense systems from S-200’s to S-300’s and possibly S-400’s.

This is Israel’s worst nightmare. A situation where any aerial assault on targets within Syria would be suicide missions, puncturing the myth of the Israeli air force’s superiority and shifting the delicate balance of power in Syria decidedly against them.

This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked Putin so hard over the last two years. But, this incident wipes that slate clean. This was a cynical betrayal of Putin’s trust and patience. And Israel will now pay the price for their miscalculation.

Giving Syria S-300’s does not avenge the fifteen dead Russian soldiers. Putin will have to respond to that in a more concrete way to appease the hardliners in his government and at home. His patience and seeming passivity are being pushed to their limit politically. This is, after all, a side benefit to all of this for the neoconservative and globalist hawks in D.C., Europe and Tel Aviv.

But, the real loss here for Israel will be Russia instituting a no-fly zone over western Syria. Any less response from Putin will be seized upon by and the situation will escalate from here. So, Putin has to deploy S-300’s here. And once that happens, the real solution to Syria begins in earnest.

Because at that point it will be the US’s move to flat-out invade without provocation, now that a solution is in place in Syria between Russia and a NATO member, Turkey.

The only good news in all of this is that US forces were not involved. This still tells me that Trump and Mattis are still in charge of their chain of command and that other forces are conspiring to drag them into a conflict no one in their right minds wants.

Russian Military Fumes Over Israel’s ‘Deliberate Provocation,’ as Putin Sighs Over ‘Tragic Circumstances’ in IL-20 Downing

Russian MoD: “Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces.”

MOSCOW — The Kremlin appears to be attempting a delicate balancing act Tuesday as it sought to balance its mission in Syria with its ties to Israel, with Russia’s military officials and President Vladimir Putin delivering messages that notably differ in terms of rhetoric, tone and substance.

Moscow has conceded that the Russian naval patrol aircraft, an Ilyushin IL-20, was downed by Syrian air defense systems Monday night as it was flying over the Mediterranean Sea while returning to the Hmeymim Air Base in Latakia, Syria. As a result, 15 military personnel were killed.

Yet while Putin has characterized the incident as an unfortunate case of “tragic circumstances,” the Russian Defense Ministry has described the case as resulting from a deliberate provocation staged by Israel for the purpose of placing the IL-20 in the target sights of Syrian anti-aircraft systems.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday following talks with Hungary’s prime minister, the Russian leader sounded a tone that can best be described as sorrowful rather than vengeful.

“When people get killed, particularly so, under such tragic circumstances, it is always a great misfortune to us, to the country and to the relatives of our late comrades. I offer condolences first and foremost to the relatives of those killed,” Putin said.

“As for comparison with the well-known events (of November 2015), when a Turkish fighter jet shot down our plane, it was a different situation. This time it looks like a string of tragic circumstances,” he added.

Russia in RSA 🇷🇺

@EmbassyofRussia

Russian Defence Ministry: Russian Ilyushin Il-20 plane was downed by Syrian Air Defence missile after Israeli F-16 pilots used it as cover thus setting it up to be targeted by AA defence. Such actions can only be classified as a deliberate provocation http://goo.gl/scDMau

The IL-20 disappeared from the radar as four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked Syrian government facilities in Latakia while deliberately using the IL-20 as a cover. Rather than firing on the attacking jets, however, the Syrian S-200 air defense batteries attacked the allied Russian plane instead, whose reflective surface is far greater than the far more advanced U.S.-made fighter jets.

“Hiding behind the Russian aircraft, the Israeli pilots put it in the line of fire of Syrian anti-aircraft systems. As a result the IL-20 … was shot down by the [Syrian] S-200 missile system,” said Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

He further dismissed the idea that the Israelis failed to detect the IL-20, which was in the direct proximity of the Israeli bombing raid and had been due to land at Hmeymim from a three-mile altitude.

Advance warning of the Israeli attack – which Tel Aviv has typically given to Moscow as a means to avoid head-to-head clashes between the Israeli Air Force and Russian Aerospace Forces in the busy Syrian skies – was nearly inconsequential, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

“The Israeli side didn’t issue a notification or, to be more precise, they warned us a minute before conducting the strike … They told us they were about to attack facilities on the Syrian territory, and they did it,” Shoigu said, according to Russian news agency TASS.

“We have informed today our Israeli colleagues, and I have also informed personally the Israeli Defense Minister [Avigdor Lieberman], that such actions will not be left unanswered by us,” the minister added.

Putin has promised only to indirectly address the issue, stating that “retaliatory measures … will be first and foremost aimed at additionally ensuring the security of our military personnel and facilities in Syria.” Putin has also stressed that “these will be steps that everyone will notice.”

Israel, for its part, has been unapologetic about either the deaths of Russian soldiers or its attack on Syria, whom it has depicted as responsible for the incident along with Damascus’ allies, Iran and “the [Lebanese] Hezbollah terror organization.” The Israelis claim that their aggression “targeted a facility from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

An Israeli military spokesman also contradicted Moscow’s account of the events leading up to the downing of the Russian aircraft, noting that past mechanisms preventing such incidents have worked effectively in the past years and “this system was in use [by Tel Aviv] tonight as well.”

The Israelis, In addition to occupying the Syrian Golan Heights since their 1967 war of expansion, have spent the last several years waging a war of attrition against targets in Syria who are fighting alongside Damascus to ward off the threat by jihadist opposition forces backed by the U.S., Israel, and a range of Western and Arab powers. Moscow has largely turned a blind eye to Israel’s constant aerial aggression against targets aligned with Iran, such as Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

Israeli Air Force@IAFsite

Israel expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed tonight due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
Israel holds the Assad regime, whose military shot down the Russian plane, fully responsible for this incident

According to Russian authorities, about 108 Russian personnel have died in Syria while its military has lost about eight aircraft in various missions since the country’s military expedition began three years ago following an invitation by President Bashar al-Assad.

The dilemma illustrates the complicated situation Russia has found itself in as it has sought to balance its relations between a diverse range of allies and partners, many of whom – such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran – act in stark opposition to one another in a Middle East ravaged by imperialist ambitions and geopolitical contention.

Watch | Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian air defense forces – MoD

Top Photo | A Russian MP officer stands guard at the Russian air base in Hemeimeem, Syria, with an Il-20 electronic intelligence plane of the Russian air force is in the background. An Il-20 aircraft was shot down Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, by a Syrian missile over the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 15 people on board, as the Syrian military fired on Israeli fighter jets attacking targets in northwestern Syria.