Moon of Alabama: Context Of Yesterday's Turkish Attack Against The Russian Jet

Razer Rayzer at
Wed Nov 25 10:06:37 PST 2015

> As I wrote yesterday:
>     This then was not legitimate air-defense but an ambush.
> I am not the only one who came to that conclusion. Deep inside a
> McClatchy piece a "western" diplomat sees it as an "orchestrated" event:
>     One Western diplomat based in Iraq, but with extensive experience
> in Syria and Turkey, called the incident “brazenly orchestrated and
> inevitable,” but asked that the identification of his country not be
> used in the statement.

This article is copiously linked at Moon of Alabama
November 25, 2015

Was The U.S. Involved In The Turkish Attack Against The Russian Jet?

    Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday for shooting down the
Turkish fighter jet, saying: "Even if the plane was in their airspace
for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack."

    "It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it
was shot down," he said.Turkey hardens military position after Syria
downs jet June 27, 2012

    A violation of one to two kilometers is accepted as "natural" given
the speed of aircraft, the statement [by the the General Staff] said.
This year's violations of Turkish airspace lasted between 20 seconds and
nine minutes, which showed "airspace violations can be resolved by
warning and interceptions," the statement said.

    Turkey could have downed 114 planes for airspace violations: Army
June 25, 2012

    Turkish fighter jets and military helicopters have dramatically
increased their incursions into Greek airspace, according to a study
based on data from the Greek military, forcing the cash-strapped Greek
air force to respond.

    Turkey buzzes weakened Greece - In growing numbers Ankara’s fighter
jets test Greek territorial claims. - July 23, 2015

Turkey also regularly violates Iraq's airspace by flying bombing attacks
against Kurds in north Iraq.

All this provides that yesterday's incident in which Turkey shot down a
Russian jet was not a case of an ordinary airspace violation but a
deliberate act to take down a Russian plane. The surviving co-pilot of
the Russian jet insists that it neither flew through Turkish airspace
nor was warned of an imminent attack. As I wrote yesterday:

    This then was not legitimate air-defense but an ambush.

I am not the only one who came to that conclusion. Deep inside a
McClatchy piece a "western" diplomat sees it as an "orchestrated" event:

    One Western diplomat based in Iraq, but with extensive experience in
Syria and Turkey, called the incident “brazenly orchestrated and
inevitable,” but asked that the identification of his country not be
used in the statement.

The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov also came to that conclusion:

    The downing of a Russian warplane in Syria by Turkey appears to be a
pre-planned provocation, the Russian Foreign Minister said. Ankara
failed to communicate with Russia over the incident, he added.

    “We have serious doubts that this act was unintentional. It looks
very much like a preplanned provocation,” Lavrov said, citing Turkey’s
failure to maintain proper communication with Russia, the abundance of
footage of the incident and other evidence.

Several NATO ambassadors will have had the same though when they
admonished Ankara over the act:

    "There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents,"
said one diplomat who declined to be named.

The attack on the Russian plane was preconceived on November 22 when a
security summit was held with the Turkish government under Prime
Minister Davutoğlu and the Turkish Armed Forces. Davutoğlu personally
gave the order to shoot down Russian planes. This, Turkey says, was
necessary to stop Russian bombing of "Turkmen" in north Syria's Latakia
near the Turkish border.

Many of the "Syrian Turkmen" fighting against the Syrian people are from
Central Asia and part of the terrorist groups of Jabhat al-Nusra, Ansar
Al Shams, Jabhat Ansar Ad Din and Ahrar al Shams. Uighurs smuggled in
from China and fighting under the "Turkistan Islamist Party" label even
advertise their ‘little jihadists’ children training camps in the area.
The few real Syrian Turkmen work, as even the BBC admits, together with
al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Their leader and spokesman, one
Alparslan Celik, is a Turkish citizen from Elazığ.

The Turkish claim of defending "Turkmen" in Syria is a sham. It is
defending mostly foreign Islamist terrorists.

Whoever planned the ambush on the Russian jet miscalculated the
reaction. NATO will not come to Turkey's help over this or the next such
incident. NATO countries know that the Russian plane was hit within
Syria. Russia will not be scared into drawing back. Instead it massively
increased the bombing of targets in that area:

    At least 12 air strikes hit Latakia's northern countryside as
pro-government forces clashed with fighters from al Qaeda's Nusra Front
and Turkmen insurgents in the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman areas, the
British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    A Turkmen commander said missiles fired from Russian warships in the
Mediterranean were also hitting the area, as well as heavy artillery

Russian jets also bombed insurgency supply trucks (video) in al-Qaeda
controlled Azaz, north of Aleppo and just some two kilometers from the
Turkish border. They also bombed the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to
Turkey. That is a big FU to Erdogan.

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva with its extensive air defense
systems is now covering the area. Russia will officially deploy two
S-400 air defense systems to cover all of north-west Syria and southern
Turkey. Russia also has lots of electronic wizardry it can (and will)
apply. The preparation of additional airfields is ongoing. There will be
no outward military revenge against Turkey unless it crosses into Syria.
The "safe zone" within Syria Erdogan dreams of would have to be won by
defeating Russian forces.

The 4.5 million Russian tourists who visited Turkey this year will not
come again. Turkish business in Russia, mostly in the building industry
and agricultural products, will shrink to nearly zero. That the scheming
to take down a Russian air plane may have negative consequences for
Turkey suddenly also dawned to Davutoğlu who now pretends that we wants
to make nice again:

    Turkey is not aiming to escalate tension with Russia, Turkish Prime
Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Nov. 25, echoing President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan following the downing of a SU-24 Russian jet the previous day.

    “Russia is our friend and neighbor. Our bilateral communication
channels are open. But our security, as for every friendly country,
should be based on the principle of respect under international law.
It’s normal to protect our national airspace,” Davutoğlu said,
addressing party members in parliament.

And it is normal for Russia to defend its ally Syria. Against all
enemies. By all means.

But back to Turkey's motive. The way this is played one might believe
that this was a indeed a lonely Turkish idea to defend its immediate
interests in Syria - the "Turkmen" as well as the oil business Erdogan's
son has with the Islamic State.

But there is also a bigger game going on and it is likely that Erdogan
has a new contract and Obama's backing for this escalation. James
Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the U.S. military, was
in Ankara when the incident happened. The cooperation between U.S. and
Turkish military and especially the air forces is quite tight. It is
hard to believe that there was no communication about what was prepared
to happen.

After the Islamic State attack in France President Hollande attempted to
create a global coalition against IS which would include Russia and Iran
as well as the U.S. led anti-ISIS block. But such a coalition, which
makes a lot of sense, would have to agree to leave Syria alone and to
help Syrian ground forces to effectively fight the Islamic State. It
does not make sense to destroy the Syrian state and to just hope that
the outcome would be something better than an emboldened IS or AlQaeda
ruling in Damascus. That outcome is certainly not in Europe's interest.
But a global coalition is not in U.S. or Turkish interests. It would end
their common plans and efforts to overthrow the Syrian government and to
install a "Sunni" state in Syria and Iraq as a Turkish protectorate.

The Russian jet incident decreased the likelihood of such a coalition.
Holland, visiting Washington yesterday, had to pull back with his plan
and was again degraded to parrot Obama's "Assad must go" nonsense. Obama
feels emboldened and now pushes to widen the conflict in Syria:

    The Obama administration is using the current moment of extreme
anger and anxiety in Europe to press allies for sharp increases in their
contributions to the fight against the Islamic State. Suggestions
include more strike aircraft, more intelligence-sharing, more training
and equipment for local fighters, and deployment of their own special
operations ­forces.
    While new contributions would be added to anti-Islamic State
campaigns across the board, the attention is clearly on Syria, marking a
shift in what began as an “Iraq first” focus when Obama authorized
airstrikes in the region last fall.
    Obama, speaking beside Hollande on Tuesday, restated his insistence
that Assad is part of the problem, not the solution, and that he must go.

The Obama administration is also preparing to install the Turkish dream
of a "safe zone" between Aleppo and the Turkish border north of it.

    Among several coalition priorities in Syria, the United States has
begun a series of airstrikes in an area known as the “Mar’a line,” named
for a town north of Aleppo in the northwest. There, a 60-mile stretch to
the Euphrates River in the east is the only remaining part of the
Syria-Turkey border under Islamic State control.

    The administration had delayed beginning operations in the area
because U.S. aircraft were needed in operations farther east, and it has
been uncertain that local opposition forces­ would be able to hold the
territory if it could be cleared with airstrikes.

The increased Russian air defense and the likely increase of its
deployed planes will make those "safe zone" plans impossible.

But Obama, in my conclusion, still wants to drag NATO into Syria and
wants to assemble enough forces "against ISIS" to be able to overwhelm
the Syrian government and its Russian protectors. If that does not work
he at least hopes to give Russia the Afghanistan like "quagmire" in
Syria he and other U.S. officials promised. The again increasing
tensions with U.S. proxy Ukraine only help in that regard.

But there is even more to that plan. Just by chance (not) the NYT op-ed
pages launch a trial balloon today for the creation of a Sunni state in
east Syria and west Iraq. But that (Islamic) State is already there and
the "containment" strategy Obama practices towards it guarantees that it
will fester.

Obama continues his immensely destructive policies in the Middle East
with zero regard to the all the bad outcomes these are likely to have
for the people there as well as for Europe. One again wonders if all
these action follow from sheer incompetence or from some devilish,
ingenious strategic planning.

Posted by b on November 25, 2015 at 10:26 AM

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