Last night Taylor offered a few thoughts about the incident this weekend where America shot down a Russian made Syrian fighter in that war plagued region. At the time, Russia was still keeping their powder dry as to what to do about it, but this morning the situation has changed. In what’s probably a vastly hyped and unnecessarily provocative statement, Putin’s Defense Ministry said that our own planes could now be considered targets in certain sections of airspace over western Syria. (Washington Examiner)
Russia on Monday said it will treat U.S. or coalition aircraft that fly over any of its operating areas in western Syria as targets, after a U.S. F/A-18 Super Hornet downed a Syrian bomber a day earlier.
“Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets,” according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.
Russia called the downing of a Syrian Air Force Su-22 jet a “cynical violation of Syria’ sovereignty.”
“The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a U.N. member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the ministry added.
Based on the descriptions coming from the battlefield, it was actually the Syrians who instigated the situation, harassing and then bombing coalition backed rebel forces near the town of Tabqah. Despite attempts at deescalation by the United States, the Syrians bombed the area and in response their SU-22 fighter/bomber was blown out of the sky.
The SU-22 is just an exported version of the Russian Sukhoi Su-17, so I suppose it’s good to know that our Super Hornets can handle them so easily (just in case push comes to shove). But this probably wasn’t what we needed in terms of Russo-American relations at the moment, what with everything else we’ve got going on. Given the testy attitude that Putin has been exhibiting lately, I’m not going to rule this out as complete bluster. The Russians might just be crazy enough to go after one of our jets directly over some alleged infraction of the airspace they feel they control. If that’s the case we’re going to have a serious mess on our hands, particularly if either side loses a pilot.
Avoiding that could be even harder now because of an addition to the Russian announcement. The established deescalation line between the Russians and the White House is being shut down.
In the Tass report Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it was shutting down the line of communication, which is used to ensure Russian and coalition forces fighting the Islamic State don’t accidentally bomb each other.
So we have new sanctions coming Russia’s way and constant news of their hijinks filling up international media. Putin is known for having both a lot of pride and a nasty temper, so none of this is siting well with him I’m sure. At the same time, the Tyrant of Turkey has been warming up to both Russia and Iran more and more of late. Is anyone else smelling possible trouble like a turd on the griddle here? I can’t see World War 3 breaking out over this, but even a limited proxy war between us and the Russian over Syrian airspace would be fairly disastrous. Once again, another item to demonstrate that you have lived to see interesting times, my friends.