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18 June 2012

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Mark Kolmar

I found the news from Syria thoroughly tiresome for many weeks. Some are worried about American legend. Therefore the outsized U.S. military can, must, or should do - what? A decade ago I advocated against the Iraq war. It was not to make a case against action or military, per se. At the time, I preferred smaller boxes to contain a mayor of Baghdad, with the objective that he is forced out.

Syria, much more than Iraq '03, implicates 2rd and 3rd-order conflict with effects through Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey. Immediately beyond, worse than pointless - Russiam and Iranian associates v. theirs with whom you don't want to have worse than a fist-fight.

If advocates didn't want to fly bombs into Iran c.'79, the same crowd don't want to start in Syria '12. If someone wanted to start in '79, we couldn't have done anyway and can't do now. I don't want to find out. Stop doing. Or don't promise a nice deal after big fights at high cost.

Tyler

No one would ever starve betting on the ability of the press corps to delude itself. All i saw up to this point was how BHO was goimg to "pressure" Putin. With what?! Was he going to badger Putin into rolling over with a speech? White guilt him into acting against his own best interests? The man has left a trail of corpses behind him that were nit created by drones and wields his power with a very real practicality. It was no shock to me when Putin smirked off the idea of abandoning Assad; but youd never have guessed from the media reactions.

jonst

This is a noxious mix we have in DC. 1 part Starry eyed, often half informed, NeoWilsonians, 2 parts shrewd, well connected, money grubbing vendors/rent seekers, and stirred with no nothing (and proud of it)Christianists end of times types, along with a dash of cynical political ops thinking this or that action makes the Pres look this or that way. And Israeli agents lurking back stage. And finally a few mystery ingredients.

McGee

Bingo! And the mystery guests are...?
Where's Arlene Francis when we need her?!

Fred

There's no mention in the National Journal of just what is America's national interest in Syria and how is that best served.

Fred

Well this is a brilliant move by the insurance company:

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/19/12294230-russian-shipment-of-attack-helicopters-for-syria-halted-off-scotland?lite

Even better we learn the those refurbished Russian helicopters? They already belonged to Syria - something not stated in the National Journal piece.

Bill H

Offered without commentary: Interesting that Clinton and the Obama Administration are hyperventilating about Russian helicopters while John McCain is calling for Amerian/NATO airpower to be employed in Syria.

David Habakkuk

And, at the G-20 summit in Mexico, Putin has been lecturing Obama on the dangers of Jacobinism. From an item in the Weekly Standard, linking to a CBS report:

"It is clear that President Obama did not get an agreement from Russian president Putin [on Syria]," CBS reports.

"And interestingly," CBS adds, "Apparently President Obama got a bit of a lecture from Putin about some other failed transitions that are going on around the world."

(See http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/two-men-barely-looked-each-other_647611.html )

Bill H

Yes, I'm rather surprised Putin didn't lecture Obama about the weaponry we provide Israel, which it used against Lebanon and Gaza. Or perhaps he did and our media just didn't report it.

David Habakkuk

Actually, Putin is cultivating good relations with Israel – he goes there on a two-day visit next week.

Part of the background is, obviously, that central security concerns of the Russian government have to do with Sunni jihadists – which may have led Putin to loose his cool somewhat when talking to Obama about both Syria and the ‘Arab Spring’. There appear, interestingly, to be some indications that Israeli attitudes towards toppling the Assad regime may be more ambivalent than those of most in the United States and Western Europe. The possibility that they might be jumping out of the frying pan and straight into the fire does appear to have occurred to rather more people in Tel Aviv than in London or Washington.

There was an interesting article making this argument by Giorgio Cafiero on Foreign Policy in Focus earlier this month.

(See http://www.fpif.org/articles/syria_america_vs_israel ).

Also, a perhaps surprisingly sober analysis of Russian-Israeli relations on the FrontPage.com website.

(See http://frontpagemag.com/2012/06/19/a-growing-russian-israeli-alliance/ )

Kunuri

So the Syrians went ahead and did it, they shut down a Turkish recon F4-D within the edge of Syrian territorial waters. Pilots are missing. This is big because this was a NATO jet and no warning was given. In my opinion it was the Russian so called trainers and advisors who supply those state of the air defence systems to Syrians. The message is, one, do not think about establishing no fly zones or safe havens in Syria two Russian air defence sysetms are good and worth the money 3rd world countries pay for them.
I dont think this is the trigger yet, but Syrians will find it and pull it soon enough.

turcopolier

kunuri

it has now become much more probable/likely that Turkey will intervene. pl

Kunuri

Albayim, to me this is clear hostile intent, even if the planes had drifted into the Syrian airspace for one reason or another, firing first and identifying later is not the SOP. Turkish and Greek jets play around like this everyday over the Agean and recently even with Israilis over the Mediterrenean off Cyprus and southern coast of Turkey.
Interestingly the same day entire Syrian Air Force was on the ground waiting a total vetting process of its fighters after the latest defection to Jordan of one of their pilots.
Oh, Turkey will interfere but not without NATO, in my opinion this is enough to start article 4 discussions but not enough for article 5 trigger. Also it depends how contrite the Syrians are, they can, if not smart, give the world an excuse to finally do something. This will most certainly US involvement since now its obvious that even specially equipped Turkish F4 Phantom recon planes are vulnerable.

Kunuri

Russians have serious involment in the downing of the Turkish F4 Super Phantom.

http://debka.com/article/22112/Newly-supplied-Russian-Buk-M2-anti-air-missile-used-to-down-Turkish-warplane

Debka files-slanted commentary, good sources-take it with a grain of salt...

Kunuri

Albayim, latest from Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu in an interview I watched live minutes ago. I thought you and the audience of this site might want to know the latest and most credible information on the subject do far. Translation is mine.

He said, after gathering all data and radar information from Turkish and international sources-

Syria knew it was a Turkish airplane. So they openly lied that they did not know.
Its identity was open and not concealed.
The plane was on a mission to test the Turkish radars. It was unarmed.
The plane was shot down in international waters.
It lost control and crashed into Syrian waters.
No warning or attempt to communicate.
15 minutes previous to being shot down, the plane indeed had veered into the Syrian airspace, warned by its own base in Malatya and immediately flew back into the international waters.

Turkey requested an interview from NATO Tuesday to discuss article 4 of the charter. And to present and vet all the data relied upon to reach the conclusions above.

So far Turks are very calm and collected. The government is trying very hard to keep this incident apart from ongoing civil war in Syria. Rescue mission for the pilots is ongoing, but I personally have little hope that they will be found. But if they ejected, and fished out of the water by the Syrian Navy, and kept as prisoners, or even worse executed-which will not surprise me...This of course, even if known by the Turkish authorities can not be made public, but will come up during the NATO meeting.

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