Serious Escalation in Russian-Western Relations

The past few weeks have seen a deterioration in the relations between the Russian Federation, the United States and Europe over the conflict in Syria. Despite relations have been very poor the last few years, the language used in diplomatic and military circles the last few weeks marks a new low. The recently past time has been the witness from cancelling of international treaties, refusal for talks to the open threats over and from. Maybe the scariest thing is, that these events are hardly being covered. What follows in this article is an overview of the ghastly events and language which have unfolded the last few weeks.

Prelude

In the days prior to the drastic escalation of the relationship between Russian and the west a cease fire agreement was made by the US and Russia. However, reports from both sides about violations soon emerged. Russian accused the so called moderate opposition to fire upon Syrian targets in the area near Allepo. Russia even went as far as to release drone footage of rebel held territory. (I)

map-syria

17 September: US led Airstrike target Syrian Arab Army in Deir Al Zor.

Two Australian F16s(I) and Two US A10s conducted airstrikes against positions of the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Al Zor.(II) In the attacks, lasting for over an hour, some 60 soldiers were injured and over a 100 were wounded. Immediately after the airstrike ISIS forces have started a counter attack against Syrian troops stationed in the area forcing them to retreat. The Airstrike followed recent successful advance of the Syrian Army.

The Russian defence ministry has stated that “If this airstrike was carried out due to an error in the coordinates of the target it is a direct consequence of US side’s unwillingness to coordinate its actions against terrorist groups with Russia.”(III) Russian Foreign minister Sergej Lavrov would later (09SEP16) hint that it was very strange that such mistakes were made in the airstrikes basing his opinion on a US General that the airstrikes was prepared fort wo whole days using solid intelligence.(V) The Syrian army has even gone so far as to state that the airstrikes are evidence that the US is cooperating with ISIS. (IV)

Syrian War Report – September 19, 2016: ISIS Obtains Air Force – South Front

20 September: Unconfirmed Russian strike on US Special Forces

Via the Russian government funded media outlet Sputnik news reports surfaced of a Russian strike with ship launched Kalibr (Cruise) missiles. The missiles reportedly killed 30 foreign special forces reporting in the Allepo area in Syria. Among the casualties supposedly be US, Israeli, Qatari and Saudi troops. – Till this day these reports remain unverified. (I)

20 September: Russia Allegedly bombed a UN Aid convoy

The destruction of a UN aid convoy has been widely covered in the media the last few days. Allegations are that either Russian or Syrian aircraft bombed the convoy. Despite the UN initially condemned Russia and Syria for the incident. It has later withdrawn its claims after hearing explanation of the Russian Federation.

“We are not in a position to determine whether these were in fact airstrikes. We are in a position to say that the convoy was attacked,” a representative of the UN for Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, said. (I)

21 September No fly zone

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has called for the installation of a No-Fly Zone over Syria for Syrian and Russian planes.(I) If such a No-Fly-Zone would be enforced by the US and its partners, it might well provoke open war with the Russian Federation. The shooting down, willingly and knowingly of Russian jet, would put Russian and US troops in open conflict with each other, at least in Syria. It is a question how such a matter would evolve, to the region, possibly the world.

28 September: Allegations of State Department Spokesperson against Russia

During a regular press briefing the US State Department’s spokesperson John Kirby was asked the following question, and gave the following answer:

Reporter: “What are the consequences for Russia if this [ceasefire] agreement falls through?”

John Kirby: “The consequences are that the civ war will continue will continue in Syria. That extremist groups will continue in Syria and expend their operations. Which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interest, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags and will continue to lose resources, ever, perhaps more aircraft. The stability that they seek in Syria will be ever more elusive. It is hard to image that continued war, not just a civil war, but increasingly, more violent extremist activity in Syria.”(I)

US payback? More body bags, attacks on Russian cities. 28 Sept 2016

I leave it up to the reader to make his or her own conclusions about this statement. Nevertheless, these remarks have been interpreted as being a threat towards Russia. At the moment the above statement was made, the Syrian rebels (ISIS nor the so called moderate opposition) did not own any serious AA capabilities. More so the statement comes just days after the No-Fly zone statement of John Kerry in the UNSC.

3 October: Cancelation Plutonium treaty

Following the above events, Russian President Vladimir Putin has cancelled the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement with the United States. Stating that “a drastic change in circumstances, the appearance of a threat to strategic stability due to unfriendly actions of the United States toward Russia.” (I)

At the same time an ultimatum was set by Russia to NATO in order to withdraw all of its infrastructure and personal in the Baltics and Balkans. (II)

6 October: Deployment of S300VM system

The S300VM system is a highly advanced Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Cruise missile and Anti-Ballistic missile system. It is capable of operating in an electronic warfare environment, being able to operate despite the presence of jammers. The choice to send in a S300VM and not the regular S300 system shows that the possible adversary the Russian Federation had in mind with the deployment of this system, is not just fighter jets, but also covers the possibility to engage any threat faced by the Russian or Syrian troops in the area.(I)

venezuelan2bs300vm2bantey2b2500

The statement made by the defence ministry makes this even more clear:

Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a ‘straight line’ the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to. And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality.”

The later statement is clearly directed against any owner of stealth aircraft. The only country in the world currently operating such aircraft is indeed the United States. The move by Russia is an evident reaction against the proposing of a No-Fly-Zone for Russian and Syrian aircraft over Syria and is also strongly linked at the incident at Deir Al Zor.

6 of October: Chief of Staff of the (US) Army threatens Russia

In response to the deployment of the S300VM system to Syria and the allegations made by the Russian defense spokesperson, Chief of Staff of the Army, four star general Mark Milley made a very strong statement ‘to those that try to oppose the United States.’ Saying that “The US Army will (…) stop you and beat you harder then you have ever been beaten before. (…) We will destroy any enemy, anywhere, anytime.”(I)

U.S. Army Chief Threatens War With Russia

 

As a final personal note; The above events are all pieces of the puzzle which is current and rapidly unfolding between Russian and the United States. But perhaps even more depressing than the current events is that many media outlets proved themselves unable to identify the escalation which has been going right for our very eyes on for more than a month now. Instead of seeing the mutual dynamics of the process, reporting seldom reaches farther than suggesting Russia is the new Evil Empire.

 

Sources:

Prelude

I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWqTULshons

17 September: US led Airstrike target Syrian Arab Army in Deir Al zor.

I Australian jets involved in botched air strike on Syrian army, http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2016/09/18/australia-syria-air-strike/

II Russia criticizes U.S. over bombing of Syrian army near Deir al-Zor

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-idUSKCN11N0QG?il=0

III Russian MoD Confirms US-Led Coalition’s F-16, A-10 Jets Attacked Syrian Army
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201609171045415141-russia-syria-army-attacked/

IV http://sana.sy/en/?p=88303

V Lavrov trolls CNN: Russia flattered by US hacking allegations – Full interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8WiQFWEO4

20 September: Unconfirmed Russian strike on US Special Forces

I – https://southfront.org/30-foreign-intelligence-officers-israeli-us-turkish-killed-in-missile-attack-in-aleppo-unconfirmed/

I – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egUFFM3QQz0

20 September: Russia Allegedly bombed a UN Aid convoy

I https://southfront.org/un-removes-charges-against-russia-regarding-air-strike-on-humanitarian-convoy-in-syria/

28 September: Allegations of State Department Spokesperson against Russia

I – U.S. Army Chief Threatens War With Russia https://www.youtube.com/embed/-wCwJ8pfXXo

3 October: Cancelation Plutonium treaty

I – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/03/putin-scraps-deal-to-dispose-of-bomb-grade-plutonium-in-swipe-at/

II – https://southfront.org/putin-issues-a-ultimatum-to-the-united-states-to-leave-eastern-europe/

6 October: Deployment of S300VM system

http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Giant-Gladiator.html

I – NIEMI/Antey S-300V 9K81/9K81-1/9K81M/MK Self Propelled Air Defence System / SA-12/SA-23 Giant/Gladiator НИЭМИ/Антей Cамоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс C-300В 9К81/9К81-1/9К81М/МК  / «Антей 2500» http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Giant-Gladiator.html

II – https://www.rt.com/news/361800-russia-syria-usa-aistrikes/

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