Earlier this month, a source in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Syria reported that Israeli jets had been using U.S. transponder signals to move freely in Syrian airspace, suggesting the tactic had been used by Israel prior to last Thursday’s strikes.
If true, this would mean that it is highly unlikely that Putin “greenlit” anything, as there was no way of knowing that those jets using U.S. transponder signals were not of U.S. origin and because allowing the jets to use those transponder signals would threaten the understanding between the U.S. and Russian militaries, a risk Putin was unlikely to take.
It would mean that Israel deliberately endangered the understanding between U.S. and Russian forces to respect flight paths of their respective fighter jets, which could potentially have dangerous consequences, as it would erode the trust that served as a basis for that understanding. Sources within the Syrian Arab Army also suggested that Netanyahu approved the use of U.S. transponders before his meeting with Putin, giving the subsequent Israeli strikes the appearance that they were approved by Putin and in turn sowing distrust between Russia, Syria and Iran.
Continuing with her discussion of the possibility that Israel is attempting to sow the seeds of deception between the Syrian, Russian, and Iranian alliance, Webb writes,
If Russia’s alleged “green lighting” was an indeed an intentional ploy on the part of Netanyahu to spread distrust through the key alliance of Russia and Syria and Iran, if would not be without precedent, as Netanyahu has been known to resort to similar tactics, including his recent presentation on Iran’s so-called “Atomic Archive,” where he presented old information on Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions as groundbreaking new evidence. In fact the whole foundation for the “green light” narrative came exclusively from Netanyahu’s comments combined with the timing of the strike, which came just hours after Putin and Netanyahu met.
Israel stands to gain significantly from fomenting distrust between Russia and Syria. As the foreign-funded proxy war targeting the Assad-led government in Syria has largely failed, weakening Assad’s most critical alliance by making Putin appear to have been complicit in a major Israeli air strike against Syrian Army bases would certainly benefit the Israeli government. Even Assad himselfnoted that Russia is largely to thank for “saving” the country from regime change efforts at the hands of foreign governments and their proxies. Were that alliance to weaken, it would give Israel, whose defense minister just a week ago spoke of “liquidating” the Syrian government, a new opening.
Israel’s apparent influence over Putin also distracts from other embarrassing news that came as a result of its attack on Syria, such as the apparent failure of its much-touted but often dysfunctional Iron Dome missile defense system, which managed to shoot down only four of the twenty Syrian missiles launched into Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In contrast, Syria’s 30-year-old Russian-made missile defense system downed more than half of the 70 missiles Israel fired in and around Damascus.
The Israeli government has been careful to prevent the proliferation of images or information showing the damage caused by the 16 Syrian missiles that landed in the Golan Heights, instead publicly claiming it has eliminated the “Iranian threat” (i.e., presence) in Syria.
Israel, always ready to point out how its neighbors are terrorizing and threatening it, has now claimed that it has “eliminated the Iranian threat,” signaling to some that Israel is not prepared to go any further in the near future. However, with the backing of the world’s biggest bully, the United States, Israel may also be acting deceptively in that regard as well. Knowing that the U.S. will come running ready to sacrifice as much American blood and treasure as necessary to defend it, Israel is as emboldened as ever.
But Putin’s hesitation to give Syria S-300s (if, in fact, Syria does not have them) may also be rooted both in pragmatism and lack of perceived necessity. As Tony Cartalucci writes in his article “Israel Baits The Hook. Will Syria Bite?”
A cynical reality remains as to why. Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006, conducted with extensive airpower – failed to achieve any of Israel’s objectives. An abortive ground invasion into southern Lebanon resulted in a humiliating defeat for Israeli forces. While extensive damage was delivered to Lebanon’s infrastructure, the nation and in particular, Hezbollah, has rebounded stronger than ever.
Likewise in Syria, Israeli airstrikes and missile attacks will do nothing on their own to defeat Syria or change the West’s failing fortunes toward achieving regime change. They serve only as a means of provoking a retaliation sufficient enough for the West to cite as casus belli for a much wider operation that might effect regime change.Attempts to place wedges among the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance have been ongoing. Claims that Russia’s refusal to retaliate after US-Israeli attacks or its refusal to provide Syria with more modern air defenses attempt to depict Russia as weak and disinterested in Syria’s well-being.
The fact remains that a Russian retaliation would open the door to a possibly catastrophic conflict Russia may not be able to win. The delivery of more modern air defense systems to Syria will not change the fact that US-Israeli attacks will fail to achieve any tangible objectives with or without such defenses. Their delivery will – however – help further increase tensions in the region, not manage or eliminate them.
Because Syria Already Won
Syria and its allies have eliminated the extensive proxy forces the US and its allies armed and funded to overthrow the Syrian government beginning in 2011. The remnants of this proxy force cling to Syria’s borders and in regions the US and its allies are tentatively occupying.
Should the conflict’s status quo be maintained and Russia’s presence maintained in the region, these proxy forces will be unable to regroup or regain the territory they have lost. In essence, Syria has won the conflict.
Indeed, sections of Syria are now under the control of occupying foreign armies. Turkey controls sections in northern Syria and the United States is occupying territory east of the Euphrates River. While Syria’s territorial integrity is essential – Syria will be better positioned to retake this territory years from now, than it is at the moment. Maintaining the status quo and preventing the conflict from escalating is the primary concern.
Over the next several years – within this status quo – the global balance of power will only shift further away from America’s favor. As that happens, Syria will have a much better opportunity to reclaim its occupied territory.
The baited hook to which Cartalucci refers is the U.S. strategic plan, developed by corporate-financier think tank, The Brookings Institution, to create a “multi-front war” in which pressure is brought to bear on Syria and/or the plan to provoke an Iranian response that would be used to justify an Israeli or American military invasion.
In its 2012 article, “Assessing Options For Regime Change,” Brookings wrote that Israel’s role, particularly in the Golan is to put pressure on Syria and create a “multi-front war.” It states,
Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
In regards to Iran, Brookings wrote in its article, “Which Path To Persia? Options For A New American Strategy Towards Iran,”
The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)
At the end of the day, Putin’s interests are essentially Russian interests. Putin wants to see an end to the encircling of Russia and the economic isolation foisted onto it by the West. Putin does not want to see Russia’s strategic ally destroyed but Putin has also negotiated his own deals with the Syrian government that not only see Russian bases and ports established in the country but mining rights for Russian companies. It was a deal made at exactly the time when Assad couldn’t refuse. Whether or not Putin has personal feelings about the fate of the Syrian people, Russia entered the Syrian field because Russia’s interests deemed it necessary from a Russian perspective. Make no mistake, Russia is out for Russia’s interests, not Syria’s. This is not a criticism. The first priority a leader has is to his own people and enlightened self-interest is the wisest way to conduct international relations.
With all that being said, however, it is undeniable that Russia has acted as Syria’s savior with its entering the country and assisted the government in liberating territory from Western-backed terrorists. Even more so, Russia has stood as a deterrent to the United States which has attempted to launch direct military invasions of Syria on numerous occasions.
However, Russia is not interested in seeing regional tensions fanned simply because it makes the waters rougher for its own fleet. Thus, Russia is not on some anti-Israel crusade. It is merely looking to maintain stability in the region while at the same time maintaining and boosting trade with all parties and establishing a more equitable balance of power on the world stage along with the United States and China. This is why Russia has opposed Israel’s unprovoked attack on Syrian military targets while saying nothing about its attacks on Iranian military positions. It is also why, despite Israel and Syria being mortal enemies, that Russia has boosted its trade with Israel.
In the future, look for Russia to continue to do whatever it can to aid Assad in his attempt to retake the country while avoiding World War III and a confrontation with Israel. While it is tempting to become emotional and desire a little justice or at least a little revenge, Putin is going to continue to let cooler and more intelligent heads prevail. He is also going to let Russian interests take top priority and there may be a time when Russian interests and Syrian interests do not necessarily line up. For the sake of Syria, we hope that such a divide can be easily bridged.
Brandon Turbeville is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.