The recent shooting down of a Russian bomber near the border of Turkey is not what it seems to be. First of all, the event was staged: why were professional television film cameras from Turkey on hand to record the event 15 kilometers inside Syria? The Russian jet had never crossed into Turkey’s airspace. Since 2012 when the civil war in Syria heated up, Turkey has declared that its border is usually at least five miles south from where it was before Syria’s civil war began. It’s a Turkish state secret as to how far their southern border extends at any given point. This ambiguity will now be exploited.
The reason the Russians moved so quickly into Syria was that the U.S. was involved in talks with President Erdoğan, talks about having the Turks plunge ground troops into Syria to finish off Assad, but Erdoğan was facing election; the timing was not good. The Russians moved to halt the proposed Turkish invasion. Erdoğan was re-elected in a landslide and now publicly says he’s ready to invade. But the Russians and Syrians have re-taken an important northern airbase from al-Nusra. The Russians now threaten to block a Turkish invasion, especially if Assad’s soldiers push out fanatical al-Nusra and the Turkmen population who support them in the north.
The downing of the jet provides a way of letting Russia know that they may not have the air superiority they might think they have if they face advanced American missiles. So the threat of a Turkish land invasion is still on the table (they are now amassing tanks on their border with Syria), just as the threat of an Iranian invasion remains on the table (in a lightning advance to Aleppo, if Raaqa falls to the Kurds with the aid of American special ops).
That a country’s airspace is inviolate constitutes a new myth. (Turkey itself routinely violates Iraq's airspace to bomb Kurds in Syria and Iraq, while Greece complains that Turkey violates their airspace over 2,000 times a year.) Hostilities to Russia’s annexation of Crimea resulted in numerous violations of national airspace on the part of both Russia and the United States. Last spring Russia buzzed Alaska and southern California, as well as Houston, with armed nuclear bombers. Over the Baltic Sea there have been 66 recent high-risk incidents involving space violations, including near collisions, between NATO and Russian fighters.
In response, the United States moved F-16s and A-10s (tankbusters) into Estonia last March through May, culminating in 13,000 NATO troops performing simulated battle with lasers. https://www.rt.com/news/251229-nato-tornado-drills-estonia/. From fighter cockpits doing aerial bombing drills, the streets of St. Petersburg were in their view—this was to let Putin know that the city of his birth could be eliminated in fifteen minutes. In reply, armed Russian nuclear bombers penetrated Northeastern airspace 16 times during the first ten days of last August.
At the moment there are fourteen countries bombing Syria: “Fourteen air forces have begun operating in Syrian airspace as a result of Operation Inherent Resolve, the air coalition against ISIS. The air branches of the Syrian, Russian, Israeli, American, Jordanian, Australian, French, British, Turkish. Saudi, Canadian, Qatari, French and Bahraini armed forces have all operated within the Syrian airspace since the operation's onset.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4730467,00.html
From a legal point of view, none of these countries violating Syrian air space have declared war on Syria, a founding member of the U.N. Consequently, all these countries, except Russia, are in violation of the U.N. charter. Russia has a treaty with the legal government of Syria, recognized by the U.N., and so its intervention has legal standing. But war, legal or not, has no limits. Patrick Buchanan wonders if Turkey is attempting to drag the U.S. into a war with Russia in order to protect its investment in the IS caliphate. http://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2015/11/26/stumbling-to-war-with-ru...
The French have escalated their bombing of ISIS, but they don’t have the same capacity as Russia or the United States, which has only recently and finally bombed ISIS oil fields in eastern Syria. France added those oil fields, including those in Iraq, to its own list of targets.
Bulgaria and now Ukraine have completely closed their airspace to Russia and threaten to shoot down even passenger planes. The concept of quarantine—not allowing Russians to visit other countries—will only cause resentment and fuel patriotic sentiment for war.
Putin stands as the Defender of Christianity. If Damascus, the well-head of Christianity where Paul, the founder of Christianity discovered the resurrected life after recovering from a coma, falls to Islam, then many will question whether Obama is a Christian. It was disgraceful enough that France tore Antioch, where Christians were first called Christians (Dionysians), from Syria, bestowing it and Hatay province upon Muslim Turkey as a stategic bribe in 1939.
By the way, Turkey will no longer entertain the 4.4 million Russian tourists that annually visit Turkey and spend about $10 billion a year. http://rbth.com/news/2015/11/26/rusia-to-stop-tourism-cooperation-with-t.... Russians will now vacation in Greece or subtropical Sochi on the Black Sea.
Syria is becoming a testing ground for weapons and weapons systems. Also being tested is the patience of the players and the resilience of Syrians who are witnesses, victims, and perpetrators all at once. Millions have fled and more are fleeing what has become a battleground of external foreign forces playing off against each other.
To what level will these war “games” rise? And how will this horror story end? Are not the Islamic generals al-Baghdadi in Iraq and Abu Omar the Chechen in Syria new incarnations of Joseph Conrad’s barbaric Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness?