These will be drive-bys only, but it’s time for an update, whether updates are polished and ready or not.
Being left for later treatment are such equally urgent matters as the Biden administration’s weird posture on Iranian sanctions violations, which seems to have involved a most peculiar encounter in late October.
The war in Syria is metastasizing, as long predicted by this author and others. It’s perilously close to a direct confrontation of Turkey and Russia in combat — a situation that didn’t start with the warplane shootdown today, but rather seems to have culminated in it. The ground picture in the area of the shootdown is the key.
What we know for sure today is that Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft, which the Turks say was violating their air space. The Turks report that an F-16 fighter pair took out the Russian aircraft.
It also appears that Russian helicopters sent on a rescue mission for the Su-24 air crew were destroyed. If a video posted by Syrian rebels (below) is valid – assuming it shows something the rebels pulled off today (24 November) – it looks like the rebels used TOW missiles to attack the Russian helos while they were on the ground at the Su-24 crash site.
ISIS will get something of a vote in this conflict. But America won’t. The reason for these two realities is that Obama has limited the use of U.S. force – limited it to such an extent that ISIS is still a very viable entity. Obama’s “restraint” is also the reason Russia and Iran keep having ISIS as a handy, open-ended pretext for arranging to occupy Iraq and Syria. Which is what they’re actually doing.
If you’re not convinced we are now in a “post-American” (and hence post-NATO) world, consider these events of the last 72 hours.
After the Paris attacks on Friday, the G20 leaders gathering in Turkey knew that both Syria and ISIS would top their agenda in Antalya. On Sunday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron expressed the standard position of the Western allies, since late summer, that Russia should stop prosecuting what is essentially a unilateral war in Syria.
How odd that that position should seem antique a mere 48 hours later. In the wake of the most recent events, one now has the sense that Cameron was speaking in another world and time.