War comes home: Russia v. Turkey; Jet shootdown; Rebels attack Russian helos with U.S. TOW missiles

Peace in our time.

Shootdown porn. (Image via rebel video on YouTube)
Shootdown porn. (Image via rebel video on YouTube)

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.

These rapid-fire events raise questions that will not be answered at a leisurely pace.  The basic question is what Russia and Turkey will do now.  But there is also the question of “why now?”  Turkey has been closely tracking Russian air activity for weeks.  The two air forces have interacted at dangerous levels before; the Aviationist has a good summary here.  But today, instead of warnings and sword-rattling, the Turks shot the Russian aircraft down. Continue reading “War comes home: Russia v. Turkey; Jet shootdown; Rebels attack Russian helos with U.S. TOW missiles”

Patriot missiles being removed from Turkey were hacked, given ‘unexplained orders’

Peace in our time.

(Image via Sigmalive.com)
(Image via Sigmalive.com)

There are several weird elements in the missile defense drama suddenly being played out in Turkey.  Alert readers won’t be surprised that two of those weird elements are Russia and Iran.

Seemingly out of the blue, Germany announced this past weekend that the German contingent of two Patriot missile batteries, deployed to Turkey as a defensive measure in January 2013 – against the threat of Syrian Scuds – would be withdrawn ahead of schedule.

Within hours, the U.S. had made the same announcement about the American Patriot missiles that were deployed to Turkey at the same time.  The German and American contingents represent four of the five NATO Patriot batteries now in Turkey (the fifth is from Spain).  The four units will be gone by the end of 2015. Continue reading “Patriot missiles being removed from Turkey were hacked, given ‘unexplained orders’”

Bizarre ‘anti-ISIS’ operating zone planned on Syrian border has U.S. military stumped

Interesting times.

Turkish tank patrols the border near Suruc.  (Image: AP via EKurd)
Turkish tank patrols the border near Suruc. (Image: AP via EKurd)

What lies beyond surreal?  Whatever it is, America is about to probe its depths, unless something intervenes to prevent the implementation of a U.S.-Turkish accord that would allow American forces to use Turkish air bases for strikes in Syria.

The U.S. has for months been seeking permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik air base in the campaign against Islamic State.  Incirlik is a Cold War-era base from which U.S. air forces have operated for years.  But Turkey has been selective about its use in the post-1991 period (prohibiting American use, notoriously, for the 2003 invasion of Iraq).

After the terrorist attack on the border town of Suruc, Turkey on 20 July – linked to Islamic State – Obama and Erdogan reportedly agreed in a phone call to bring Turkey into the campaign against ISIS, and begin operating American military aircraft in that fight from Turkish bases. Continue reading “Bizarre ‘anti-ISIS’ operating zone planned on Syrian border has U.S. military stumped”

An Iranian nuclear weapons program in what used to be ‘Syria’

Enlarging the footprint of the prohibited and frozen Iranian nuclear program.

Hezbollah: the victors of the Battle of Qusayr - site of a suspected nuclear facility - celebrate in 2013. (Image via Mondoweiss)
Hezbollah: the victors of the Battle of Qusayr – site of a suspected nuclear facility – celebrate in 2013. (Image via Mondoweiss)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!