Syria Right to Hit NATO Warplanes
By Finian Cunningham
December 09, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Sputnik"
- Syria is ready to deploy the fearsome S-300 air-defence system
supplied by its Russian ally. The anti-aircraft surface-to-air
missiles will give Syria control over its territory and the
capability to shoot down any intrusive warplane or missile. NATO
shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet by a Turkish F-16 two weeks
ago has given urgency to installing the air-defence system. It is
as much in Russia’s interest as it is in Syria’s to have air cover –
and the S-300, and its newer generation, the S-400, are reckoned
to be the best technology in the world for that job.
“It’s a top-of-the range weapon”, says the British
defence publication, IHS Jane’s, probably surpassing the American
Patriot missile system. The Russian-made S-300 can take out any
modern fighter plane or missile, including Cruise missiles, at a
range of up 150 kilometres and an altitude of 27 kilometres.
According to a senior officer at the Syria-Russia
joint military operations room in Damascus, the mobile S-300 is
ready for deployment at various locations across the country.
Translated from Arabic language Alrai Media (thanks
to the reliable Fort Russ Russian news site), the senior Syrian
officer at the operations room is quoted as saying: “Soon Syria will
announce that any country using the airspace without coordinating
with Damascus will be viewed as hostile and [we] will shoot the jet
down without warning. Those willing to fight terrorism and
coordinate with the military leadership will be granted safe
This may seem like a dangerous escalation.
American fighter jets have been bombing Syrian territory
since September 2014, having carried out thousands of air strikes
allegedly against the Islamic State (IS) terror group (also known
by its Arabic name Daesh).
Since the Paris terror attacks last month, France
has stepped up its air strikes in Syria too. In the past week,
Britain and Germany parliaments have voted for their air forces
to join the other NATO members in aerial operations. The US-led
bombing coalition in Syria also includes Turkey, Saudi Arabia and
Russia is the only country whose military aircraft
are legally deployed in Syria because Moscow has the full consent
of the Syrian government. All the others do not have consent
So we have at least seven foreign powers deploying
their warplanes to bomb Syrian territory – all in violation
of international law.
It is irrelevant whether the US-led alliance claims
to be fighting terrorists, or whether they claim it is in
“self-defence” as France, Britain and Germany are. The Germany
justice minister Heiko Maas, speaking after the Bundestag voted
for military action this week, claimed that the United Nations
Security Council resolution passed last month in the wake of the
Paris attacks makes the German intervention legal. That UNSC
resolution does not specifically sanction military action.
In any case, the ultimate legal criterion is the
position of the Syrian state authorities. Western governments and
their media have done everything to discredit, demonise and
delegitimise the Syrian government. That’s part of the US-led
criminal enterprise for regime change in Syria. But the fact
remains, Syria is a sovereign state fully entitled the legal rights
of all other UN members.
If the Syrian government of President Bashar
al-Assad – which is the internationally recognised governing
authority of Syria and retains its seat at the UN – does not consent
to foreign military intervention, then that intervention is illegal,
as Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly pointed out.
Syria, with the S-300 missile system supplied
by its Russian ally, now has the technical means to defend its
borders and airspace from all intruders. It also has the legal right
to defend the inviolability of its territory. After all, US
President Barack Obama invoked this right with regard to Turkey
after the shoot-down of the Russian Su-24. Obama said Turkey had
“every right to protect its skies” (even though the evidence shows
that the Russian fighter jet did not breach Turkish territory).
In other words: what’s good for Turkey is good
for Syria, as for any other nation.
Now, some might say it is a reckless move for Syria
to train its skies with the powerful S-300. If a US, French, British
or German warplane is shot down then that may ignite a full-on war
with the American NATO military alliance. Russia would inevitably be
dragged into the fight, which could slide into a world war
between nuclear powers.
But hold on a minute. That logic amounts to the US
and its allies using such fear as a weapon to disarm others and
to prevent sovereign states from exercising their rights.
Such a dynamic is a blank cheque for powers
to bully and oppress others.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin has said time
and again, the issue is one abiding by international law. Without
respect for international law then the world resorts to the law
of the jungle and barbarism, as Putin said in his recent state
of the nation speech.
What we have seen in recent years since the US-led
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001-2003 is the wholesale erosion
of sovereignty. This has involved the overt deployment of military
force and the covert use of “asymmetric war”, says American
political analyst Randy Martin (who writes at
“The use of proxy military
force by the US and its NATO allies has been seen in regime-change
operations in Libya, Syria and Ukraine, combined with media
propaganda campaigns and economic sanctions,” says Martin. “A key
strategy here by the Washington-led powers is to erode sovereign
rights of designated enemy states.”
The deployment of so-called Islamist terror groups
to destabilise Syria as with neo-Nazi paramilitaries in Ukraine is
all part of the West’s asymmetric warfare.
For whatever reason, the US bombing coalition is
claiming that it is combating the IS jihadists in Syria. However,
the evidence shows that Western “combat” efforts in Syria are very
late in coming and not very effective, indicating a lack
of commitment to genuinely defeat the terror network.
There is also reason to believe that the NATO rush
to bomb IS oil smuggling routes in Syria is really motivated by a
need to cover up the tracks of Western collusion with the terror
groups. The American CIA and British MI6, along with Turk military
intelligence, have been implicated in running the terror “rat
lines”. Russian intelligence is lifting the lid on this sordid
Western air strikes without the approval of the
Syrian government are not only illegal, they lack credibility
in their stated aim.
But either way, the imperative here is that Syria
re-establishes its sovereignty and the principles of international
law. If Syria is lost, then Western state sponsored banditry and
terrorism will only escalate. Russia is already being targeted
by the West’s asymmetric warfare, as is Iran and China.
Therefore, a line has to be drawn. And
with Russia’s military support, Syria has the power to do just that.
From now on, NATO warplanes violating Syrian territory should be put
on notice. Keep out or get shot down.
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