Issues Stern Warning to Washington Over Its Help for
Terrorists in Syria
- From time to time, the Kremlin uses the Sunday
evening weekly news wrap-up program of Dmitry
Kiselyov on state television channel Rossiya-1 to
send blunt and public warnings to Washington without
was one such case and we must hope that the intended
audience within the Beltway can put aside its focus
on Russia Today’s supposed fake news long enough to
read a real message from Moscow.
such message came in the week following the April 8th Tomahawk
attack on a Syrian air base that Donald Trump sprung
on the world, allegedly to punish the regime of
Assad for a chemical attack on a village in Idlib
used his airtime then to spell out the Russian
response, which he characterized as unprecedented in
scope and seriousness. It was essential to put all
of its elements together in one place, as he did,
because our boys in the Pentagon chose to downplay
one or another element in isolation, such as the
Russian installation of their Iskander nuclear
potential missiles in Kaliningrad, or the abrogation
of the deconfliction agreement relating to air space
over Syria, or the dispatch of still more Russian
vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean equipped to
sink our Navy.
generals were saying that the Russians didn’t really
mean it, Kiselyov put the whole picture on the
screen: an ultimatum to Washington to back off or
be prepared for war.
earlier message of this kind to Washington aired on
the Kiselyov Sunday news show in the week following
the supposedly accidental US and allied bombing of
Syrian army positions in the encircled eastern town
of Deir Ezzor, which killed more than 80 Syrian
soldiers and prepared the way for a renewed
offensive by the siege forces.
bombing scuttled the agreement on a Syrian
cease-fire concluded with the approval of Barack
Obama less than a week earlier by Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State
John Kerry after a 14 hour negotiating session.
shown on the Kiselyov program openly accusing US
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter of directing
“friendly fire” against Kerry and of dangerous
insubordination to his boss, the US President, which
put in question any possibility of reaching
agreements with the Americans on anything.
charge has now again re-emerged in the program that
Kiselyov presented yesterday. The Americans were
identified as the “main obstacle” to the mopping up
operation in Syria, at a time when “the light at the
end of the tunnel” is visible [Kiselyov’s
characterization], when more than 90% of the Syrian
territory is under government control.
To wit, the
United States is secretly aiding the terrorists:
supplying them with weapons, helping them to move
around, removing them from under hostile fire,
giving them the findings of aerial reconnaissance,
maps of where Syrian government forces are operating
and even the locations of Russian military
gotten to the point where it is not the military
capability of the Islamic State but the American
assistance which stands in the way of the total
liberation of Syria from terrorists.
Kiselyov, is not his own idea: it is the official
position of the Russian Ministry of Defense as
issued through its spokesman this week, Igor
Americans deny everything. But the RF Ministry
of Defense does not believe their words, relying
instead on facts. We recall in the past week how
part of the main road connecting Palmyra and
Deir Ezzor was taken over by the fanatics.
This is the main artery supplying the Syrian
forces leading the offensive from Deir Ezzor
against the remaining forces of the terrorists
in Syria. De facto this was an attack in the
rear. This was planned and facilitated by the
parallel, on 28 September a large group of
terrorists numbering about 300 men left the area
of the American base in Et Tanf at the Jordanian
border. In this area there is a refugee camp
numbering tens of thousands.
the Americans have cut off the refugee camp, not
allowing in UN or other humanitarian relief convoys,
so as to use the camp as cover, a human shield, for
the Islamic State fighters they are supporting.
the direct warning from Konashenkov: If the US
forces see these attacks by mobile units of
terrorists they are assisting as “unforeseen random
events,” then Russian armed forces in Syria are
prepared to totally destroy all such random events
directed against the zone under their control.
asks why is this happening? Did Trump decide this?
question is rhetorical. Trump is exculpated. It may
be “amazing,” but it appears that Trump was not a
party to this. More likely it is due to what he
calls sloppy management, when the military gets out
from under political control, and then on the
territory of Syria, “they start wandering around
quite on their own” and “flirting” with the
the case, says Kiselyov, the result is extremely
unpleasant both for Russia and for the American
leadership as its generals are being pushed towards
characterized the area in Syria under American
control near the Jordanian border as a “black hole”
that is 100 km long. From this black hole, like
devils escaping from a snuff box, the terrorists
come out to stage their attacks on Syrian troops and
against the peaceful civilian population.
segment moves on to a calm note, with insistence
that Putin remains confident in the victory over the
terrorists regardless of who is aiding them.
demonstrate this Olympian calm, which comes from
certainty of victory in the near future, we are
shown footage of Putin’s response to questions put
to him at the Energy Forum in Moscow at mid-week.
meantime though, we are treated to videos showing
the consequences of Russian air activity in Syria
this past week.
end, we all [presumably including the Americans]
have common interests in securing Syria and the
region against terrorists and that will bring us
together for cooperative action.”
more than 400 sorties of Russian planes based in
Syria, plus bombing by SU 134 and 135 arriving from
Russian territory that killed a dozen or more
terrorist leaders together with 50 security
personnel and seriously injured their top official,
who lost an arm and sank into a coma.
attacks destroyed the terrorists’ main underground
weapons caches amounting to a thousand tons. And an
attack by Kalibr cruise missiles launched from
submarines in the Mediterranean destroyed Islamic
State command installations and vehicles as well as
weapons supplies. This cleared the way for Syrian
troops to move to liberate the town of Meyadin.
are left unconnected, but the Russian threat is
clear: they will use their air power to eliminate
all forces standing in the way of their complete
victory including US forces on the ground near the
news round-up last night also had another segment
that relates in less direct fashion to the coming
Russian victory in Syria: this was a week when the
king of Saudi Arabia made the first state visit to
Russia in their 90 plus years of diplomatic
relations. And it was not a simple affair.
Abdulaziz Al Saud brought with him a suite of 1,000,
including business leaders, ministry officials and
senior military. We are told they came with 100
tons of baggage, including favorite carpets and
other necessities of life.
of this visit were impressive, including the signing
of contracts and letters of intent for multi-billion
dollar joint investments in industrial projects in
both countries, possible Saudi purchases of Russian
Liquefied Natural Gas from yet another mega-project
seeking financing and multi-billion dollar military
procurement, said to include the latest S-400 air
defense system that Russia agreed to supply to
Turkey a few weeks ago in exchange for a 2.5 billion
dollar down payment and which Turkey accepted
gratefully over NATO objections.
quipped to the moderator of the Moscow Energy Forum
also held during the past week that nothing is
forever, not even the U.S. hold on the Saudis.
placed the visit in the context of Russian foreign
policy in the region generally. Putin, he said, is
pursuing a policy of seeking peaceful harmony in the
Near East that takes into account the balance of
interests of all countries in the region, a policy
which is paying off:
now the only country in the world to have good
relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Turkey,
Iraq and, of course, Syria.
segments it would appear that US domination is
Doctorow is a professional Russia watcher and actor
in Russian affairs going back to 1965. He is a magna
cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1967), a past
Fulbright scholar, and holder of a Ph.D. with honors
in history from Columbia University (1975). After
completing his studies, Mr. Doctorow pursued a
business career focused on the USSR and Eastern
Europe. For twenty-five years he worked for US and
European multinationals in marketing and general
management with regional responsibility. From
1998-2002, Doctorow served as the Chairman of the
Russian Booker Literary Prize in Moscow.
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