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Russia’s S-300 play in Syria is creating MASSIVE geopolitical waves

Russia says it will supply Syria with a version of the S-300 air and missile-defense system, despite objections from Washington and Tel Aviv. The Kremlin made the decision to supply Damascus with the potent air-defense system after a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile battery mistakenly shot down a Russian Ilyushin Il-20M Coot-A intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft during an Israeli raid on Assad regime forces on September 17.

“A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks,” Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 24, as reported by the state-owned TASS news agency . “It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets.”

Russia’s Decision

The Kremlin has decided to supply the Syrian regime with the potent S-300 because Moscow blames Israel for the downing of its Il-20M despite the fact that it was a Syrian-operated weapon that brought the four-engine turboprop down. The Russians accuse Tel Aviv of using the lumbering ISR plane as cover during an air raid by four Israeli F-16 fighters on a Syrian regime target.

“I will underscore—at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training,” Shoigu said. “Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame.”

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Shoigu also noted that Moscow would send Syria advanced battle management and combat identifications systems so that Damascus’ forces will be able to ensure that they can properly identify Russian aircraft in the future. “The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces,” Shoigu said. “This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircrafts by the Syrian air defense systems.”

Indeed, while Russian president Vladimir Putin initially put the blame for the incident on the fog of war, more recently the Kremlin has said that it blames Israel for the loss of its aircraft. “The information presented by the Israeli military on the operation of their aircraft over Syrian territory differs from the conclusions of the Russian Defence Ministry,” the Kremlin said in a statement . “Russia proceeds from the premise that the actions of the Israeli Air Force were the main cause of the tragedy.”

The Kremlin said in a call to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that it believes that delivering these additional weapons systems to the Syrian regime is the only way to safeguard lives of Russian servicemen operating in Syria. “Vladimir Putin emphasized that Russia’s decisions to bolster the combat capabilities of Syrian air defenses are appropriate at this juncture and primarily intended to thwart any potential threat to the lives of the Russian military service members fulfilling the tasks of combating international terrorism,” the Kremlin said.

Irresponsible Hands

During his conversation with Putin, Netanyahu emphasized the Israeli view “that transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region, and added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests.”

Washington also waded into the issue, with National Security Advisor John Bolton calling the Russian decision to arm Syria with the S-300 a “major mistake” and a “significant escalation.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he expects to take the matter up with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Syria to Blame

Israel also reiterated that Syria is to blame for the downing of the Russian Il-20M. “Since the tragic events in the skies over Syria I have spoken twice with President Putin. I expressed to him our deep regret over the loss of the crew of the Russian plane that was brought down by irresponsible Syrian anti-aircraft fire,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet . “This morning I convened the Security Cabinet which received a full update on the recent events. The Security Cabinet ministers also share in the deep sorrow of the Russian families and the Russian people.”

However, while Tel Aviv expressed its regret over the loss of the lives of the Russian servicemen, Israel says that it has no option but to push back against Iranian encroachment. Thus, Israel will continue to cooperate with Moscow, but Tel Aviv will not back down from taking action against Iran. “We give full backing to the IDF [Israel Defense Force] in its actions to defend the state,” Netanyahu said . “We will continue to take action to prevent the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria and we will continue the security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military. . . . To this end, I agreed with President Putin that IDF and Russian military working teams would meet soon. We will do what is necessary to defend the security of Israel.”

Strategic Consequences

While the Russians have not said which version of the S-300 it will be giving to Syria, the weapons will like be the relatively modern S-300PMU-2 variant. However, given that it would take several months to train Syrian crews to operate the sophisticated S-300 system, it is a near certainty that Russian crews would initially operate the missiles.

“I think it’s unlikely that the Syrians will be ready to operate this without Russian advisers and support for the immediate future,” Center for Naval Analyses research scientist Michael Kofman told the National Interest . “There’s a degree of ambiguity there that introduces some uncertainty as to who is really operating the system.”

Indeed, given that there is no dispute that it was the Syrian military that downed the Russian Il-20M, it is possible that the Russians do not intend to ever allow Assad regime crews to operate the S-300. Given that fact that Shoigu stated that Moscow would equip Assad regime command posts with “automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces” in order to “facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense,” it is possible that the Kremlin is planning on de facto taking over the management of all Syrian air defenses. Certainly, that would ensure that poorly trained and motivated Syrian troops would not inadvertently attack friendly forces in a panic while under fire.

What’s more, the presence of Russian forces manning Syrian-owned air defenses would complicate Israeli attempts to strike at the Assad regime and Iranian forces operating inside Syria. Israel can ill afford to strike directly at Syrian targets during a raid if that would mean that Moscow’s forces were caught in the crossfire since the Kremlin will not likely let another such incident slide unpunished. As such, the presence of additional Russian forces would constrain Israel’s ability to act inside Syria.

Of course, if Russia does turn the S-300 batteries over to Syrian operators, then there is always the distinct possibility that Israel could attempt to eliminate those weapons. Indeed, Israel has the perfect weapon to do just that—its newly acquired fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. However, in the immediate future, while Syria’s S-300s are operated by Russian forces, Israel will likely be hampered in its ability to strike further targets in Syria.

Via The National Interest

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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craig watson
September 27, 2018

The F-35 is a piece of junk. Russian war planes are so far advanced over anything built by the USA that Israel is now powerless in the face of Russian armaments, as is the USA.

Tom Welsh
Tom Welsh
Reply to  craig watson
September 27, 2018

Yes, it would be quite interesting to see whether Washington would allow such an attempt. If the F-35s were all shot down it would not be a very good advertisement for future sales.

You can call me AL
You can call me AL
Reply to  Tom Welsh
September 28, 2018

It might not be a good sales pitch, but it would be funny for most of the World.

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Tom Welsh
September 28, 2018

If the F-35 was shot down, they could revert back to the age old excuse, pilot error.

Nexus789
Nexus789
Reply to  Ian
September 30, 2018

Or a birdstrike

am hants
am hants
Reply to  craig watson
September 28, 2018

Have you seen the short article, over on RI? How easy it is for Russia to view the US stealth planes, flying over Syria.

Russian Su-35 Tracked a US F-22 Stealth Fighter Over Syria With Infra-Red Sensors… https://russia-insider.com/en/russian-su-35-tracked-us-f-22-stealth-fighter-over-syria-infra-red-sensors/ri24895

Mike
Mike
Reply to  craig watson
September 28, 2018

You are smoking so good shit! Even the Russians knows that F35 and 22 are superior to anything Russia has…

7.62x54R
7.62x54R
Reply to  Mike
September 29, 2018

It will be great news when an SAA S-300 eliminates an invading Israeli F-16. Several being flamed at once would be even better.

Bob Valdez
Bob Valdez
Reply to  Mike
September 29, 2018

I think it is YOU who are smoking something, probably ‘shit’, as you put it.

Normski1
Normski1
Reply to  Mike
September 29, 2018

Really?.

Nexus789
Nexus789
Reply to  Mike
September 30, 2018

Typical deluded response from the US. The JSF has a single big and very hot engine. Will stick out like dogs nuts to IR sensors

Shahna
Shahna
September 27, 2018

MASSIVE? In capital letters?
Far as I c’n see “geopolitical response” has been pretty muted.
NO-ONE mentioned it at Trump’s special UNSC (the one he ducked away from after he told everyone how wonderful he was) – – even May didn’t take the opportunity to remind the world what dastardly bastards the Russian are.

So Bibi had a conniption – but when does he ever not?
Even Bolton forgot all his fire and brimstone and threats of outright murder.

Tom Welsh
Tom Welsh
September 27, 2018

“…during an Israeli raid on Assad regime forces on September 17”.

Correction: “…during an Israeli raid on Syrian territory, which destroyed Syrian premises and property”.

The word “regime” is inappropriate, since Mr Assad and his government have been democratically elected with large majorities, and are strongly supported by most Syrian citizens.

You can call me AL
You can call me AL
Reply to  Tom Welsh
September 28, 2018

No mention that the Israelis had their “Identification, friend or foe (IFF)”; switched off – which makes this a war.

Tom Welsh
Tom Welsh
September 27, 2018

“Israel says that it has no option but to push back against Iranian encroachment”. On the contrary, Israel has absolutely no right whatsoever to attack anything inside the borders of Syria – or any other country. Who and what the Syrian government welcomes in its country is no business of Israel or anyone else. If Syria chooses to have Iranian soldiers and weapons inside Syria, Israel has no legal right to do anything to stop it. I believe that Israel has US soldiers, technical experts and weapons systems within its borders. Does this give Syria, Iran or any other nation… Read more »

Prometheus
Prometheus
Reply to  Tom Welsh
September 28, 2018

Talking about encroachment! Who is best at that anyway? Just asked the Gazans and West Bank. Guess that includes Golan Heights too. These psychopaths need to be put to bed.

Gonzogal
Gonzogal
Reply to  Tom Welsh
September 29, 2018

The US has more than some “US soldiers, technical experts and weapons systems” on Israeli soil….the US now has a full-blown military base within Israels borders! https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2017/09/18/us-breaks-ground-for-new-permanent-base-in-israel/

Tom Welsh
Tom Welsh
September 27, 2018

“Certainly, that would ensure that poorly trained and motivated Syrian troops would not inadvertently attack friendly forces in a panic while under fire”.

You mean the way the “poorly trained and motivated” US Navy officers of USS Vincennes shot down the Iranian Airbus in 1988?

And they did not even have the excuse of being under fire.

You can call me AL
You can call me AL
Reply to  Tom Welsh
September 28, 2018

The Syrians ordered the S-300 many years ago – 2012 / 2013 to be precise.

“”I will underscore – at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,” the defense minister said.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/1022844

It would be a mistake to assume that they have not already been trained.

Richard Steven Hack
Richard Steven Hack
September 27, 2018

As usual, The National Interest plays down the ability of the S-300 systems to deal with the F-35 and other Israeli aircraft. The fact remains that these new systems will be operated by Syrians, not Russians. Shoigu directly stated that the Syrian crews were being trained before when the S-300 deal was previously on. While there may be some updated training going on, what does it matter? There will eventually be Syrian crews running these systems. The Russians are not going to tell the Syrians not to shoot down Israeli aircraft, as is implied by the article. They don’t do… Read more »

Walter Dublanica
September 27, 2018

Mike& John you are second fiddles to Vlad & Sergei . V&S rule the middle east. M&J are ruled by Israel.

Sean
Sean
September 27, 2018

Stopped reading after “Syrian regime”. Why is the Duran publishing this anti Syrian/Russian propaganda? Are you trying to lose your remaining few readers?

Vince Dhimos
September 27, 2018

We saw this back in July 2917 when we posted (http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news–analysis/look-whos-r-e-a-l-l-y-edging-out-the-dollar) “Those who are aware of this effort to settle trades in anything but dollars are mostly focusing on Russia and China as the lead actors in this movement. But despite their size and clout, these two are bit players, who would likely take decades to put a dent in the dollar’s clout. Not so the EU, which plays the lead role, doing the lion’s share of non-dollar international settlements and lending. This is precisely what Putin and Xi want, which is certainly why Putin said at the last Valdai… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
Shaun Ramewe
September 28, 2018

A good day for democracy, peace and anti-terrorism. Boohoo Zio/Saudi/Western war criminals!!

TEP
TEP
September 28, 2018

It is nothing short of despicable that Majumdar repeatedly refers to Syrian government as Syrian “regime”, or it’s legal forces as “regime forces”. Consequently I will not read any further articles by this author. The Duran really has gone downhill with some of it’s choices of contributors.

Joe King
Joe King
September 28, 2018

Why is the Syrian government always called a regime? What about the American Regime?

Mike
Mike
Reply to  Joe King
September 28, 2018

Ask the 400,000 Syrian citizens that got killed by the regime! Oups, you cant, they are dead!

fred
fred
Reply to  Mike
September 28, 2018

note to self don’t feed the troll

Zara Ali
September 28, 2018

“…that transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region, and added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests.”
Yet another example of how Zionism breeds a delusional and thoroughly dysfunctional psyche and how it kills the conscience. Each time these psychopaths pass a judgment on others it is strikingly similar to their own true image. Self-deception and self-righteousness reigns… hypocritical piety rules… leaves the common man with even the most basic common sense flabbergasted.

am hants
am hants
September 28, 2018

Thanks John Tosh, for the Jimmy Dores link. Well worth viewing. The Professor, the voice of common sense.

Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria… https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=240&v=_O2TRzA2ezk

Victor
Victor
September 28, 2018

Of course the Russians will hand over operations of the S-300s to Syria (whom they have already trained). This is a necessity from the Russian perspective. Why? Because if Russia retains control, this means that if the Israelis attack syrian territory again, the decision to shoot them down will lie squarely with Russia, not the Assad government, which of course means that if Russia shoots them down, it is instantaneous war on a wider scale, whilst if Russia does not shoot them down, then they are betraying the Syrians by allowing the Israelis full access to Syrian targets. No, the… Read more »

ZirconMach20
ZirconMach20
September 28, 2018

Syrian crews HAVE ALREADY been trained to handle the S-300s since 2013, and the F-35 would be a fat juicy target for the S-300 considering the much older S-200 ALREADY shot down an Israeli F-35 earlier this year, but which the Israelis claimed was brought down by a bird. Majumdar is either ignorant or is a cheerleader for US junk weaponry.

fred
fred
Reply to  ZirconMach20
September 28, 2018

i cant find it anymore bet there was a story about how F 22 pilots were complaining that they were painted by russian radar

JNDillard
JNDillard
September 28, 2018

It would be tragic to see one, two, or three of those new F-35’s shot down. That would pretty well put the end to the Israeli/US myth of military invincibility. With Russians operating the S-300’s, and as many as eight S-300’s to be supplied to Syria, according to Southfront.org, the bottom line is that Israel’s days of using fighter aircraft to attack Syria are over. They may still use drones and long-range cruise missiles, however.

Mish
Mish
September 29, 2018

“Poorly trained and motivated Syrian troops”? What is Majumdar smoking? At least they are better motivated than the Israel and US proxy faux jihadniks, apparently. In the quoted Russian MoD statement about the suspension of S-300 delivery, doesn’t it say that the Syrian crews had been trained already in 2013, before the delivery was suspended? And it’s far from a cinch that it was Syrian air defenses who shot that plane down. The flight trajectory suggests otherwise. The Il-20 was way far from the Israeli jets when it was shot down. The French fired one or several missiles. Where did… Read more »

stephan williams
stephan williams
September 30, 2018

What an embarrassing piece of pro-Israeli, pro US propaganda! Who does the author work for? Mossad or the CIA?

Karl
Karl
October 5, 2018

If Israel doesn’t invade Syria’s airspace and kill it’s people they will have nothing to worry about!

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