The neo-cons have finally got what they wanted: direct engagement between U.S. armed forces and the Syrian airforce. But while the Western establishment, including the mainstream media and even NGOs like Amnesty International, cheer enthusiastically from the sidelines, it may be worth recalling what U.S. General Joseph Dunford, the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in testimony six months ago about the potential ramifications of engaging Syrian air defences:
“Right now, for us to control all the air space in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That’s a pretty fundamental decision that I’m certainly not going to make” (see below for footage of the full exchange)
But President Donald Trump just did, and with majority support from both sides of the aisle. In so doing he poked the world’s most nuclear armed bear right in the eye. The response from the Kremlin was as swift as it was menacing. Russian President Vladimir Putin “regards the strikes as aggression against a sovereign nation,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, noting that the president believes the strikes were carried out “in violation of international law, and also under an invented pretext.”
Relations between Russia and the U.S. and NATO have soured to the point of curdling in recent years, thanks largely to events in Ukraine and Russia’s decision to defend the Assad government from concerted efforts by NATO and its allies in the Middle East, including, of course, their proxy ISIS forces, to replace the regime with one that is more welcome to hosting gas pipelines connecting Qatar to Europe. As Russia’s U.N. ambassador said last year, relations between the United States and Russia are probably at their worst point since the 1973 Mideast war. And that was before Trump decided to directly target Syria’s air force.
It’s worth also recalling that the U.S. has been sending thousing of fresh troops to the region in recent months. At first in December Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters the troops are only there to, “simply shoot back if somebody shoots at them.” Then last month, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the spokesman for the military coalition fighting ISIS, told reporters the US is “absolutely” in combat, saying,“Absolutely. When someone is shooting at you, that is combat, yes.”
(Syria’s air defense capacity) is getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians, So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”
So, basically we are now in wholly unchartered waters. Not once during the Cold War did U.S. and NATO forces directly engage hostile terrain where Russian forces are actively involved in defending another nation’s armed forces. All such confrontations were through proxies, such as in Vietnam. The closest we came to such an outcome during the Cold War was in the Cuban Missile Crisis when a cool-headed John F Kennedy was able to resist pressure from the U.S. Military Command to escalate tensions with Russia and risk plunging the world into nuclear Armageddon.
This time around, instead of Kennedy we have the cocksure narcissist-in-chief, Donald Trump, in the hot seat and well out of his depth. And he’s being advised by neo-con maniacs that would like nothing more than to finally put Russia, Iran and Hezbollah in their place, at pretty much any cost. The so-called Deep State, including the CIA and DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency), is also firmly on board.
In the meantime, Israel and a very powerful coalition of murky business and political interests including Jacob Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney and former CIA director James Woolsey, who’s apparently advising the Trump administration on strategic issues, have their sights set on seizing huge, recently discovered reserves of black gold in the Golan Heights, which on paper (i.e. on an official map), still belongs to war-torn Syria. And they’re seemingly willing to take us to the verge of global nuclear war to get it.