The Path to World War III

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Written by Philip Giraldi; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Risky Israeli behavior threatens everyone

The minimal U.S. press coverage accorded to last Monday’s shooting down of a Russian intelligence plane off the coast of Syria is, of course, a reflection both of lack of interest and of Israel’s involvement in the incident. If one had read the New York Times or the Washington Post on the morning after the shoot-down or watched the morning network news it would have been easy to miss the story altogether. The corporate media’s desire to sustain established foreign policy narratives while also protecting Israel at all costs is as much a feature of American television news as are the once every five minutes commercials from big pharma urging the public to take medications for diseases that no one has ever heard of.

The Path to World War III

Israel is, of course, claiming innocence, that it was the Syrians who shot down the Russian aircraft while the Israeli jets were legitimately targeting a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” Seeking to undo some of the damage caused, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences. He also sent his air force chief to Russia on Thursday to provide a detailed report on what had occurred from the Israeli perspective.

But that story, however it will be spun, is inevitably only part of the tale. The narrative of what occurred is by now well established. The Russian aircraft was returning to base after a mission over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast monitoring the activities of a French warship and at least one British RAF plane. As a large and relatively slow propeller driven aircraft on a routine intelligence gathering mission, the Ilyushin 20 had no reason to conceal its presence. It was apparently preparing to land at its airbase at Khmeimim in Syria when the incident took place. It may or may not have had its transponder on, which would signal to the Syrian air defenses that it was a “friendly.”

Syrian air defenses were on high alert because Israel had attacked targets near Damascus on the previous day. On that occasion a Boeing 747 on the ground that Israel claimed was transporting weapons was the target. One should note in passing that Israeli claims about what it is targeting in Syria are never independently verifiable.

The Israelis for their part were using four F-16 fighter bombers to stage a surprise night attack on several sites near Latakia, close to the airbase being used by the Russians. They came in from the Mediterranean Sea and clearly were using the Russian plane to mask their approach as the Ilyushin 20 would have presented a much larger radar profile for the air defenses. The radar systems on the F-16s would also have clearly seen the Russian plane.

The Israelis might have been expecting that the Syrians would not fire at all at the incoming planes knowing that one of them at least was being flown by their Russian allies. If that was the expectation, it proved wrong and it was indeed a Syrian S-200 ground to air missile directed by its guidance system to the larger target that brought down the plane and killed its fourteen crew members. The Israelis completed their bombing run and flew back home. There were also reports that the French frigate offshore fired several missiles during the exchange, but they have not been confirmed while the British plane was also reportedly circling out of range though within the general area.

There was also a back story. The Israelis and Russian military had established a hotline, similar to the one that is used with the U.S. command in Syria, precisely intended to avoid incidents like the Ilyushin shoot-down that might escalate into a more major conflict. Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was irate. It saw the exploitation of the intelligence plane by the Israelis as a deliberate high-risk initiative. It warned “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was more conciliatory, saying the incident was a “chain of tragic circumstances.” He contrasted it with the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian warplane in 2015, which was planned and deliberate, noting that Israel had not actually attacked the Ilyushin. Though the Putin comments clearly recognize that his country’s relationship with Israel is delicate to say the least, that does not mean that he will do nothing.

Many Israelis are emigres from Russia and there are close ties between the two countries, but their views on Syria diverge considerably. As much as Putin might like to strike back at Israel in a hard, substantive way, he will likely only upgrade and strengthen the air defenses around Russian troop concentrations and warn that another “surprise” attack will be resisted. Unfortunately, he knows that he is substantially outgunned locally by the U.S., France, Britain and Israel, not to mention Turkey, and a violent response that would escalate the conflict is not in his interest. He has similarly, in cooperation with his Syrian allies, delayed a major attempt to retake terrorist controlled Idlib province, as he works out a formula with Ankara to prevent heavy handed Turkish intervention.

But there is another dimension to the story that the international media has largely chosen to ignore. And that is that Israel is now carrying out almost daily air attacks on Syria, over 200 in the past 18 months, a country with which it is not at war and which has not attacked it or threatened it in any way. It justifies the attacks by claiming that they are directed against Iran or Hezbollah, not at Syria itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that any peace settlement in Syria include the complete removal of Iranians, a demand that has also been repeated by the United States, which is also calling for the end to the Bashar al-Assad government and its replacement by something more “democratic.”

Aggressive war directed at a non-threatening country is the ultimate war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunals that followed after the Second World War, yet the United States and its poodles Britain and France have not so much as squeaked when Israel kills civilians and soldiers in its surprise attacks against targets that it alone frequently claims to be linked to the Iranians. Washington would not be in much of a position to cast the first stone anyway, as it is in Syria illegally, bombs targets regularly, to include two major cruise missile strikes, and, on at least one occasion, set a trap that reportedly succeeded in killing a large number of Russian mercenaries fighting on the Syrian government side.

And then there is the other dimension of Israeli interference with its neighbors, the secret wars in which it supports the terrorist groups operating in Syria as well as in Iran. The Netanyahu government has armed the terrorists operating in Syria and even treated them in Israeli hospitals when they get wounded. On one occasion when ISIS accidentally fired into Israeli-held territory on the Golan Heights it subsequently apologized. So, if you ask who is supporting terrorism the answer first and foremost should be Israel, but Israel pays no price for doing so because of the protection afforded by Washington, which, by the way, is also protecting terrorists.

There is, of course, an alternative explanation for the Israeli action. Netanyahu might have considered it all a win-win either way, with the Russian plane masking and enabling the Israeli attack without consequence for Israel or, perversely, producing an incident inviting retaliation from Moscow, which would likely lead to a shooting war with the United States after it inevitably steps in to support Israel’s government. In either case, the chaos in Syria that Israel desires would continue and even worsen but there would also be the potential danger of a possible expansion of the war as a consequence, making it regional or even broader.

It’s the same old story. Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support. The downing of the Russian plane through Israeli contrivance created a situation that could easily have escalated into a war involving Moscow and Washington. What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue. It is past time for Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the plug on American engagement in Syria and terminate the seemingly endless cycle of wars in the Middle East.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

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  • Black Waters

    No, it will be a nuclear winter.

    • potcracker2588

      yes…that is the plan….all for the agenda…
      A one world governmnet with jerusalem as its capital under satanic jewish leadership.And All countries that RECOGNIZE the illegal satanic entity named israel are part of the Agenda, including russia,usa,uk,eu,china etc…
      There are and were only 2 ways to fullfill the AGENDA.
      1.make israel bigger
      2.make the world smaller

      take a wild quess which one it will be.

      • FlorianGeyer

        Or make Israel a wasteland ?

        • Sinbad2

          They certainly have big egos for a country the size of a shopping mall.
          The city of Brisbane 16,000 sqkm is nearly as big as Israel 20,000 sqkm.

    • FlorianGeyer

      At least we will all enjoy an unusually hot Autumn with lovely colours and flashes in the sky :)

    • Sinbad2

      No, that’s just BS the US created.
      I’m not saying nuclear war is a good thing, but the nuclear winter BS is pure fantasy.

  • Brad Isherwood

    What now?
    US is sitting on 1/3rd of Syria and positioned to attack Iran from there.
    Trump goes to the UN and lies like Nikki Haley.

    Why does Putin/Russia not be more proactive Politically to call the US and Israel out on the
    Iran the region terrorist BS?
    Iran too is lame for weirdo Political comments with menacing stare Defence ministers or Grinning
    Offshore Banking Mullahs.

    And how about Syria hit back for God’s sake.
    Obliterate that Israhell EW mountain top Berchtesgaden on the Stolen Syrian Golan.
    Israel’s lost 1 fugging combat Jet in 6+ years of war .
    It’s a party….why would the Zio ‘s back off. ….when it all goes their way.

    Times of Israel said Putin phoned Netanyahu on Sunday to tell him Syria is getting S 300.
    WTF? …

    • Tommy Jensen

      Why Putin passive? Because Putin agree!

      • Elisabeth Jenders

        It takes two to tango – the President of the Russian Federation does not let himself be provoked, thus not playing their game.

        Revenge is a dish best served ice cold. It will certainly come at a time and in a way that will not be expected and will really hurt badly.

        • Tommy Jensen

          Not revenge with Israel. Kremlin is and has been playing their game. Thats following the logic of the passivity.
          S-400 to Saudi, China, India and Turkey, S-300 to Greece.

          But no S-300 to Iran and Syria, only when they dont need them.

          • FlorianGeyer

            If Israel attacks Russia then ALL the jews in Russia can be interned as a 5th Column :)

      • Sinbad2

        Warmongers can never understand peaceful people.

    • Turbofan

      This is all a game..

    • Sinbad2

      The idea is to win the war, not every battle.
      Everyday more of the world moves away from the USA.
      Politics is the art of the possible, Russia is breaking America brick by brick.
      The lets kill them all approach is the American way, Putin is using the Machiavelli way to defeat a much larger adversary.
      Be patient, the cracks in Americas empire are there to see if you look, but it’s not in Russia’s or the worlds interest to have the US go nuclear.

      Softly softly catchee monkey.

      • acc_

        Russian & Chinese biggest weapon aka dedollarization

    • Concrete Mike

      What is an offshore banking mullahs??

      Lots of buzz words its seems, to me.

  • NWOD

    It is past time for Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the plug on American engagement in Syria and terminate the seemingly endless cycle of wars in the Middle East.

    Not sure if Trump is a crypto-Jew or just a Jewish puppet, but, hahahahahaha! he is definitely, in no particular order, a fraud, a con-man, a liar, a murderer, an adulterer, a likely pedophile, and a war criminal. Decency, honor and integrity stop long before his door; they are not welcome in his vicinity.

    • Sinbad2

      The Trumpenfuhrer is his own kind of insane.

    • Brother Ma

      Of course he is a Jew. His paternal grandmother was Jewish,his wives are part Jewish and his daughter married a Jew. His business partners are Jewish. How Jewish do you want him to be.

      • NWOD

        In that case he would be a crypto-Jew – a Jew normally is very open and “prideful” about his tribe. And surrounding oneself with Jews in New York is not in and of itself a sign of being Jewish, though it does mean you are very supportive of the Jewish worldview.

        What evidence have you his wives were part Jews (and which ones)?

  • Jim Bim

    “It is past time for Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the plug on American engagement in Syria and terminate the seemingly endless cycle of wars in the Middle East”.

    The author should know that there are more holes in US promises than in a Swiss cheese.

  • Tommy Jensen

    “Non-Jews killing non-Jews and then they blame it on the Jews”.
    Russia allowing Israel to bomb Syrians, Syrians bomb Russians, and both put the blame on Israel.

    Riddle.Enigma: Who are the fools here?

  • RichardD

    President we’re all gonna die and Zionist Jews are a bad combination. Which is why congress passed the no war with Iran for Israel resolution by an unanimous vote.

  • DenLilleAbe

    Ceterum censeo Israeliinem esse delendam.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    The potencial of Israel for security reason is always overrated…Russia and Syrian forces&allies can destroy easily the runways of the 3 main Israeli airbases were F-16/15 are deployed….and when the airforce keep on ground..end of the power of the israeli armed forces…for other hand just one Oscar class submarine ( The Orel) with its 72 P-800 ( 600km range guide by glonass, 3000km/h, loaded in Sub) can wipe off an entire US navy aircarrier group….

    • telemetrie

      Bullshit. Israel daring behaviour is possible just because it is backed by US deep state and US nukes. It is Israel who is in charge in Washington.
      So basically Israeli army operates 11 US carriers groups and 18 US nuclear subs.
      Only IDIOT would say that Israel has not huge strike force under command.
      Army located in Israel is not important much. Anyway, even strike capability of this army should not be underestimated because it was designed as offensive, not defensive.
      This army can’t be knocked out easily and if it strikes with full force, it will be devastating.
      They have 250 jets (mainly capable and modern versions) and unknown number of ballistic missiles, probably with nuclear warheads….

  • alejoeisabel

    Clearly, Israel informed the Russian side of AFTER the Israeli air attacks on Syria.

    ” Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.”

    Israel is supposed to alert significantly before an attack, so Russian can get away from danger. This did not happen. Thus, Israel caused and is thus culpable for the shooting down of the Russian spy plane.

  • TiredOfBsToo

    I just hope that Russia, in giving Syria those S-300s has also given them the green light to shoot down aircraft violating Syria’s sovereignty, as in Israel targeting electrical power stations, infrastructure and also including ammunition warehouses used by the Syrian army to fight terrorists.

  • John Mason

    One can see the irony of Israel where the actions against them by the Nazis contributed to there executions at the Nuremberg, if another trial is scheduled then there will be plenty of jews visiting the hangman for their crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    • hope springs eternal.

      Even the figure of 6 million Jews who died during WW2 is highly exaggerated. Many of the gas chambers did NOT actually work. It’s a tale that a has a life of it’s own and keeps getting bigger with time.

  • NeoLeo

    I’m 100% sure that Israel will attack newly deployed S300 batteries (just as their MoD Lieberman said a few months ago, he’s probably behind this entire op not Bibi). So Russians have to defend Syria, or just end their operation and retreat (almost) completely. Their bases are actually very vulnerable there, they cannot fight a full war against Israel (plus all their allies/vassals including Turkey, I don’t trust them at all).

  • RichardD

    “What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue.”

    It’s called the Yinon plan, and it’s been Zionist policy from the beginning to keep the region from expelling them for their crimes.

  • Jesus

    “””As much as Putin might like to strike back at Israel in a hard, substantive way, he will likely only upgrade and strengthen the air defenses around Russian troop concentrations and warn that another “surprise” attack will be resisted. Unfortunately, he knows that he is substantially outgunned locally by the U.S., France, Britain and Israel, not to mention Turkey, and a violent response that would escalate the conflict is not in his interest. ”””

    Russia being seriously outgunned locally by US, France, Britain and Israel is a narrative that echoes MSM propaganda. On the contrary, Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah present a force to be reckoned with, that will win any limited military confrontation against FUKUS and Israel.