Originally appeared at MoonOfAlabama
U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing September 28 2016 – Spokesperson John Kirby
QUESTION: But what I don’t think we have heard here is, so what are the consequences for Russia if this agreement falls through beyond some interagency discussions about options that have not yet been chosen? What are the consequences for Russia other than Secretary Kerry won’t talk to them on this particular issue going forward?MR KIRBY: The consequences are that the civil war will continue in Syria, that extremists and extremists groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities, and Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources – even, perhaps, more aircraft.
The Russian Federation interpreted that not as a prediction or warning, but as a direct threat.
The ceasefire agreement fell through. The U.S. essentially blocked it by NOT pushing its proxy forces in Syria to follow its provisions. It blamed, as usual, the Russian side which had followed the ceasefire nearly to the letter.
Then this happened:
The Russian embassy in Damascus was shelled from the areas controlled by al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman militants, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.”The Russian diplomatic mission came under mortar shelling on October 3. One of the mines exploded on the embassy area near its residential department. Fortunately, no one was wounded. The diplomatic mission sustained material damage. Another two mines went off next to the embassy.” The Ministry said the shelling was conducted from the Jobar municipality controlled by al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists. “We view this shelling of the Russian embassy as a consequence of actions of those who, like the US and its allies, provoke the violent conflict in Syria, flirting with militants and extremists of different sorts.“
Russia has deployed a number of additional bombers to Syria. We do not yet know how many. But as soon as these are operational the “rebels” will face a significant larger amount of air attacks. A few weeks of intense attacks and their abilities, logistics and command and control will have been degrade to a point where they can no longer wage an organized fight.
Also deployed was a battery of S-300 air-defense systems. The specific type is said to be S-300VM, also known as Antey-2500. These are specially designed for defending against ballistic- and cruise missiles. The system will be stationed near Tartus harbor and will protect the Syrian east coast as well as the Russian fleet in the eastern Mediterranean. These also have good capabilities against attacking planes. A volley cruise missile attack by the U.S. against the Syrian and Russian airports and air forces in Syria, discussed in various U.S. papers as the start of a “no-fly zone” war, will be severely hampered by this.
Then there is this:
Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlrai#Damascus agreed & #Russia is ready to send several thousands of special forces & other various units officers this month to #Syria.
9:57 AM – 4 Oct 2016
The final decision for this was, I believe, made after the U.S. attack on Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzor which opened the besieged city to the Islamic State. That, and the current U.S. bombing of bridges in Deir Ezzor, will allow for an isolated area in which the Islamic State can survive. Russia can and will not condone that.
The U.S. wants, for lack of better ideas, play hardball with Russia. But it does not want to go to war. Russia will go along with the hardball game. It makes sure that the U.S. understands that it will indeed have to fight a full fledged war with Russia and its allies if it wants to get its way in Syria. Further arming its al-Qaeda proxy-Jihadis, as Washington is currently doing, will not change that.
Russia will not give in to U.S. demands without a very severe fight. It bets that Obama, the members of his administration and the generals in the Pentagon are, in the end, pampered cowards. It has, in my estimate, a very high chance to win that bet.