Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Increasingly Mysterious U.S. vs Russian Battle At Deir Ezzor In Syria

The Increasingly Mysterious U.S. -vs- Russia Battle at Deir Ezzor in Syria…

There has been some non-broadcast media discussion about a battle that took place in Syria on February 7th, 2018.  According to the generally accepted overview, U.S. and coalition forces appear to have killed scores of Russian mercenaries, some reports put the number as high as 200.
Officially Russia has denied their troops were engaged in the failed attack against U.S. and coalition forces; however, actions by Russia since the battle seem to convey a more confirming message.

Bloomberg reported around 100 Russian contracted mercenary soldiers, hired by Syria’s Bashir Assad, were killed by a coalition force of U.S. and Kurdish forces in what would easily be the deadliest clash between Russians and Americans since the cold war.
More than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base held by U.S. and mainly Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. The U.S. official put the death toll in the fighting at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured, but was unable to say how many were Russians. (link)
The contracted mercenaries are likely from a Russian company Wagner, similar to the U.S. company Blackwater.  Because they are not officially Russian soldiers there’s a great deal of built in plausible deniability.   As Bloomberg also noted: ““This is a big scandal and a reason for an acute international crisis,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat and lawmaker who’s now an independent political analyst. “But Russia will pretend nothing happened.””

The official response from U.S. Central Command released immediately afterward: Feb. 8, 2018 – Release # 20180208-01 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SOUTHWEST ASIA – Syrian pro-regime forces initiated an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters Feb. 7.
Coalition service members in an advise, assist, and accompany capacity were co-located with SDF partners during the attack eight kilometers east of the agreed-upon Euphrates River de-confliction line.
In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition’s defeat-Daesh mission.
The Coalition remains committed to focusing on the defeat-Daesh mission in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and asserts its non-negotiable right to act in self-defense. (link)

The bottom line is Bashir Assad, Russia and Iran are working together in Syria to keep Assad in power.  A military force within of that nexus, mostly paid Russians, attacked a U.S. protected compound with tanks, artillery, mortars and rockets.

The U.S. responded with overwhelming air power (drones, B-52 bombers, F-15 fighter jets, Apache helicopters and AC-130 gun ships), raining down precision-guided munitions upon the enemy assault battalion (300 – 500), while disabling their communications capability, for approximately three hours.   When the dust settled around 200 Russians were dead and hundreds wounded.

That was a jaw-droppingly sneaky and aggressive action by the technically ‘unofficial’Russians; and an even more stunning response by the official U.S. military [Trump ROE].
The aggressive pro-Assad group (“unofficially Russian military”) was officially stomped into the sand.  Therein we discover the reason for the entire episode to be kept on the down-low by the Russian government.
The Russian Government cannot be public or protest the response because technically the Russian government must pretend they had nothing to do with it.  Simultaneously, the U.S. government cannot be public or protest the Russian attack because technically they too must pretend the Russian government had nothing ‘officially’ to do with it.
However, to the intellectually honest international audience:  the Russians just attacked the Americans, and the Americans opened a can of whoop-a-- on the Russians in response.
Oh dear.
And notice how the limited public disclosure response was from U.S. CentCom.?  The U.S. Central Command is located at McDill Air-Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

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