Russia has deployed 28 combat planes in Syria, US officials said Monday, and a source in Moscow said 2,000 Russian military personnel would be sent to an airbase near the main port city of Latakia, as fears grow over Moscow’s increasing military presence in the war-torn nation.
Washington in recent weeks has expressed growing concern over Russia’s moves to support Syrian President Bashar Assad and warned that militarily backing his regime risks further hampering efforts at bringing peace.
The American officials say Russia has sent 12 SU-24 attack aircraft, 12 SU-25 ground attack aircraft and four Flanker fighter jets.
“They are not going to sit around and defend the airfield or maybe even the province of Latakia,” White said. “This kind of aircraft suggests that the Russians intend to exert their combat power outside of Latakia in an offensive role.”
Moscow has been on a diplomatic push to get the coalition of Western and regional powers fighting the Islamic State group in Syria to join forces with Assad against the jihadists.
Is it ISIS – ransacking, raping and beheading its way across the region to carve out a new Caliphate and threatening terrorism inside U.S. borders – or is it Putin and his gang, cornering American statesmen in a deadly game of chess that could lead at any time to all-out nuclear war?
The answers may be conflicting, but it is clear that Obama has no idea what he is doing, and no way of containing all that confronts U.S. interests overseas. .
With Ukraine still boiling in the background, Vladimir Putin has taken things up a notch in Syria, by deploying 28 combat planes to aid Assad's regime for reasons that don't exactly rule out offensive attacks, or downplay concerns about Russian aggression…
This is just the latest and most pointed maneuver in the build-up of what has been dubbed "the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union" since its collapse.
This already complicated proxy war is taking on new dimensions, and arming up for a new phase of conflict.
Russia's military build-up in Syria has grown to include the shipment of a half-dozen highly sophisticated battle tanks — and more troops — [the] first clear sign of offensive weapons arriving in Syria," a defense official told Fox News. "This is the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union since the collapse of the USSR."
The catch, of course, is that Russia is preparing to defend Assad against ISIS – not to pick a fight with the West. But looks could be deceiving, and the schism between East and West cuts too deep to allow for a unified front against terrorism.
The maneuver is interesting, because evidence continually points towards the , as well as significant overlap between ISIS and anti-Assad rebel forces.
Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false, and deeply reactionary.
They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak, if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.
Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: "People occasionally forgive, but nature never does."
The Vatican's majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London's air (see Page 1 of Dickens' "Bleak House") and other matters.
And the Earth is becoming "an immense pile of filth"? Hyperbole is a predictable precursor of yet another U.N. Climate Change Conference — the 21st since 1995. Fortunately, rhetorical exhibitionism increases as its effectiveness diminishes.
In his June encyclical and elsewhere, Francis lectures about our responsibilities, but neglects the duty to be as intelligent as one can be. This man who says "the church does not presume to settle scientific questions" proceeds as though everything about which he declaims is settled, from imperiled plankton to air conditioning being among humanity's "harmful habits."
He leaves the Vatican to jet around praising subsistence farming, a romance best enjoyed from 30,000 feet above the realities that such farmers yearn to escape.
The saint who is Francis' namesake supposedly lived in sweet harmony with nature. For most of mankind, however, nature has been, and remains, scarcity, disease, and natural — note the adjective — disasters. Our flourishing requires affordable, abundant energy for the production of everything from food to pharmaceuticals.
Poverty has probably decreased more in the last two centuries than it has in the preceding three millennia because of industrialization powered by fossil fuels. Only economic growth has ever produced broad amelioration of poverty, and since growth began in the late 18th century, it has depended on such fuels.
Matt Ridley, author of "The Rational Optimist," notes that coal supplanting wood fuel reversed deforestation, and "fertilizer manufactured with gas halved the amount of land needed to produce a given amount of food."
Sixty-three percent of fibers are synthetic and derived from fossil fuels; of the rest, 79 percent come from cotton, which requires synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. "Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides derived from fossil fuels," he says, "are responsible for at least 60 percent of today's global food supply."
Without fossil fuels, he says, global cropland would have to increase at least 150 percent — equal to the combined land areas of South America and the European Union — to meet current food demands.
Francis grew up around the rancid political culture of Peronist populism, the sterile redistributionism that has reduced his Argentina from the world's 14th highest per-capita GDP in 1900 to 63rd today. Francis' agenda for the planet, "global regulatory norms," would globalize Argentina's downward mobility.
As the world spurns his church's teachings about abortion, contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage and other matters, Francis jauntily makes his church congruent with the secular religion of "sustainability." Because this is hostile to growth, it fits Francis' seeming sympathy for medieval stasis, when his church ruled the roost, economic growth was essentially nonexistent and life expectancy was around 30.
Francis' fact-free flamboyance reduces him to a shepherd whose selectively reverent flock, genuflecting only at green altars, is tiny relative to the publicity it receives from media otherwise disdainful of his church.
He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation's premises.
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