It was so much easier when Obama was running a military "sneakers on the ground" campaign in Iraq and Syria where there was no official confirmation of the thousands of "military advisors" engaging directly with various known and unknown adversaries. However, a recent surge of media reports by mainstream publications exposing America's illicit troops operating in the middle eastern combat zones has made a total mockery of the latest US attempt at clandestine ops, and as a result earlier today the White House was forced to admit it would backtrack on its countless promises there would be "no boots on the ground" in Iraq.
First, it was the core Iraqi Shi'ite militias who quickly denounced the planned deployment, and threatened any US special forces found on the ground with swift death: "We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq," said Jafaar Hussaini, a spokesman for one of the Shi'ite armed groups, Kata'ib Hezbollah. "Any such American force will become a primary target for our group. We fought them before and we are ready to resume fighting."
Then it was Iraq's new Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, who also rejected the need for US troops: "We do not need foreign ground combat forces on Iraqi land," Abadi said in a statement.
One wonders under what jurisdiction the Obama administration has decided to send troops to Iraq, if both the country's sovereign government and its de facto army are making it very clear that the US is not welcome.
And while we wait to find out just how Russia will respond to this very clear escalation in what is a proxy war that has now shifted from the air and the sea to its final destination, the ground, another stumbling block has emerged for Obama now that his private war in Iraq (and Syria) has been exposed to the world: Congress, and particularly members of his own party, Democrats who suddenly feel betrayed by their progressive, pacifist, Nobel-peace prize winning president.
Because as NRO adds, Carter got a hint of just how difficult it may be to sell Congress on such legislation when Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) suggested that Obama’s decision to place American fighter jets equipped "to target Russian planes" on the border between Turkey and Syria, and his stated opposition to Russian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, could lead the U.S. into a nuclear war with Vladimir Putin’s regime.
What is surprising is not that a Democrat will stand in the way of a neocon "liberal" president, who changes his political spots on a daily basis, depending entirely on the direction where the money is blowing from; what is surprising is that someone actually gets the stakes involved in the Syrian global proxy war (where the powers involved at last check include the US, Russian, Germany, France, and the UK) which as we have warned for the past year, can escalate to nothing short of a nuclear exchange. To wit:
“Russia’s installation of their anti-aircraft missile-defense system increases that possibility of — whether it’s intentional or even an accidental event — where one side may shoot down the other side’s plane,” Gabbard told Carter. “And that’s really where the potential is for this devastating nuclear war."
Dear Ms. Gabbard: do you really think Obama does not know this?
Russia announced today that it would deploy the latest version of its high-tech doomsday plane, the Ilyushin-80, which is designated for use during nuclear war or national emergencies.
“The flying command center will be able to coordinate the worldwide operations of its ground, naval, air and missile forces, including nuclear weapons, as well as the country’s satellites,” reports Debkafile.
According to Global Security, the command and control aircraft, also known as the Maxdome, “Is meant to fly the President of Russia and/or surviving authority figures and highest ranking members of the Soviet (now Russian) government to safety in the event of all-out nuclear war.”
The jet is designed to be used when command infrastructure is disrupted due to nuclear conflict and will be, “permanently staffed with senior generals, operational commanders and technicians,” according to the report.
It is fitted with an air filtration system that resists radioactive fallout as well as technology that protects against an EMP attack or a nuclear explosion.
Tensions have continued to build between NATO and the Kremlin since last week’s shoot down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey.
As we reported yesterday, Russia is now equipping its Su-34 fighters with air-to-air missiles in preparation for potential dogfights with NATO over Syria.
In the wake of Turkey’s shoot down of the Russian Su-24, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the attack a planned provocation. He went further on to suggest the US had given Turkey permission to shoot down the Jet. He explained that countries using US manufactured weapons must ask the US for permission before using them in operations. The aircraft used to shoot down the Su-24 was a US-made F-16. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that not only did the US give Turkey permission, but that it was moving the strings behind the entire operation.
Two Russian aircrafts were attacked that day, but the second was a far less publicised incident. A Russian helicopter was destroyed by the CIA backed FSA using US provided Anti-Tank TOW missiles. The helicopter was on a rescue mission to find the missing Su-24 pilots and the attack resulted in the death of a Russian Marine. Since the US backs the FSA and provided the TOW missiles which were used in the attack, they are at least indirectly responsible, if not outrightly complicit in it. But instead of apologizing to Russia, US state department spokesman Mark Toner defended the actions of the FSA. He also defended the actions of the Turkmen insurgents who shot at the parachuting Russian pilots, a war crime under the first geneva convention. Such an antagonistic position reveals that the US was not displeased by the attacks on Russia.
In the months leading up to the attack, there were several indicators the US knew it would take place. On September 3rd, the families of US staff members were urged to evacuated out of Incirlik air base in Turkey and were given until October 1st to do so. On November 3rd, the US deployed F-15 fighter Jets to Turkey which are specifically designed for air-to-air combat. Since ISIS has no planes, the target could only have been Russian aircrafts. Most significantly, on October 21st, the US and Russia signed a deconfliction protocol, in order to ‘avoid clashes in Syria’s skies’. This entailed giving the US information about where and when Russia will conduct sorties. Russian president Putin suggested this information was passed on to Turkey by the US and used to shoot down the Sukhoi-24.
Perhaps one of the most significant War hawk statements comes from the Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. In an Op-ed for the Financial times Brzezinski suggested that Obama should retaliate if Russia continues to attack U.S. assets in Syria, i.e the Al Qaeda linked rebels. Brzezinski, has experience using Al Qaeda as an asset, having been one of the masterminds behind its creation in Afghanistan. He maintains a great deal of influence and respect in US politics.
It is likely Brzezinski’s dangerous advice to attack Russia was taken on board by US decision makers. But instead of risking a direct conflict with two nuclear powers, Turkey was used as a proxy. Turkey has its own agenda in attacking Russian jets outside of the US’s interests. Turkish president Erdogan has already committed himself to an anti-Assad position far beyond the point of no return. This was over a gas pipeline deal with Qatar that is now looking more like a pipe dream. Russia has been actively fighting not only ISIS, but Al Qaeda and its affiliates who are crucial for Turkey’s plans to overthrow the Syrian government. The Su-24 was bombing the Al Qaeda-linked Turkmen insurgents, before it was shot down.
On October 8, NATO made a statement that it would defend Turkey against Russia, after a Russian jet briefly passed through turkish airspace on its way to bomb targets in Syria. Such statements may have encouraged Erdogan to take the exceptional risk of shooting down a Russian Jet under the assumption that Turkey would be protected by NATO. On November 12th, EU countries committed to pay Turkey 3 billion dollars. Interestingly this is the same amount Turkey is estimated to lose, as a result of Russian sanctions put in place in the wake of the attack. This could have been Part of NATO’s assurance to Erdogan that he would lose nothing by going ahead with the attack.
Erdogan has become increasingly frustrated, even after four years of war, the Syrian state shows no sign of collapse. It might not have been too difficult for the US to convince the desperate Turkish leader that attacking a super power was in his best interest.
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