“Something good may come out of a bad incident”, so goes the Arab proverb. And so indeed the downing of the IL20 may mean to beleaguered Syria.
It is no secret that there has been continuous tension between the two ministries of defence and foreign affairs in Russia over the last five years’ policies in Syria. Only a negligent observer could have missed the different tone of, or even conflict in, the statements made by both sides on several occasions.
At the heart of the tension is a simple fact. Lavrov and his gang of Zionist sympathisers want to maintain the status quo of appeasing International Zionism in order for the latter to let Russia into the Club. On the other side Shoigu and his generals have the duty of seeing that the security of their men and the interests of Russia are secured. But those two objectives have turned out to be incompatible. You cannot appease International Zionism and at the same time protect Russian interests simply because the former is out to destroy, weaken or contain the latter.
What has been presented by the media as a civil war in Syria is in reality much more sinister, and the Russian generals are the first to experience that. It is in fact a well-coordinated attack by the USA, UK, France and Israel on Syria using the scums of Muslims gathered from all over the world. Had the battle been between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the armed gangs, the battle would have been over a long time ago with the SAA defeating all the aliens put together. However, the well-planed attack on Syria hides the reality which is that Syria has been subjected to the sophisticated war technology of the Western attackers employing the latest in air power and electronic warfare that enhances the capacity of the fighting gangs on the ground and hinders that of the SAA. The Russian generals on the ground in Syria have been subjected to this reality while being denied the right to act even when Russian life is at risk as happened when a hundred or so Russians were killed on the way to Raqa by a US attack and Russia used a fig leaf to cover the shame by declaring that they were Russian irregulars. Imagine how the reaction had one hundred US citizens been killed in an air attack anywhere in the world!
The loss of the IL20 was no simple incident or loss. The Russian generals know very well that the plane was targeted by the US/Israel, despite all the denials. The attackers knew that the IL20 was carrying some of Russia’s finest military specialists who were carrying out a very special mission. They were not just ordinary 15 officers that could be replaced easily. Every life is precious, but the loss of highly specialized members of the armed forces is a serious blow.
Thus, following the downing of IL20, the tension between the two ministries rose dramatically. The Russian generals told their minister that they have had enough of the garbage they were getting from Lavrov’s men. In a very heated confrontation between Shoigu and Lavrov in the Kremlin, President Putin heard in no uncertain language that his generals cannot accept anymore to be so exposed to attacks and interference with their presence by so many daily intrusions from the US/UK/France/Israel. President Putin heard the argument and was convinced that the rules of engagement had to change.
The first public announcement came from the generals that Russia was going to supply Syria with the S-300 system which was agreed in 2011 but shelved in 2013. No sooner had the generals told us about the decision to honour the agreement of 2011, than one of Lavrov’s men came on air to tell us that they were going to explain to Israel the meaning of delivering the S-300 to Syria. A naïve observer would simply ask: “Excuse me but why do you need to explain to Israel the need of Syria to defend itself? It is not Syrian fighters which are attacking Haifa but Israeli bombers attacking Latikkia”. That is what you would ask if you are indeed naïve and not as understanding as Lavrov’s men are!
How far the rules of engagement have changed is not clear until it is tested, but it is irrefutable that the rules have changed despite the attempt of Lavrov’s men to give it a different interpretation in the continuous waffle they dish out to the media. As none of them understands military strategy, tactics or the technology of modern warfare, it would seem prudent that the least they talk about the matter the more respect they will receive. They should leave the matter of defending Russia and its citizens to those whose job it is.
The truth, as any truth could be gathered from observing history, is that following the decision in 2011 to provide Syria with a simple air defence system of S-300, International Zionism managed through its sympathizers in Lavrov’s men to shelve the delivery arguing that, among other things, it may lead to the death of some Russian pilots flying, Israeli flag- carrying, US built fighters. In order to consolidate that achievement, the Zionists went on, in 2015, to conclude an agreement with Russia regarding an understanding on Israel’s rights to operate in the Syrian airspace. As is normal in such agreements, we do not know its terms and we may never know. But by observing what has happened in the last three years it seems that it enables Israel to freely fly over Syria and attack any target, even in Damascus, that it alleges to have Iranian or Hezbollah fighters or equipment; irrespective of how such an agreement would make Putin’s repeated statements, about protecting Syrian sovereignty and integrity, sound!
Delivering the S-300 alone will not change much in the balance and may not lead to limiting the air aggression of the Western war on Syria, which has the technology to side-step the effectiveness of S-300 through its stealth fighters and advanced electronic warfare. In facing the onslaught of Western technology, Syria needs more than just a simple air defence system like the S-300. It needs three factors to be linked to any air defence system. Firstly, it needs a fully integrated air defence system that shares tracking, information and command for all monitoring and defence batteries across the Syrian airspace. Secondly and more importantly, it needs the anti-jamming, or the counter jamming system, that takes care of the jamming systems employed by all Western fighters. Thirdly, it needs a passive detecting system which replaces standard Radar technology enabling the system to detect stealth-technology fighter which are invisible to standard Radar.
An isolated battery of S-300 will be vulnerable to an attack from a Western fighter which may carry out an attack while either being stealth F-35, whose delivery to Israel is being speeded up to, or with the latest jamming devices capable of confusing the detecting capacity of S-300.
To cut a long story short and save the reader the trouble of dealing with details of technology, it suffices to sum up by stating that Russia has to make a fundamental shift in its strategy if the rules of the war in Syria are to change. A political decision has to be taken which involves the potential of confronting the Western alliance (and it calls itself an Alliance albeit against terrorism) should that alliance decide to carry on with its war on Syria with the declared objective of ‘regime change’. It is not a light decision to make, but it seems to be the only route available to Russia because the alliance has declared that it has no intention of leaving Syria through a series of totally unjustified arguments which make a mockery of international law.
We have to wait to see. Should Russia decide to change its strategy in allowing Syria to defend itself properly, which will protect its sovereignty and eliminate terrorism on its soil, then it will have to provide Syria with the three air defence elements cited above. If not, then the supply of the air defence system of S-300 may have no more than a cosmetic effect on the war against Syria with a potential of further losses of Russian lives.