Russia warns strikes against Syria may lead to war
Alex Lantier, WSWS, Oct 10 2016
In a sign that the Syrian conflict risks escalating into war between the world’s major nuclear-armed powers, Sergei Lavrov warned yesterday against NATO air and missile strikes on its forces and allies in Syria, stating that Russia would respond militarily. Lavrov referred to media reports that Pindostan plans to bomb Syrian or Russian forces inside Syria. He said:
This is a very dangerous game, given that Russia, being in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government of this country and having two bases there, has air defense systems there to protect its assets.
Moscow also sent nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to the Russian Baltic city of Kaliningrad late Friday. From Kaliningrad, the missiles can strike targets, including NATO bases, across Poland and the Baltic republics. Russian Defense Ministry officials said the missiles were loaded onto a freighter in the Baltic Sea “right under a Pindosi reconnaissance satellite” to monitor its response and make clear to the Pentagon that the missiles were en route to Kaliningrad. Leaks to Pindo papers including the WaPo last week revealed that Pindo boxtops are discussing launching an attack on Syrian government forces behind the backs of the Pindo sheeple. While a handful of press reports have emerged on the leaks themselves, a deafening silence prevails in Pindo and Euro media on the danger and the consequences of such an escalation. On Wednesday, the WaPo’s Josh Rogin wrote:
Officials from the State Dept, the CIA and the JCoS discussed limited military strikes against the regime … Options under consideration, which remain classified, include bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships, an administration official who is part of the discussions told me. One proposed way to get around the White House’s long-standing objection to striking the Assad regime without a UNSCR would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment, the official said.
In a 2013 speech to Wall Street bankers leaked by WikiLeaks, Hillary Clinton said imposing such a “no-fly zone” would entail mass civilian casualties:
To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk, are going to kill a lot of Syrians.
After last month’s bombing in Deir ez-Zor killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded 100, it must be assumed that Pindosi raids would aim to cause massive Syrian military casualties as well. Even before Lavrov made his remarks, Russian military boxtops responded to leaks like the WaPo report by warning Pindo boxtops that they risked provoking a major war. Russian Defense Ministry spox Gen I Konashenkov said:
Any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen. Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a straight line the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to. And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of invisible jets will face a disappointing reality. Russian forces will presume Pindo strikes are hostile, and locate and destroy Pindo fighters over Syria, including stealth aircraft. Of particular concern is information that the initiators of such provocations are representatives of the CIA and the Pentagon, who today are lobbying for kinetic scenarios in Syria. (We recommend a) thorough calculation of the possible consequences of such plans.
This remark is chilling. While Konashenkov did not say it, the significance of Moscow’s remarks is clear: implementing Pindo plans signifies a military clash with Russia, and the possible consequences of such a clash include escalation into a full-blown nuclear war that would kill billions of people. The diplomatic arrangements that for a time stabilized relations between NATO and Russia in the period after the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the USSR in 1991 have collapsed. As Moscow apparently concludes that it has no other option but to prepare for war if Washington and its NATO allies decide to launch it, working people around the world are emerging as the sole social constituency for opposition to a catastrophic war. The driving force in the war crisis is the aggressive policy of the NATO imperialist powers, led by Pindostan. Russia’s emergence as an obstacle to unrestrained Pindo-NATO wars in the Middle East, opposing a planned NATO war in Syria in 2013, is totally unacceptable to Washington. Now, as NATO’s AQ-linked Islamist proxies in Syria face defeat around Aleppo, factions of the Pindosi state are openly calling for launching a war to save them. Last month, JCoS Dunford indicated his support for imposing a “no-fly zone” over Syria to the Pindosi Senate, adding that this “would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia.” Last week, Army CoS Gen M Milley mentioned Russia and China as enemies, and directly addressed them, declaring:
I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm … The Pindostani military, despite all of our challenges, despite our tempo, despite everything we have been doing, we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before! Make no mistake about that!
While the NATO powers bear central responsibility for the crisis in Syria, the response of Russia’s post-Soviet capitalist oligarchy is also reckless and reactionary. Incapable of and hostile to appealing to international opposition to war in the working class, it aimed to use its military strength to deter Pindo-NATO escalation in Syria and to negotiate a deal with the imperialist powers. This policy has utterly failed. Instead, the Kremlin’s oscillations between begging Washington for a deal and escalating military action inside Syria have drawn it into a deepening confrontation with NATO which now threatens to unleash a major military conflict. Russia’s missile deployment to Kaliningrad is a signal to Faschinstein and its European vassals that Moscow not only believes that war is a very real possibility, but anticipates that such a war would rapidly spread from Syria to Europe. NATO has deployed tens of thousands of troops near Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe since backing the coup in Ukraine in 2014. Lavrov said this posed an intolerable threat to Russian national security. He said:
We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances, the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of Pindo policy toward Russia. It’s not rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps which really concern our national interests and endanger our security. NATO enlargement, NATO military infrastructure next to our borders … and the deployment of a missile defense system, these are all a display of unfriendly, hostile actions.
Moscow was outraged in particular by Adm (retd) Kirby’s threat that if Russia did not obey Pindosi orders to retreat from Syria:
(Islamist groups could) expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft.
In this context, Kirby’s subsequent observation that Faschinstein can influence “some” opposition militias in Syria had the character of a threat. As CIA weapons reach the armories of Nusra in Aleppo, it is clear that if Moscow simply let the Syrian regime fall to the Islamist opposition, Russia could soon find itself targeted for the type of Islamist operations NATO is currently aiming at Syria. This has apparently persuaded Moscow, at least for now, to risk an all-out confrontation with Pindostan in a desperate attempt to deter NATO military action against Syria and Russia.
Russia says Pindosi actions threaten its national security
Maria Kiselyova, Reuters, Oct 9 2016
Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday he had detected increasing hostility towards Moscow and complained about what he said was a series of aggressive steps that threatened Russia’s national security. In an interview with Russian state TV, Lavrov made it clear he blamed the Obama administration for what he described as a sharp deterioration in ties. Lavrov told Russian state TV’s First Channel:
We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances when it comes to the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of Pindosi policy towards Russia. It’s not just a rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps that really hurt our national interests and pose a threat to our security.
With relations between Moscow and Washington strained over issues from Syria to Ukraine, Lavrov reeled off a long list of Russian grievances against Pindostan which he said helped contribute to an atmosphere of mistrust that was in some ways more dangerous and unpredictable than the Cold War. He complained that NATO had been steadily moving military infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders and lashed out at Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis. He also said he had heard that some policy-makers in Washington were suggesting that Obama sanction the carpet-bombing of the Syrian government’s military airfields to ground its air force. He said:
This is a very dangerous game given that Russia, being in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government of this country and having two bases there, has got air defense systems there to protect its assets.
Lavrov said he hoped Obama would not agree to such a scenario. Russia suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium earlier this month in response to what it said were “unfriendly acts.” Lavrov said both countries had the right to pull out of the treaty in the event of “a fundamental change in circumstances.” He said:
The treaty was concluded when relations were normal, civilized, when no one was trying to interfere in the nation’s internal affairs. That’s the fundamental change of circumstances.
Russia says French draft would have protected militants
Maria Kiselyova, Reuters, Oct 9 2016
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday a draft French UNSCR on Syria would have helped Islamist militants in the Aleppo area by protecting them from aerial bombing. In a statement, the ministry also said the French text was politicized and one-sided. Russia on Saturday vetoed the resolution, which demanded an end to air strikes on Aleppo and military over flights. The ministry said:
An explicit attempt was made, by banning flights in the Aleppo area, to provide cover for the terrorists of Jabhat Al-Nusra and associated militants.
Russia dismisses hacking accusations
Nikita Vladimirov, The Hill, Oct 8 2016
Russia on Saturday dismissed the Pindosi government’s official accusation that the Kremlin hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the accusation is nothing but a Pindosi attempt to created “unprecedented anti-Russian hysteria.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said:
This whipping-up of emotions regarding ‘Russian hackers’ is used in the Pindosi election campaign, and the current Pindosi administration, taking part in this fight, is not averse to using dirty tricks.
The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of hacking the DNC and other servers in a possible attempt to tamper with Pindo elections. The DHS & ODNI said in a joint public statement:
We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
Ryabkov said in response:
There is no proof whatsoever for such grave accusations. (They are) fabricated by those who are now serving an obvious political order in Washington, continuing to whip up unprecedented anti-Russian hysteria.
Following the formal accusation from Washington on Friday, Pindo boxtops confirmed that Moscow was moving some of its nuclear-capable equipment to a geographically isolated Russian territory in Europe in a possible show of force.