[ Ed. note – Some pretty non-diplomatic words were spoken today by the State Department’s John Kirby:
“Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which will include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources, even perhaps more aircraft,” Kirby said.
He added that if the war continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.”
These things will happen, Kirby said, unless Russia “stops the violence” in Syria.
Given that the “extremist groups” Kirby refers to are being supported in large part by the US, one can’t help wondering if Kirby’s words about Russian troops going home in body bags were not intended as a veiled threat. His comment about “more Russian aircraft” being shot down are significant also insofar as reports are now emerging of Syrian terrorists being armed with MANPADS, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down planes:
The US State Department is threatening to “suspend US-Russia bilateral engagement” on Syria unless Russia rolls over and allows the proxy forces backed by the US and its allies to move ahead and complete the American-initiated regime change operation. Failing that, Russian soldiers will be going home in body bags–this is the gist of the State Department spokesman’s comments in today’s press briefing.
Maybe I’m reading too much into Kirby’s words–maybe they weren’t intended as a veiled threat. On the other hand, I’m guessing the innuendo wasn’t lost on the Russians.
An interesting analysis on the Syrian conflict and the collapse of the ceasefire has been posted on Counterpunch by Mike Whitney, whose thesis is that in sabotaging the ceasefire, the US has set the stage for its own defeat in Syria. Below is an excerpt. Follow the link to access the full article. ]
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
By Mike Whitney
“Syria is the summation of all the errors of a dysfunctional empire collapsing upon itself. History forgotten. Science ignored. Facts denied. Propaganda cannot hide that West is supporting and killing Islamists at the same time in a World War that risks escalating into a nuclear holocaust.” Vietnam Vet, comments-line, Sic Semper Tyrannis
The attack on Deir Ezzor was a flagrant act of betrayal. For the first time in the five year-long war, US warplanes targeted an SAA military outpost killing 62 Syrian regulars. The surprise attacks — which lasted for the better part of an hour and were followed by a coordinated ground assault by members of ISIS– were intended to torpedo the fragile ceasefire agreement and send a message to Moscow that the US was prepared to achieve its strategic objectives in Syria whether it had to launch direct attacks on defenders of the regime or not.
The attacks–for which the Pentagon eventually accepted responsibility–were followed by a callous and thoroughly-unprofessional tirade by the administration’s chief diplomat at the United Nations, Samantha Power. Power dispelled any doubt that either she or anyone else in the Obama administration cared at all about the people who lost their lives in the bombing raid. She also made it clear that she didn’t care if the US had violated the terms of the ceasefire just two days before critical parts of the agreement were scheduled to be implemented.
Naturally, Moscow was taken aback by Washington’s reaction, it’s blatant disregard for the soldiers they killed, and its obvious determination to sabotage the ceasefire. Having reflected on Obama’s de facto rejection of the agreement, Putin pursued the only viable option left open to him; more war. As a result, he has intensified his efforts on the battlefield particularly around Aleppo where the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and crack-units from Hezbollah have launched a three-prong attack that will dispose of the US-backed jihadists that have destroyed much of Syria over the last half-decade and displaced over 7 million civilians.
Bottom line: Having foreclosed the political option for reducing the violence, the Obama administration will now face the consequences for its rejection.