Yves here. One issue about this escalation: as most readers know, but it bears repeating: the US is framing these attacks as defending their troops, which is narrowly accurate but omits that the US presence in Syria and specifically its bases there are an illegal occupation, and as no one less that Trump pointed out, we are there to steal Syrian oil (as well as to foment regime change).
By Andrew Korybko, a Moscow-based American political analyst who specializes in the global systemic transition to multipolarity in the New Cold War. He has a PhD from MGIMO, which is under the umbrella of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Originally published at his website
Russia prefers that America and Israel don’t bomb Syria, but it also understands that they’re threatened by Iran’s military presence there, which arms proxy groups to fight against their occupations. Russia agrees with Iran that the US is occupying Syria and Israel is occupying Palestine, but it disagrees with the unconventional methods employed to oust them.
A lot of folks are concerned after the US struck two facilities in Eastern Syria on the pretext that they were being used by Iran to carry out at least 19 proxy attacks against American troops this month. Although Defense Secretary Austin said that this is “separate and distinct” from the latest Israeli–Hamas war, he also warned that more strikes might be forthcoming if Iran ramps up its attacks like some of its media surrogates suggested it might do if the aforementioned conflict continues escalating as expected.
As it presently stands, however, the US’ latest bombing of Syria isn’t all that big of a deal. Just two facilities that were allegedly storing arms and ammunition were struck in the border town of Boukamal according to the Associated Press’ unnamed military source. By contrast, Israel has bombed Syria’s two largest airports several times this month thus far, after which each were shortly placed out of service. Here are two analyses about those particular attacks that readers should review if they have the time:
* 22 October: “Russia Isn’t Expected To Stop Israel’s Strikes In Syria”
Of pertinence to this piece is that Russia never gets involved to deter or respond to any of Israel’s literally hundreds of strikes against the IRGC and its allies that it’s carried out since September 2015. That’s because President Putin agreed to a so-called “deconfliction mechanism” with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the immediate run-up to his country’s anti-terrorist intervention there. Israel was afforded complete freedom of action to respond to what it considers to be Iranian-linked threats to its security.
A similar such policy is in place when it comes to the US’ much rarer bombings of Syria on related pretexts. First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee on International Affairs Vladimir Jabarov said in April 2017 that “Russia has no intentions to use its Aerospace Forces against US missiles if Washington decides to carry out new strikes in Syria as it could lead to a large-scale war.” In both cases, Russia occasionally objects to those two’s violations of international law, but it never militarily responds.
Over half a decade since Syria finally received the long-delayed S-300s from Russia in fall 2018, it still has yet to fire a single one at attacking American or Israeli aircraft, which is arguably attributable to Russia refusing to grant it this authorization in order to avoid any escalation that could lead to a larger conflict. This informal policy is veritably in place up to now as evidenced by President Putin telling representatives of religious associations on Wednesday that his country’s goal is to prevent the latest war’s expansion.
That being the case, what just took place actually isn’t anything new, but simply the latest manifestation of the same dynamics that have been in place for years. Russia prefers that America and Israel don’t bomb Syria, but it also understands that they’re threatened by Iran’s military presence there, which arms proxy groups to fight against their occupations. Russia agrees with Iran that the US is occupying Syria and Israel is occupying Palestine, but it disagrees with the unconventional methods employed to oust them.
The precedent established since the start of Russia’s anti-terrorist intervention in Syria in September 2015 shows that the Kremlin won’t intervene to deter or respond to American or Israeli attacks there. It also opposes Iran’s unconventional ones against their occupation forces that it plans via proxy in that country since its policymakers deem them to be a reckless escalation risk. If the latest war expands across the region, then Russia is expected to continue sitting aside as those two bomb Iran in Syria.