On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair, which has culminated in the downing of a Russian Il-20 on September 17th just off the coast of Latakia…

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

I will first start this article by saying that I have read, both intentionally and unintentionally (stumbled upon), lots and lots of opinions about this specific topic. The main bulk of these opinions recycle the usual blaming of Russia and offer suggestions for how things “should” have been done and “should” now be done. The consensus seems to be that it is Israel that is solely to blame, and it should thus be severely punished. However, even though Russia was lambasted by social media “experts” for the fact that the state of Israel still existed on September 18th (the day after the downing of the Il-20), the criticism of Moscow’s policy vis-a-vis Israel’s general airstrikes in Syria has been unwavering.

Examples of the criticism are:

  • “Russia doesn’t defend Syrian troops against Israeli airstrikes”;
  • “Putin doesn’t verbally threaten Bibi with retaliation should he strike again”;
  • “Russia doesn’t give Syria the S1/2/3/4/500”;
  • and so on and so forth (you get the idea).

So, let’s outline, once again, what Russia’s policy vis-a-vis Israel is in Syria:

  1. Q) Does Israel violate Syrian airspace?
    A) No.
  2. Q) Has Israel directly killed Russian troops?
    A) No.
  3. Q) Does Israel put Hmeymim in any direct danger?
    A) No.

These answers are important. Why?

    1. Israel violates LEBANESE airspace, and we all know that the government in Beirut – or more precisely, Mr Hariri – is very friendly with Riyadh. Where is Lebanon’s deterrent to make Israel think twice about flying over Lebanon? There isn’t one. Also, the core of fourth generation warfare is using simulacra to position a digital hologram over actual ground warfare in order to carve out space to manoeuvre diplomatically. So even though Israel violates its airspace on paper, in reality it can do so with impunity. I.e., Lebanon is not going to down an Israeli jet. Hence Tel Aviv’s impudence in Lebanese skies.

      I seem to recall that in February, 2018 the IDF decided to test the SAA’s air defences and came as close as they would like to violating Syrian airspace. The result? Two F-16’s were downed after dozens of S-200 missiles were fired at them. This incident was the result of Moscow giving the green light to the SAA to hit Tel Aviv on the teeth using the S-200 system. But social media “experts” were adamant that Israel had to be punished long before this. Any Israeli missile being launched towards Syria is a failure, they said.

      And it is here that we recall that Russia and Israel had an agreement in place whereby Russia would not impede Israel’s bombing of “Hezbollah compounds” in Western Syria. Why did Russia agree to this? Because these strikes achieved and still achieve NOTHING. With this non-announced agreement in place, Israel was given some limited space to play out its war against Iran, but the most important thing is that this space was a CONTROLLED environment. I.e., Russia always reserved the right to exercise its options to change the parameters of the playground.

      Now some will say that Israel should be completely shut out of Syria, and Russia is weak since it can’t implement this. Such a statement comes from the deep depths of idealism. The fact is that Russia cannot stop Israel meddling in Syria in one way or another, and doesn’t have an unlimited amount of resources to try to anyway. Not to mention the fundamental fact that Jews live all over the post-Soviet space and in Russia itself, which complicates the situation. How would those who are pro-Israel and pro-Russia react if Russia openly shot down and killed Israeli pilots? This is just one factor out of many.

      Another factor is that the zionist rats that are currently in power in Israel are only a transient phenomenon. Governments and their policies come and go. It’s perfectly possible that a leader will come to power in Israel one day who is in favour of peace with Palestinians/Arabs, in the same way that a Putin can arrive after a Yeltsin. So with this in mind, why on Earth would Russia, for example, bomb Israeli territory and kill/wound Israeli civilians/troops? Why mass punish the Israeli people just because of the actions of a bunch of Zionist crooks in the Knesset? It is idiotic at best and further perpetuates this cycle of aggression that Uncle Sam feeds off.

      Also, why jeopardise the possible emergence of a situation whereby a state of Israel can exist side by side with a Palestinian state in peace? Let’s be honest: in our lifetimes, the two-state solution is the only REALISTIC solution. I will be told that such a statement is unfair or disconnected from reality, but my response to that is: please explain to me how both the Israeli and Palestinian people can be integrated into Eurasia without bloodshed. Again, as I said, Russia isn’t interested in violence, it won’t solve anything and Trump said he’s in favor of two state solution. That’s why I use the word “realistic”. Furthermore, a two state solution can be the result of negotiations between all the major powers of the world, but mainly between US and Russia. Palestinians can be given much more territory than they currently have, but giving everything back, as romantic as it is, is simply not feasible. After all, what will happen to the Israeli people in the process of claiming all the stolen land back? Will they be massacred? If not, where will they go, and who will facilitate it? And who will enforce any return process and how long will it take to implement? Will a resolution in the UNSC be passed? And what happens when Israelis refuse to leave? They will be massacred?

    2. Israel has not, to date, directly killed any Russian troops. What happened on 17.09.18 was indirect, and there is a very big difference. And I am sure that Tel Aviv knows that this line must not be crossed whatsoever, since it will seriously threaten their own statehood, not to mention Gaza or the West Bank.
    3. Israel hasn’t yet, to date, caused any damage to Hmeymim or put the lives of the soldiers stationed there (on the ground) at risk. The incident on 17.09.2018 came very close to this, but it, all the same, did not cross this line. The consequence of this would be the same as the one mentioned in point No. 2.

So now the synthesis:

I won’t discuss the details of what happened on 17.09.18. Why? Because I consider it to be irrelevant (like how people discuss the exact temperature that the steel columns melted on 9/11). What is important is how the parties reacted to the incident. And it is here that things become interesting. In December 2017, I wrote the tweet below (part of a thread):

Take note of the expression “Russia needed as fewer names as possible on the ‘targets that the S-400 should – in the eyes of the media – shoot down’ list”. It is importantLet me explain what this means when inserted into the modern context. The S-400 in Hmeymim represents the Russian state. It represents Russia’s foreign policy. When the SAA fires SAM missiles into the sky, it represents not only the Syrian state (in the borders recognised by the UN), but also Syrian foreign policy. So, when have we really ever seen Russia fire any of its SAM systems in Syria? Yes, at militant drones. Jabhat al Nusra (or whatever it is called nowadays) is recognised by the UN as a terrorist organisation. And Russia affirms that these drones are sent from Nusrats in Idlib. I.e., the use of the SAM system in this context is completely in line with international law. And note how Russia thrusted this very fact into the face of the media in order to prevent any attempts to delegitimise the Idlib operation. This was a key factor that helped to prevent the West from treating us all to another Tomahawk show of weakness.

When the SAA fired its S-200 missiles at the Israeli jets in February of this year, was this in line with international law? Absolutely, since only Russia, Iran (IRGC), and Hezbollah were invited by Assad into Syria to combat terrorism. Hence why Russia okayed the launches. Now as I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, many social media “experts” reprimand the Kremlin because Israeli jets are not blown into pieces when they fire missiles at Syrian territory. It doesn’t enter their mind that there is a substantiated reason for this. But in order to delve into this topic, there is a need to explain what it is exactly that Russia (plus Eurasian friends) is trying to build here on this planet. For too long the West has used its airforce to firstly demolish and then vassalize sovereign states.

Using Yugoslavia as an example, the West stoked a sectarian civil war and then used the NATO airforce to steer the situation in the needed direction. Milosevic was given 2 bad options to choose from (intervene militarily or don’t). As a result, he was trapped. In Afghanistan and Iraq the US enjoyed the fruits of R2P and a crippled Russia (thanks to the CIA + Yeltsin combination!) to bulldoze statehood and install the needed political circle and economic direction. The aircraft carrier plus aircraft was a winning recipe, for now. But during all this time Russia wasn’t just sat twiddling its thumbs and waiting for some miracle to happen so that “superpower” status would arrive again. Serious work was being done to target the projected curve of development of the West’s war machine.

It was understood that the US can only exert its influence on MENA via aircraft carriers, and, where possible, by building military bases on the territory of vassalized failed states. Africa is actually one very large failed “state” that serves as a MIC “testing” terrain. It should be understood that the conception and implementation of the “Kinzhal” missile, for example, was not done on the basis of some whim or to sell weapons to make money. It was done in accordance with a very strict plan, targeting the vital “organs” of the Anglo beast.

The West (puppets of USA) was able to literally bulldoze Middle Eastern nations without facing any real resistance (the Libyan army didn’t even bring the SAM systems out of the warehouses). It is here that we see that “international law” is actually an equilibrium of the energy between “superpowers”. Yes, there is the UN charter and different treaties, but we all saw what happened in 2001/2002. We saw that definitions and concepts were very flexible, and that the US’ scheme of creating proxies, turning on them, and then removing them was almost flawless.

So how to stop this bulldozer from claiming more victims? We know that when it comes to MENA Israel calls the shots, and Uncle Sam and its EU puppets come to heel, and if they don’t, well… look at JFK. Furthermore, we’ve all heard Wesley Clark’s confession – 7 states in 5 years.

Iraq was no problem for the US to bulldoze in 2002 onwards – no other powerful nation had influence there. Somalia and Sudan is in Africa, which was brought to its knees after the USSR’s influence disappeared forever. Libya was easy to squash. But Iran, Yemen, and Syria seemingly didn’t go according to plan. Yemen has strategic ports and access to waters. It’s no secret that Iran enjoyed and still enjoys influence in Yemen, in the same way the Anglos did via their puppet Hadi. Iran developed a nuclear program, albeit a peaceful one. But it is a deterrent all the same. The Houthis are being supported by the members of “Eurasia”, and this is a) not a secret, and b) completely legitimate, since the West staged a coup first (and is feeding Al Qaeda’s presence in the East of the country) and we are now in the era of proxy warfare, since the emergence of nuclear weapons put an end to the traditional colonisation blitzkrieg. And Syria was always going to be problematic for Washington & Co because Russia already has a naval base there – in Tartus. But make no mistake, the West knew this very well, but now was the time to confront Russia in a “neutral” venue, in a “controlled” environment.

Why do I say “controlled” and “neutral”? The actual warfare is taking place thousands of miles away from US territory, and US citizens on that territory are thus not at risk (US troops are a different case). Thus, any blowback that may be incurred will have a delayed action. However, there was a need to activate a process that would gradually attack Russia’s rear. And et voila – the coup in Kiev in 2014 served as exactly this. Even knowing that Russia can potentially enter Syria, they took comfort knowing that they had the Ukraine card in play. If they didn’t do the coup in Ukraine, then Russia could enter Syria and risk very little in the process of reclaiming that “superpower” status by cementing itself in the middle of the globe, with access to important waters. Nusra and ISIS would’ve been crushed in the same way (maybe even quicker since it would be deprived of time to grow and expand).

So, in order to buy time and slow down Russia’s approach to Syria, the war in Donbass was launched. It was designed by the West in such a way that Putin would surely suffer the same fate as Milosevic, entering his troops into Donbass and starting an irreversible bloodbath. A man named Girkin, on the CIA’s payroll, tried his best to drag Russia into Donbass and to start the extermination of the Russian nation. But Putin, of course, isn’t dumb and didn’t bite on it. Instead, he engineered the Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo cauldrons, which were failsafe ways of ensuring that the West’s Ukrainian front was halted in its tracks. This resulted in the signing of the Minsk Agreements. What are they? They are the same as what the US did to Milosevic – they presented the West with 2 bad options: implement the agreements, Russia wins (collapse of statehood); don’t implement them, Russia wins (collapse of statehood).

The West had to sign the Agreements since their proxies had been encircled in Donbass and project Bandera risked being aborted early. And that, in short form, is how Putin negated the parallel process that aimed to prevent Russia from entering Syria with a lower risk level. So coming back to the key problem of the US’ bulldozing machine, the West took a gamble in Syria simply because they knew that a financial crisis is catching up with them with each passing day. Furthermore, Netanyahu doesn’t care about the consequences for the West; he wants to expand Israel in accordance with the Oded Yinon plan.

But for Russia, isn’t not just about saving Syrian statehood (note that I use this word and not Assad) and safeguarding strategic assets, it is also about shaping the next 100 years. De-dollarisation is already ongoing. But this is only one element of the greater picture. In order to counter this Anglo war machine there is a need to think laterally. By this I mean not attacking it head on, but instead flanking it. After all, the West provokes Russia so much because it WANTS a reaction. It wants to control Russia’s actions and reactions, for them to become predictable and for the room for manoeuvre to be like a sardine tin.

And it is here that we can return back to the topic of Israel’s airstrikes in Syria. Since Tel Aviv’s token airstrikes in Syria achieve absolutely nothing and de-rail nothing in the grand Eurasian scheme, this is why Russia didn’t want to completely shut Israel out. Earlier in this article I explained (see the embedded S-400 tweet) that there was a complex game ongoing whereby the West wanted to push Putin into publicly committing to firing the S-400. In the past I explained that the S-400 constitutes a philosophy and not a weapon. The philosophy is based on the notion of DEFENCE, and not pseudo R2P defence, but actual defence, against violators of international law and generally unstable/erratic actors. This actually follows in the footsteps of the very essence of what the Red Army did nearly 80 years ago, when it had the opportunity to exterminate the German nation – having the full moral right to do so, but it refrained from doing so.

The philosophy is also based on RISK. And by this I mean the now well-known expression “skin in the game”. I.e., the very foundation of international law should be based the fact that there will be consequences for one’s actions. And the UN here must be actually impartial. The problem is that the UN has been monopolised by the US (and its bullying) and its vassalized puppets for so long. The process of changing this is long, but people in general are impatient and want to eat their cake now, before they die. In other words, the S-400 embodies the notion that cooperation and diplomacy is a more effective guarantor of mass prosperity than colonisation and violent coercion. Militarily, the S-400 can act as a no-fly zone, but it is its position in the wider picture that really matters here.

This “Eurasian” project unfolding before our eyes embodies this notion of cooperation that in reality Americans have never known, since their country was founded on the back of bloodshed and spitting on the human soul. I hope I don’t offend Americans by stating this, but it’s the truth. Russia and friends want to incorporate as many nations into this project as possible, and not to make big bucks in profit, but to pull us away from this abyss that the Anglo-Saxons so badly want to throw us into.

So back to the main topic here: Israel. It’s true that Israel’s airstrikes were acting like a pest in Syria. They didn’t change anything in even the short-term, but they are a nuisance all the same, least of all because it generates this whining on the internet about “Putin/ Russia being weak”. The situation was such that if Russia downed an Israeli jet (using the tools at Hmeymim to do it), Russia would flush down the toilet all progress it has made since Putin came to power. It would be the most idiotic move imaginable and would warrant harsh criticism. Russia would become just as ugly as the Anglo Saxons are, also elbow-deep in human blood.

So, Russia instead manufactured a neat little trap for Tel Aviv. Remember what happened in December 2015? Yes, Turkey was used as a lab rat by the CIA in order to test Russia’s reactions at that moment in time, not only in Syria but in Ukraine too. We all know what Russia did – it severed the link between Turkey and its proxies in Syria and started the process of implosion. Takfiri groups were merging, disbanding, or just straight up massacring each other. The “FSA” multi-layered pyramid started to crumble. Turkey had been removed from the game. It was invited (forced via leverage of economic sanctions and the threat of ending Turkish Stream project, thus leaving Erdogan to the fate of the Gulenists) by Russia to mop up its mess in the North of Syria and end Tel Aviv’s little Rojava project. Turkey was forced to start the process of rebranding Nusra into “moderate” FSA troops and to transfer them to the “Euphrates Shield” forces. This is still ongoing today, although it’s not simple and Erdogan has problems inside Turkey to deal with at the same time.

In other words, Turkey’s room to manoeuvre was reduced in size, and not voluntarily, but because Turkey (whether it was forced to by NATO or not) tried to raise the stakes but failed to secure the needed chips beforehand. It backfired on the West, big time. Hello S-400. So now Israel has tried the same thing, essentially because it had no choice. I wrote the following on 10.05.18:

Thus, if follows from this that Russia knew that sooner or later Israel would make a mistake. And in order for the mistake to arrive, Russia needed to show patience. Does this mean that Russia waited for 15 troops to die? Certainly not. But to put things into context – 27 million Soviet people died during WW2, and it was the cost for liberation. War is war. People die in war. And troops know the danger they put themselves in when they sign up and are deployed.

Again, I stress, being outside observers who want to stop children being bombed and Anglo Saxon aggression, it is frustrating to see Israel walk all over international law and to sh*t on Syrian soil with impudence, but aggression was never the right response. The two occasions when the SAA did give Israel a little slap (February and May, 2018 – authorised by Moscow) was part of a deliberate plan to keep Israel honest; to show Tel Aviv that it risks losing much more than it gains by remaining in the Syrian “game”. And so Israel gave Russia the perfect pretext to give Syria the S-300. Israeli can’t complain to Russia about this, because of behind the curtain affairs that I will not discuss here. Tel Aviv accepts its punishment, and now pressure has indeed been taken off the S-400. By the way, many social media “experts” were flapping around like headless chickens, demanding Putin to nuke Tel Aviv, then 5 hours later demanding to send every SAM system under the sun. Here is what I said immediately after the IL-20 incident:

So I guess the question that is on people’s minds is: “Why didn’t Russia give the S-300 to Syria earlier, say, in 2011?”. The answer: without the Minsk Agreements, Russia’s actions in Syria simply couldn’t be possible. I.e., the S-300 constitutes a threat to Israel. And in geopolitics the ability to use the threat that something poses as a deterrent, rather than actually using the deterrent itself, is a very powerful mechanism. Knowing that the Syrian war would last approximately 10 years, Russia milked every piece of leverage it had to influence the behaviour of the belligerent parties. One should never ever use an Ace just like that, failing to fully utilise its potential. The S-300’s time came on September, 2018.

By the way, I will say that the story with the IL-20 is extremely bizarre. The only plausible explanation, in my opinion, is that what we are told is just a narrative for public consumption. Russian troops died, and Israel stabbed Russia in the back by using the plane as a human shield, but the exact circumstances we will never know. Now Israel is faced with a choice: if it tries to bomb Syria in the same way that it has been doing, then the SAA will respond in a much stronger way than it did before (and Israel will suffer more embarrassment as a result). This takes pressure off Russia to deliver some big hit to please social media entertainment seekers.

The IDF cannot risk using the F35 and flying it into an ambush, and Lockheed most certainly won’t want the PR disaster. But now Israel will be kept honest, and the token airstrikes on “Hezbollah warehouses” will cost Tel Aviv much more than they did before. Remember  – the “multipolar order” that is so highly spoken about is, in reality, a transition away from “buying” the ability to wage war and prop up one’s economy, to cooperation and the mutual investment in economies, based on a joint vision of the future.

I guess this article can be summarised as: everything the Kremlin does is done for a reason. In the meantime, enjoy Putin’s masterclass. In order to have peace, someone has to stop shooting. Russia is strong enough to take that burden upon itself and to set the example for everyone else.

End of the war 1945 – Advance of the Red Army in the streets of Berlin, April 1945.

The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world