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Friday, April 7, 2017

Recognizing The Difference

Here we go.  The AP is reporting that Russia has suspended the communications channel used to coordinate the air force activities of the US and Russia over Syria.  The AP warns that this could be the first step on the road to war.  It's ridiculous.

Let's look first at the move made by the Russians.  No one was attacked; no shots were fired.  All that happened is that Russia shut down a communication channel.  It's about as tepid a response as one could get from Moscow.  Most likely, nothing further will be done on the American side in response, and things will end there.  Moscow gets to look like it did not accept the American attack on the Assad forces, but Assad is stuck being the target with no real response.

The AP worries now that Russian and American planes will collide in what it calls the crowded skies over Syria.  In truth, they're not so crowded.  American planes and the other coalition planes fly pretty much all the time over eastern and northern Syria to either attack ISIS or to protect the ground forces arrayed against ISIS.  Russian planes fly pretty much all the time over the western coastal regions of the country.  They are protecting the Assad forces and hitting the non-ISIS rebels fighting against Assad.  That is not to say that no American plane ever comes close to a Russian plane, but it is not an everyday occurrence.  There are also no air battles between planes.  ISIS has no aircraft; nor do the Syrian rebels.  That means that both American and Russian pilots understand that they have no need to shoot down any other plane that comes nearby.

Remember, the communications link was set up three years ago when the Obama administration actually believed the Russians when they said they were bringing forces to Syria to attack ISIS.  If Russian planes were to really hit ISIS, there would be a need for coordination.  Once there was a realization that the Russians had been not telling the truth when the claimed they would fight ISIS, the need for the coordination of forces was greatly reduced.


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