Will the West dare to shoot down a Russian warplane over Syria?

Thirty-two years ago, Ronald Reagan allegedly made a joke during a live broadcast that the nuclear bombing of the USSR was going to start in five minutes. What about all the recent statements from Western politicians about the need to shoot down Russian warplanes in Syria? This is not a joke at all, not even an understatement. Does the West want to shoot down Russian planes in Syria because of the sufferings of Syrian civilians? Is that the reason for such threats? Or is it plain bravado?

Nuclear jokes: Who will have the last laugh?

The reason for attempts to impose a no-fly zone in Syria is clear: Russia is reviving as a world power and the West can see its might and strength in Syria. The message for such threats is also clear:  to make Putin give up on Bashar al-Assad to leave the Middle East. The idea is not new, but now we have come to the point when saber-rattling can lead to the death of our civilization. Why, for example, did Washington need to take Mosul? Does this Sunni city prefer to be under the power of co-religionists rather than the Shiite Baghdad?

This is very much the American style: first destroy the country, then let the Islamists come to power, then rush to "rescue" people from "terrorists", who then become friends. All of this, of course, is always done under the guise of good intentions, which mask the interests of American businesses. Remember the story from 1979, when Washington wanted to topple Shah Pahlavi in ​​Iran to the benefit of "leaders of the moderate bourgeois opposition." The story ended with Islamists in power (that is, those who make the Shariah the state religion). Back then, the West would trumpet a lot about the atrocities of the Revolutionary Guards that were fighting against "subversive elements." Stories would be abundant with descriptions of numerous executions without trial, murders of women and children, etc.

Afterwards, the West forgot about it, and today, the US administration considers Iran an agreeable partner, while the commander of Quds Force - an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guards - General Qasem Soleimani, is the coordinator of the operation in Mosul.

Too many people want to down Russian warplanes

Of course, shooting down Russian planes in Syria is a much more risky option than creating  difficulties for Russia by taking Mosul.

At first, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook did not exclude such a possibility in August, then US General David Goldfein said the same, official representative of the US State Department John Kirby followed some time later, and finally, a similar statement came from Hillary Clinton, who said  during the debate in Las Vegas that she supported the idea of a no-fly zone over Syria. The idea then moved to Europe and found support in the UK, where British Tory MP Andrew Mitchell held an emergency meeting of the House of Commons on the situation in Syria.

"What we are saying is very clear. No one wants to see a firefight with Russia, no one wants to shoot down a Russian plane," Mitchell said. "But what we do say is that the international community has an avowed responsibility to protect and that protection must be exerted. If that means confronting Russian air power defensively, on behalf of the innocent people on the ground who we are trying to protect, then we should do that," the top Tory MP noted at a meeting on 11 October.

Every word in this statement is a gem indeed. On behalf of the innocent people on the ground?  Mitchell and his companions can only care less about innocent people - the prime goal is to frighten Putin. Many Western news agencies have reported a lot recently about the flights of Russian aircraft patrolling the shoreline of NATO countries. This has been common practice for 70 years already, and NATO planes do the same too. Western officials call for cyber attacks against Russia, as if the NSA does not conduct cyber attacks.

A person named Boris Johnson has called for protest actions near the Russian Embassy in London to protest against the "killing of civilians in Syria." His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov does not urge the Russians to do the same to condemn the operation in Mosul. Needless to say that all casualties in Mosul would be ascribed to ISIL terrorists, whose atrocities are beyond description.

How long will saber rattling last?

The West ought to stop the game of intimidation and saber rattling as this game has never impressed Russia much. The Anglo-Saxons should rather deal with their internal problems instead.

Western officials can, of course, distort facts about the Russian operation in Syria, ignoring their own violations of international law in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, but they should not even try to shoot down Russian aircraft. That would be the beginning of the end.

Russia has S-400 systems in Syria with the defense radius of up to 400 kilometers. In addition, there are S-300 anti-aircraft complexes, warships, Pantsir S1, Buk and Osa systems. Should Washington attack, Moscow will be the first to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, but, contrary to Clinton's wishes, it will happen in a legitimate way - at the request from the legitimate government of Syria. The American generals, who do not even accept the idea of being punished for what they do, could recall the story of James Forrestal, the former head of the Pentagon, who kept saying "the Russians are coming" before plummeting to his death from a hotel window on May 22, 1949.

When the Americans destroyed Yugoslavia, Russia realized that she was next on the line. When they killed Gaddafi, the Russians realized that Putin would be their next victim.

Lyuba Lulko

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko