As Syrian forces back by Russian launch the final showdown in Syria against jihadist extremists, the potential for a U.S.-Russia confrontation has never been greater, as VIPS warns in this memo to the president. September 9, 2018
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria
We are concerned that you may not have been adequately briefed on the upsurge of hostilities in northwestern Syria, where Syrian armed forces with Russian support have launched a full-out campaign to take back the al-Nusra/al-Qaeda/ISIS-
That someone is you. The Israelis, Saudis, and others who want unrest to endure are egging on the insurgents, assuring them that you, Mr. President, will use US forces to protect the insurgents in Idlib, and perhaps also rain hell down on Damascus. We believe that your senior advisers are encouraging the insurgents to think in those terms, and that your most senior aides are taking credit for your recent policy shift from troop withdrawal from Syria to indefinite war.
Big Difference This Time
Russian missile-armed naval and air units are now deployed in unprecedented numbers to engage those tempted to interfere with Syrian and Russian forces trying to clean out the terrorists from Idlib. We assume you have been briefed on that — at least to some extent. More important, we know that your advisers tend to be dangerously dismissive of Russian capabilities and intentions.
We do not want you to be surprised when the Russians start firing their missiles. The prospect of direct Russian-U.S. hostilities in Syria is at an all-time high. We are not sure you realize that.
The situation is even more volatile because Kremlin leaders are not sure who is calling the shots in Washington. This is not the first time that President Putin has encountered such uncertainty (see brief Appendix below). This is, however, the first time that…