US-Russia tensions mount after ISIS’s defeat in Syria
Bill Van Auken
11 December 2017
Washington and Moscow have traded fresh charges of provocative actions by each other’s warplanes in the skies over Syria’s Euphrates River valley, even as their supposed common enemy, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, appears to have been routed on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.
The Pentagon’s statements directly hinted at the prospect of rising tensions in Syria spilling over into a direct military confrontation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers, with incalculable consequences.
“It’s become increasingly tough for our pilots to discern whether Russian pilots are deliberately testing or baiting us into reacting, or if these are just honest mistakes,” Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, spokesman for the US air command based in Qatar told the New York Times. “The greatest concern is that we could shoot down a Russian aircraft because its actions are seen as a threat to our air or ground forces.”
The Times article published Saturday was written as a brief for the US military intervention in Syria and a more aggressive American confrontation with Russia for dominance in the Middle East. The Pentagon recently acknowledged that over 2,000 US troops are presently deployed inside Syria—more than four times the number previously admitted—and indicated that there is no intention of withdrawing them after their ostensible mission of defeating ISIS is completed.
The Times parroted Pentagon allegations of a Russian SU-24 fighter jet having “nearly collided” with two US A-10 close air support warplanes east of the Euphrates River, and of other Russian aircraft flying directly over the US proxy ground forces and their American special forces “advisers”…