In a welcome case of better late than never, Russia announced it will deliver to Syria the S300 air defense system within two weeks as part of its response to the downing of a Russian IL20 plane during an Israeli air attack against Syria.
The long-awaited delivery comes after an effective cancellation in 2013 when Russia suspended the deal with Damascus after concerns expressed by Israel which feared the capacity of the system to target Israeli aircraft even before they left Israel. The failure to complete the deal led to the ability of Israel to carry out over 200 strikes on Syria in the past 18 months. The deaths of the 15 Russian servicemen on board the IL20 is due in part to the lack of the S300 system, along with Russia giving Israel a large degree of impunity, which Israel took advantage of to act deceptively and recklessly. The incident was one waiting to happen. Israel has spilled the blood of many Syrians in its outrageous strikes on Syria, but it appears the spilling of Russian blood may be a bridge to far.
ACTION REPLACES RHETORIC
Sputnik News reported: During a Monday briefing, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow will deliver the S-300 air defense systems to Syria within two weeks as an adequate response to Israel’s role in the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane last week.
“The Syrian Armed Forces will be supplied with the advanced S-300 air defense missile system within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air threats at a range of more than 250 kilometers and simultaneously hitting several aerial targets,” Shoigu said, adding that the S-300 would significantly boost Syria’s combat capabilities.
Note the range of 250 kilometers addresses the question of the model which would be offered, allaying fears an older, inferior version would be introduced. Israel jets now face the prospect of being struck well before they can reach their destination and even worse, face multipole jets being hit at once.
Speculation abounded after the downing of the IL20 on whether Syrian air defenses operated with the friend or foe (IFF) identification system, enabling it to identify Russian aircraft. This was laid to rest when Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov said each state has its own IFF system and Russia does not install its identification systems on armaments exported abroad.
This is about to change as Syrian and Russian air defenses become fully integrated with the IFF system. The tragedy of the IL20 downing due to Israeli aggression and deception will not be repeated, Sergei Shoigu saying, Most importantly, it will ensure identification of all Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense forces,
In further moves to thwart future Israeli aggression and cap their airstrikes at the existing 200 odd over the last 18 months, electronic countermeasures over the Syrian coastline will be introduced to jam the navigation systems of military planes on the Syrian border. Sergey Shoigu in announcing the moves said: “Russia will jam satellite navigation, on-board radars and communication systems of combat aircraft, which attack targets in the Syrian territory, in the regions over the waters of the Mediterranean Sea bordering with Syria.”
The measures are defensive in nature, aimed at deterrence, Moscow announcing they are designed to protect Russian military interests in Syria. Largely aimed at Israel, the aggressor state that attacks Syria with characteristic contempt for its sovereignty, safety of its citizens and blatant violation of international law, the measures are a tremendous boost in the efforts of Syria to keep the rogue state at bay. Inane justifications of striking Iranian weapons bound for Hezbollah and Iranian military installations repeated endlessly by Israel will hopefully disappear just like their aircraft from Syrian radars should they dare defy the soon to be introduced measures. The claims are an insult to the intelligence. Israel strikes Syria, seeing it as an enemy it can attack whenever it pleases. It strikes Syrian infrastructure, civilian and military targets and kills Syrian personnel. The fact Iran and Hezbollah are also its enemies and it seeks to target them, with Iran as the ultimate goal, does not change the fact that the acts of aggression are against Syria, and only a fool or led by the money propagandist can possibly say otherwise.
Note too, that the S300 systems will be used to deter Israel, but it is aimed at all hostile foreign forces. The US and the vassals that make up its coalition will doubtless have pricked their ears in attention to the potentially game-changing move. The ultimate vassal of the US, Australia quickly announced the suspension of “anti-ISIS” air combat missions in June 2017 after Russia threatened that it would treat any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates River as a potential target. The threat came after the US shot down a Syrian jet carrying out real anti-ISIS operations in Raqqa
With a range of 250 kilometers, the S300 enables a shift from defense against Israel breathing down its neck to Israel jets threatened almost as soon as they leave their bases. Israel knows that Lebanese airspace could transform from a thoroughfare to a graveyard for its jets.
As said above, the S300 system has implications for the US in its occupation of north east Syria. Turkey also will think twice about any future plans to introduce a no fly zone over Idlib, something it would not likely do in its won, but may in conjunction with the US coalition if it continues to strengthen its position in the province following the Moscow/Ankara agreement.
The France/UK/US (FUKUS) axis of evil that has the audacity to lecture morality to Syria and its allies may now lose military superiority in any trilateral strike against Syria. Previous attacks have been carried out with fanfare and feigned moral outrage, western media faithful to their masters in not pointing out the illegality and loss of life that strikes cause. Should a FUKUS plane fall from the sky, S300 fragments embedded in its shell, the outrage will go through the roof.
Acquisition of a more advanced air defense system takes some of the ominous tone of threats over punishment for “chemical weapons” attacks away. The rage and fake accusations may increase in frustration at the latest move, but the arrogant and brutal attacks we have seen following false accusations by the White Helmets and their terrorist allies will face a more formidable response in future.
Israel Arrogance Put Back in its Box
Israel commentators prefaced comments with an expression of condolences for the dead Russian servicemen as if that made their comments any more legitimate. The ridiculous mantra that followed was standard rogue state fare: Syria was responsible because of its incompetent, indiscriminate and reckless use of its air defense system and Iran and Hezbollah also bore responsibility due to their build- up of arms within Syria to be targeted at Israel. One has to wonder if this was the case, why after over 7 years of war no such attacks on Israel have occurred. The attacks are all the other way, Iranian advisers assisting Syria to repel repeated Israel strikes.
The Israeli media is definitely wary of the apparent new rules of the game, Channel 9 worried Israel was “in for a nightmare” and the Jerusalem Post pointing out that as the S300 has the capability of tracking jets and ballistic missiles over a range of 300 kilometers, it presents a threat as jets have barely left the runway.
The Times of Israel put on a show of more optimism-some may call it a face saving bravado- saying defense analysts have questioned whether an S-300 system in Syrian, not Russian, hands could threaten Israel’s air power in the region and prevent it from being able to conduct strikes against targets in Syria.
For overconfident bravado look no further than the man who loves to brutalize Palestinians, Avigdor Liberman, who earlier in the year said Israel would knock out any Russian supplied S300 and, typical of an arrogance not reined in by myth breaking events such as Hezbollah repelling Israel in 2006, any theoretic “S700.”
Questions arise such as will Israel try to attack the S300 systems? Will it try to attack S300 systems before they are made operational as they do in their attacks against facilities they claim are weapons stored for transport to and use by Hezbollah and Iran?
Does Netanyahu believe his good relations with Putin will allow Israel to carry on bombing if it can actually abidebyo the deconfliction agreement and guarantee not to harm Russian soldiers? Regardless of what he thinks, the answer to any request to keep bombing should be an emphatic no, as Israel carries out blatant acts of aggression every time it send a jet or drone into the skies of Syria.
Hold the Champagne
As always, the devil is in the details. Just how many batteries will Syria receive and in what time frame. A limited number of batteries mean the airspace is far from secure and Syria would dearly love to counter the threat from all the invaders that have bombed Syria.
Syria would definitely not want to see Israel chastised but given permission to keep attacking Syria under tightened deconfliction rules. As there is nothing to stop Syrian air defense operators firing s300’s when threatened, along with the introduction of the friend or foe identification system and an expressed willingness by Moscow to jam equipment and communications of any jets that cross into Syrian airspace across the Mediterranean, Syria can upset any plans Israel has to coordinate its attacks with Moscow into the future.
Still, it is worth looking at how Andrew Korybko assesses a potential future modified agreement between Israel and Russia which protects Russians, but doesn’t protect Syrians:
All that Russia is doing is signaling to “Israel” (and also the US) that all of its forthcoming strikes in Syria must be coordinated with Moscow well in advance in order to prevent another tragic incident like what transpired last Monday night, and that the failure to do so will see Russia taking electronic countermeasures to make “Israeli” units more susceptible to Syria’s forthcoming improved aerial defense systems. It is not, as some will probably assume, discontinuing the “deconfliction mechanism” that was agreed to by both parties in September 2015 just prior to the commencement of Russia’s anti-terrorist intervention in Syria. Instead, Russia is simply doing what some might have thought it should have done three years ago, and that’s create a credible enforcement system for incentivizing “Israel” to “play by the rules” unlike it’s been doing over the past 18 months.
The long overdue delivery of the S300 system is needed to change the inexplicable and intolerable reality that Russia fights –very effectively- alongside Syria and its allies against terrorists, yet has not intervened till now when Israel attacks the same allies while also supporting the terrorists groups Russia has vowed to wipe out. The skies look clearer and safer now For Syria. The ball is in your court now Israel: attack at your peril.