by John Galt
December 9, 2017 15:25 ET
A very dangerous and irresponsible air encounter occurred over the Deir Ezzor region in Syria which could have easily tripped the world into a global conflict involving Russia and the United States.
Per the Russian news agency TASS, a US F-22 fighter was performing dangerous maneuvers designed to interrupt operations of Russian Air Force SU-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft as the Islamic State was being driven out of its remaining positions in the region along the Euphrates River.
Excerpt from the story via TASS:
“On November 23, in the air above the western bank of the Euphrates River, a U.S. F-22 fighter hindered actively Russia’s two Sukhoi-24 attackers in fulfilling their combat tasks to destroy a command station of the Islamic State (IS, terrorist organization outlawed in Russia – TASS) near Mayadin,” spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov said. “The F-22 fired heat flares and released braking flaps, constantly maneuvering, to simulate a dogfight.”
The F-22 Raptor “halted dangerous maneuvers and hurried away into Iraq’s air space” after the Russian Su-35S highly maneuverable aircraft appeared nearby, Konashenkov said.
Why is this so disturbing?
First, it would appear to validate the claims by some Russian defense officials that indeed, elements of the USAF and special forces operating in the region were providing cover for ISIS leadership to escape the cauldron being created as the pocket closed along the Euphrates River and to provide direct support for Kurdish SDF forces against Syrian and Russian forces operating in the area. This is a strategic region not only because it will provide Iranian forces unfettered ground transport connections with the Syrian military but will cut off the Kurdish SDF forces from Iraqi support via the U.S. military in the area(see map below).
Second, this means that either Secretary of Defense Mattis has relinquished operational control to another member of the swamp or that he is directly providing cover for our intelligence services which are believed to have assisted ISIS in their initial attacks on the Assad regime. Either conclusion is disturbing because it means that the United States is far more willing to risk a state of war with Russia than we were previously led to believe.
Lastly, and maybe a positive, it gave Russian and US air commanders a chance to do a base evaluation of the performance of each nation’s top line fighters in a real time combat situation and the data will cause changes in strategies on both sides. Or worse, it could provide over confidence on either side that they are ready for a direct conflict and a willingness to take more chances over the nation of Syria.
Regardless of the statements from either side, this appears to validate the fears of many in the region that a major war could start over Iraq and Syria dragging Russia and the United States into a nightmare scenario. God help us if this is true.