Trump Weighs Military “Saturation Strike” In Syria, Resulting In Russian Deaths- (Retaliation For Syria Shooting down An Israeli Jet? )

According to the Intercept, this would be a “saturation strike” using dozens of cruise missiles designed to hit Syrian military targets —including military air fields — in an effort to limit future Syrian Air Force attacks on rebel positions, according to the two U.S. military officials.Among the valid military targets in Syria would be Syrian military airfields, air defenses and other types of Syrian military installations. The official played down the idea that Russian military infrastructure might be a target. What is most troubling, however, is that according to the quoted U.S. military officials, “the current proposal would likely result in Russian military deaths and mark a drastic escalation of U.S. force in Syria.”

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[Katherine Frisk note:  On March 17 we had the headline: Syrian army: Israeli jet shot down, another hit 

The Syrian army says four Israeli jets breached the Arab country’s airspace on Friday morning, adding its air defense shot down one of the aircraft and hit another.  Israeli warplanes “penetrated our airspace at 2:40 a.m. (0040 GMT) via Lebanese territory and hit a military target on the way to Palmyra,” said an army statement carried by state news agency SANA. “Our air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee,” the army said, apparently referring to the Golan Heights.  The Syrian army also slammed Tel Aviv’s strikes as “an act of aggression” meant to assist the Takfiri Daesh terror group.

 

While in Moscow: Russia summons Israeli ambassador to explain air raids in Syria 

Russia summoned the Israeli ambassador to demand an explanation for Israel’s air raids in Syria last week, Moscow has confirmed, as an Israeli drone was blamed for the targeted killing of a senior pro-Assad fighter in a second reported incident. The summons, made on Friday, was confirmed by Russia’s foreign ministry which said the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Gary Koren, had been asked to explain an exchange of fire with Syrian government forces in which anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Israeli jets. According to Israel’s Channel 2, the Israeli strike hit close to Russian troops.

And Israel’s response: Israel threatens to destroy Syria’s air defence systems ‘without the slightest hesitation’ 

Israel‘s defence minister has threatened to destroy Syria‘s air defence systems if they are used to target Israeli fighter jets again.The Israeli military said it shot down one of several anti-aircraft rockets fired at its warplanes by Syria last week in the most serious military exchange between the two hostile neighbours in recent years.

On Tuesday the Syrian airforce hit a weapons depot in  Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib which contained chemical weapons. As I pointed out in Chemical Gas Attack In Syria – What Are The Facts? 

According to Veterans Today and specifically Gordon Duff, ISIL has been stocking up on tow missiles and chemical weapons which have been transported in convoys through Turkey  to  Hama and to the surrounding area of Raqqa for use by ISIL terrorists. This should be key to the whole investigation but has not been mentioned at the UNSC. Duff throughout the last 6 years, has provided excellent intelligence on Syria and has visited the country himself recently along with other VT stalwarts, Jim Dean and Mike Harris, .Raqqa is a stronghold of ISIL and a major military buildup is occurring in the area between Kurdish, Syrian and US forces for the liberation of that city.  The tow missiles and the chemical weapons transported through Turkey in convoys will no doubt be used on the coalition forces in the upcoming battle for Raqqa.

Instead of this being the focus of the story, Israel and their White Helmet stooges have gone into overdrive with propaganda that Assad killed women and children and”little babies” with a chemical attack. By Wednesday the gathering momentum for a peace deal in Syria with support for Assad from Trump and Tillerson vaporized and instead the very real prospect of all out war between the US and Russia could lead to a nuclear WW3,

Armageddon on the Golan Heights draws ever nearer.

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from Zero Hedge:  

The Pentagon has briefed President Trump on various military options the US can conduct in response to the poison gas attack in Syria that killed scores of civilians, and which Washington has blamed on the Syrian government, a U.S. official told Reuters.

Options include things like implementing a “no fly zone” or grounding aircraft used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, an official quoted by Reuters said.

Another option also includes the use of Tomahawk cruise missiles to overwhelm Russian air defense systems used by the Syrian military. The official did not comment on how likely military action might be which, if any, options might be recommended by the Pentagon. According to the Intercept, this would be a “saturation strike” using dozens of cruise missiles designed to hit Syrian military targets —including military air fields — in an effort to limit future Syrian Air Force attacks on rebel positions, according to the two U.S. military officials.

Among the valid military targets in Syria would be Syrian military airfields, air defenses and other types of Syrian military installations. The official played down the idea that Russian military infrastructure might be a target.

What is most troubling, however, is that according to the quoted U.S. military officials, “the current proposal would likely result in Russian military deaths and mark a drastic escalation of U.S. force in Syria.”

One U.S. military official said the decision to allow the strikes, which would kill Russians, signals a significant change in policy by the Trump administration. A decision by Trump to go forward with the plan would be a reversal from the Obama administration, which denied multiple air strike proposals  that would likely cause Russian personnel casualties in Syria.

It remains unclear if Trump does launch a military campaign that ends up killing Russians, whether the narrative about Russia hacking the US elections to get Trump elected, will finally die.

Sarcasm aside, Reuters also said that Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have been discussing the matter: Mattis is due to meet with Trump later in the day at the president’s Mar-a-Lago retreat, where a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping is underway. Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said that “something should happen” with Assad after the chemical attack, calling what happened in Syria “a disgrace to humanity.”

There is no doubt in our minds, and the information we have supports, that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad are responsible for this attack,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Florida on Thursday, adding that “there is no role for Assad” in Syria after this.

In case of an accelerated military escalation, the US Navy currently has two warships on alert in the East Medditerranean to strike in Syria if necessary, officials say cited by Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, who adds that USS Ross and USS Porter are the 2 Navy warships in close proximity and ready to strike Syria, if necessary.

Trump’s accusations against Assad put him directly at odds with Moscow, the Syrian president’s principal backer. Trump’s contemplated action also goes directly against Trump’s tweets in 2013, when he urged against a military escalation in Syria.

Earlier in the day, CNN reported that Trump has spoken to some members of Congress about military action in Syria. The president himself denied that report, however, according to Fox News correspondent Chad Pergram.

Reuters notes that any U.S. action against Syria’s government would open a new front in Syria’s fighting, with consequences that are difficult to foresee. Entering into such a confrontation might complicate the fight against Islamic State – a group seen to directly threaten the West – and very likely draw in Russia, which nearly entered into an armed conflict in 2013 when John Kerry backed off an airborne campaign targeting Assad in the last moment.  The difference between now and 2013, however, is that Russia is already present in Syria, and is conducting regular military missions.

While Syrian chemical weapons storage facilities would also be valid military targets, it was not immediately clear how much intelligence the United States had collected on where Assad might be storing the kinds of nerve agent it believes was used in the most recent attack, assuming of course, that Assad did in fact conduct the poison gas attack.

The U.S. military, which has deployed around 1,000 troops in Syria, who are there without the invitation or consent of Syria’s government, has long said its singular focus in Syria has been on the war against Islamic State, although many have said that the real motive from the beginning of US involvement in the conflict was the eliminate the Assad regime. In any case, the conflict is reaching a critical point as U.S.-backed forces isolate the city of Raqqa – the militants’ de facto capital – ahead of an eventual assault.

Earlier on Thursday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced he would oppose any military action without a vote in Congress.

“The President, if he decides to do something in Syria, he would come to Congress and ask for a declaration of war. Short of Congress voting on it, I’m opposed to illegal and unconstitutional wars,” Paul told Fox News radio show ‘Kilmeade and Friends’.

Paul was promptly opposed by senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), both of whom called for Trump to attack Syria.

“The United States should lead an international coalition to ground Assad’s air force,” they said in a joint statement Thursday. “This capability provides Assad a strategic advantage in his brutal slaughter of innocent civilians, both through the use of chemical weapons as well as barrel bombs, which kill far more men, women and children on a daily basis.”

Earlier on Friday, Damascus denied using chemical weapons, saying that its jets targeted an arms depot where chemical weapons stockpiles were stored by Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front militants. Later in the day, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that account of events.

The strike, which was launched midday Tuesday, targeted a major rebel ammunition depot east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. According to Konashenkov, the warehouse was used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas. The shells were delivered to Iraq and repeatedly used there, said the spokesman, pointing out that both Iraq and international organizations have confirmed the use of such weapons by militants.

Finally, the biggest wildcard of all is what and how will Putin respond to an aggression by the US that directly threatens an ally – and national interest – of not only the Kremlin, but also China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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