War and Peace in The Middle East — Heads Up– Bombs Away — Putin’s Bright Red Line — Obama Leads From Behind — Kerry Talks Deconfliction — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Glares In Silence Vows To Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program — Sounds of Silence
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 1: War and Peace in The Middle East — Heads Up– Bombs Away — Putin’s Bright Red Line — Obama Leads From Behind — Kerry Talks Deconfliction — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Glares In Silence Vows To Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program — Sounds of Silence
Reduce the risk of collision between (aircraft, airborne weaponry, etc.) in an area by coordinating their movements.
Su-25 Ground Attack
Su-30 Multirole Fighter
4 Su 30 and 12 Su25
Il-20 Spy Plane
‘Deconflict’: Buzzword to Prevent Risk of a US-Russian Clash Over Syria
US and Russia to hold ‘deconfliction’ talks over Syria
Russian fighter jet SU-25 shot down by Syrian rebels in Hama
Pres. Putin criticizes US support for militants in Syria
With Russia in Syria, US days are over
War in Syria Russian bombers have bombed positions of ISIS at Aleppo
Russian Air Force Air Strikes in Syria.
Su-24M “Fencer” Bomber
Russia Attack ISIS In Syria
Russian Warplanes Hit Targets in Syria
Footage Russia begins air strikes against ISIS in Syria after warning the US to remove its planes
Russian Air Force IL-76 aircraft leading four Su-24 over Homs Governorate, Syria, 20 September 2015
Russia Launches Airstrikes In Syria
Russia Sending Advanced Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Syria
Russia orders U.S. planes out of Syria as they Begins Air Operations
U.S. concerned about Russian air strikes in Syria: Kerry
John McCain condemns Russian airstrikes in Syria
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Slams Iran In Speech At UN | Iran Nuclear Deal | Iran threat to Israel
Netanyahu glares at U.N. for 45 seconds after berating its silence on Iran threat to Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu glares silently at the United Nations for 45 seconds after berating the organization for their silence in the wake of Iran’s continued threats against the Jewish state.
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Russia deploys 28 combat planes in Syria: US officials
Russia sends Antonov-124 Condor military transport planes to Syria – TomoNews
Russian jets in Syrian skies
Russian Fighter Jets
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Iran troops to join Syria war, Russia bombs group trained by CIA
By By Laila Bassam and Andrew Osborn
Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria to join a major ground offensive in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Lebanese sources said on Thursday, a further sign of the rapid internationalization of a civil war in which every major country in the region has a stake.
Russian warplanes, in a second day of strikes, bombed a camp run by rebels trained by the CIA, the group’s commander said, putting Moscow and Washington on opposing sides in a Middle East conflict for the first time since the Cold War.
The U.S. and Russian militaries were due to hold talks via video link to seek ways to keep their militaries apart as they wage parallel campaigns of air strikes in Syria, a U.S. defense official said.
Russian jets struck targets near the cities of Hama and Homs in western Syria on the second day of their air campaign.
Moscow said it had hit Islamic State positions, but the areas it struck are mostly held by a rival insurgent alliance, which unlike Islamic State is supported by U.S. allies including Arab states and Turkey.
Hassan Haj Ali, head of the Liwa Suqour al-Jabal rebel group which is part of the Free Syrian Army, told Reuters one of the targets was his group’s base in Idlib province, struck by around 20 missiles in two separate raids. His fighters had been trained by the CIA in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, part of a program Washington says is aimed at supporting groups that oppose both Islamic State and Assad.
“Russia is challenging everyone and saying there is no alternative to Bashar,” Haj Ali said. He said the Russian jets had been identified by members of his group who once served as Syrian air force pilots.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said later that Moscow was targeting Islamic State and did not consider the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army a terrorist group, adding that they should be part of a political solution in Syria.
The aim is to help the Syrian armed forces “in their weak spots”, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Two Lebanese sources told Reuters hundreds of Iranian troops had reached Syria in the past 10 days with weapons to mount a major ground offensive. They would also be backed by Assad’s Lebanese Hezbollah allies and by Shi’ite militia fighters from Iraq, while the Russia would provide air support.
“The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisers … we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more,” one of the sources said.
So far, direct Iranian military support for Assad has come mostly in the form of military advisers. Iran has also mobilized Shi’ite militia fighters, including Iraqis and some Afghans, to fight alongside Syrian government forces.
SAME ENEMIES, DIFFERENT FRIENDS
Russia’s decision to join the war with air strikes on behalf of Assad, as well as the increased military involvement of Iran, could mark a turning point in a conflict that has drawn in most of the world’s military powers.
With the United States leading an alliance waging its own air war against Islamic State, the Cold War superpower foes, Washington and Moscow, are now engaged in combat over the same country for the first time since World War Two.
They say they have the same enemies – the Islamic State group of Sunni Muslim militants who have proclaimed a caliphate across eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
But they also have very different friends, and sharply opposing views of how to resolve the 4-year-old Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 250,000 people and driven more than 10 million from their homes.
Washington and its allies oppose both Islamic State and Assad, believing he must leave power in any peace settlement.
Washington says a central part of its strategy is building “moderate” insurgents to fight against both Assad and Islamic State, although so far it has struggled to find many fighters to accept its training.
Moscow supports the Syrian president and believes his government should be the centerpiece of international efforts to fight extremist groups.
It appears to be using the common campaign against Islamic State as a pretext to strike against groups supported by Washington and its allies, as a way of defending a Damascus government with which Moscow has been allied since the Cold War.
The Russian strikes represent a bold move by President Vladimir Putin to assert influence beyond his own neighborhood: it is the first time Moscow has ordered its forces into combat outside the frontiers of the former Soviet Union since its disastrous Afghanistan campaign in the 1980s.
In the second day of strikes, Russia said it launched eight sorties with Sukhoi warplanes overnight, hitting an ammunition depot near Idlib, a three-storey Islamic State command center near Hama and a car bomb factory in the north of Homs. None of those areas has a large presence of Islamic State.
Al-Mayadeen, a pro-Damascus television channel based in Lebanon, said the jets carried out at least 30 strikes against an insurgent alliance known as the Army of Conquest. The alliance includes the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, but not Islamic State.
The station later said Russian forces had also struck Islamic State positions in Raqqa province in the east. This could not be immediately confirmed.
The Russian and Iranian intervention in support of Assad comes at a time when momentum in the conflict had swung against his government and seem aimed at reversing insurgent gains.
“The Russian strikes are a game changer. Damascus is off the hook,” a diplomat tracking Syria said.
The Army of Conquest in particular has been advancing against government forces in northwestern Syria, supported by regional countries that oppose both Assad and Islamic State.
Russia says its air strikes, unlike Washington’s, are legitimate because they have Assad’s blessing, and more effective because they can coordinate with government forces to find targets.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi of neighboring Iraq, where Washington is also leading an air war against Islamic State while Iran aids government forces on the ground, said he would be open to Russian strikes as well.
In Syria, insurgent-held Idlib province is of particular strategic importance to the government because it is close to Assad’s heartland on the Mediterranean coast, where Russia also has its only Mediterranean naval base.
A Syrian military source said on Thursday that Russian military support would bring a “big change” in the course of the conflict, particularly through advanced surveillance capabilities that could pinpoint insurgent targets.
Putin’s gamble of going to war in Syria comes a year after he defied the West to annex Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, drawing U.S. and EU economic sanctions while igniting a wave of popular nationalist support at home.
He appears to be betting that decisive action to aid Assad will improve Russia’s position at future talks on a political settlement, safeguard its control of the naval base and limit the influence of regional rivals like NATO member Turkey. It could also help his image at home as a strong leader willing to challenge global rivals, first and foremost the United States.
US, Russia hold military talks to avoid mishaps over Syria
The Pentagon held talks with Moscow officials Thursday to try to avoid mishaps between the two military powers, though it wasn’t clear how fruitful the effort was amid a second day of Russian bombing in Syria.
US military officials were furious Wednesday after Russia only gave them an hour’s vague “heads-up” it was about to begin bombing. The warning didn’t specify when or where the strikes would occur, only that coalition planes should avoid the area.
With a US-led coalition carrying out near-daily plane and drone strikes in Syria, the new reality of Russia flying sorties in the same air space has left the Pentagon worried about planes crossing paths and sparking a major international incident.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Defense Department officials spoke with Russian counterparts for about an hour via video in what he said was a “cordial and professional” exchange.
He gave few details but said officials discussed which international frequencies could be used if a pilot was in distress and what language aircrews should communicate with each other in.
“We made crystal clear that at a minimum the priority here should be the safe operation of the aircrews over Syria,” Cook said. No follow-up calls had been scheduled yet, he added.
The United States has repeatedly stressed the urgent need for Russia to communicate with it about when and where it plans to fly its fighter jets and bombers. In military jargon, such discussions are known as “deconfliction.”
Russia on Wednesday launched its first air strikes in Syria, marking its explosive arrival in the 4.5-year-old conflict that has claimed some 250,000 lives.
Strikes continued Thursday with Russian warplanes hitting opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Russians currently have at least 32 warplanes deployed in Syria, US officials say.
Putin’s Jets in Syria Are a Threat to the U.S.
Putin just deployed an array of jets and missiles to the Middle East. But they’re not the kind of weapons he’d need to fight ISIS. They’re built for countering another major power.
On September 30, Russian lawmakers unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s plan to begin combat operations in Syria—and hours later Moscow’s warplanes in the region began attacking what the Russians said were ISIS militants.Right before the bombs rained down, a Russian general arrived in Baghdad warned the U.S. military planners to keep America’s own warplanes out of the way. U.S. officials said they would not alter their flight plans.This is the beginning of a dangerous new phase of the international intervention in the Syrian civil war. Not only has Russia tried to order U.S. forces to step aside, it actually has the firepower to back up its demands. Some of the 35 warplanes Russia has deployed to Syria are specifically designed for fighting foes like the United States, not ISIS.Seemingly out of nowhere on September 21, they appeared at an air base in Latakia, a regime stronghold in western Syria—28 of the Russian air force’s best warplanes, including four Su-30 fighters and a number of Su-25 attack planes and Su-24 bombers.Soon six more Su-34 bombers and at least one Il-20 spy plane followed, part of a contingent of Russia forces reportedly including some 500 troops plus armored vehicles and SA-15 and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles.For U.S. and allied officials observing the deployment, there has been plenty of cause for confusion…and alarm. It’s not just that, more than four years into Syria’s bloody civil war, Russia has decided to jump in and make things more complicated.No, it’s what kinds of weapons—planes and missiles, especially—Moscow decided to send, and what those weapons say about the Kremlin’s ultimate plan in Syria. Many of them don’t seem to bewell-suited to fighting ISIS. They’re built to battle adversaries like the United States.To be clear, 35 warplanes and a few surface-to-air missiles aren’t a lot in the grand scheme of things. There’s no shortage of military aircraft flying over Syria five years into the country’s bloody civil war.Every day some of Syria’s aging Soviet-made planes—from the 300 or so that have survived four years of combat—take off from regime airfields to bomb ISIS militants and secular rebels slowly advancing on Syria’s main population centers.Meanwhile hundreds of jets from the American-led international coalition have been waging, since the fall of 2014, an intensive air campaign against ISIS and al Qaeda targeting just the militants.What’s weird and alarming about the Russian contingent is that it’s not really optimal for attacking lightly armed insurgent fighters. Surface-to-air missiles areonly good for destroying enemy aircraft, which Syrian rebels do not possess. And the Su-30s are best suited for tangling with other high-tech forces.Who in region possesses these high-tech forces? The United States, for one. Israel, too. Why, the United States, of course. Russia’s warplanes and missiles in Syria could pose a threat to America’s own aircraft flying over the country—all in order to carve out and preserve a portion of Syria that the United States can’t touch.Officially, Russia has deployed its forces to Syria to reinforce embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and help defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
“There is no other way to settle the Syrian conflict other than by strengthening the existing legitimate government agencies, support them in their fight against terrorism,” President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with American news networks ahead of his September 28 meeting with President Obama at the United Nations in New York City.
“There are more than 2,000 militants in Syria from the former Soviet Union,” Putin said. “Instead of waiting for them to return home we should help President al-Assad fight them there, in Syria.”
Sure enough, Su-25s, Su-24s, and Su-34s are capable ground-attack planes, roughly equivalent to U.S. Air Force A-10 attack jets and F-15E fighter-bombers.
But that’s only a portion of the Russian air arsenal. The problem is, the Su-30s are next to useless for fighting ISIS. The Sukhoi fighters are primarily air-to-air fighters—and some of the best in the world. Besides Russia, China also flies versions of the twin-engine, supersonic Su-30 and has even begun outfitting them with new air-to-air missiles that U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert Carlisle has repeatedly described as one of his biggest worries.
In a series of aerial war games in the last decade, India’s own Su-30s have tangled with—and reportedly defeated—American and British fighters in mock combat, sparking minor controversies in both countries as their respective air forcesscrambled to explain why the Russian-made planes weren’t necessarily superior to U.S. F-15s and British Typhoon jets.
It’s obvious why Russia, China, and India, among other countries, would deploy Su-30s to counter heavily armed enemies possessing high-tech fighters of their own. But that doesn’t explain the Russian Su-30s in Syria. “I have not seen [ISIS] flying any airplanes that require sophisticated air-to-air capabilities,” U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the military head of NATO, told an audience in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 28.
Moreover, Breedlove said Russia didn’t need to deploy the SA-15 and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles to Syria if its mission is to help Assad beat ISIS. “I have not seen ISIL flying any airplanes that require SA-15s or SA-22s,” he said, using one of several acronyms for the militant group.
Breedlove said he suspects Russia is trying to set up what the military calls a “anti-access, area-denial,” or A2AD, zone in western Syria. Moscow has recently established these zones in the Baltic region and in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014. “We are a little worried about another A2AD bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean,” Breedlove said.
The point of these zones is to give Russia exclusive access to strategic regions, Breedlove claimed. In the case of western Syria, an A2AD zone helps to ensure that Moscow can send forces into the eastern Mediterranean, which NATO has dominated since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
Russian access to the Mediterranean via Syria requires that Assad’s regime survives, however. In that sense, Moscow’s strategic aims dovetail with the Syrian regime’s goals. Thus the Su-25s, Su-24s, and Su-34s very well could end up joining Damascus’s air war on the rebels and militants. The Su-30s, however, will probably be guarding against a very different enemy.
Of course, high-end warplanes can be repurposed to fight lower-tech foes—the U.S. has done just that, in its decade and a half bombing Afghanistan and Iraq. And many militaries deploy air-to-air fighters merely as precautions. A small contingent of U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighters, which can carry bombs but are best at aerial fights, plays a leading role in the coalition air campaign targeting ISIS.
The F-22s act as “quarterbacks,” according to Carlisle, using their sophisticated sensors to spot targets for other planes and also protecting those planes against Syrian fighters and missiles. To date, the Syrian regime has not attempted to interfere with the U.S.-led bombing runs, but the F-22s keep flying.
But neither has the coalition tried to interfere with the Syrian air force’s attacks on opposition fighters—yet. U.S. Army Special Forces have been training, at great expense, a small number of Syria rebels the Pentagon had hoped could form the core of a reinvigorated, secular rebel force that can knock back ISIS.
The problem is, many rebel trainees in the American program have made it clearthey prefer to fight the regime first. Many have dropped out of the program in the face of Washington’s demands, compelling the Pentagon to remove them from the training effort. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told Congress, using the administration’s preferred acronym for ISIS, that he wants recruits “to have the right mindset and ideology, not be aligned with groups like ISIL…[and] to fight ISIL.”
“It turns out to be very hard to identify people who meet both of those criteria,” Carter added.
Worse, once the recruits complete their training and go to fight ISIS, the U.S. military will have “some obligations” to protect them, Carter said. If U.S.-trained rebels turn their weapons against the Syrian regime and Russian warplanes bomb them, would that compel American F-22s to attack the Russians—and then force the Russian Su-30s to intervene?
It’s not hard to see how Russia’s support of Assad could run afoul of America’s support for secular Syrian rebels—and how Moscow’s effort to establish an aerial foothold in Syria could draw U.S. and Russian jet fighters into battle with each other.
Don’t pretend for a moment that that terrifying notion hasn’t crossed the minds of generals and politicians in both Moscow and Washington.
Russia has sent over 50 military aircraft to Syria: ministry
Russia has sent more than 50 military aircraft as well as marines, paratroopers and special forces into Syria, where it has launched air strikes against Islamic State militants, the defence ministry said on Thursday.
“More than 50 warplanes and helicopters are part of the Russian airforce striking Islamic State targets in Syria,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the Interfax news agency.
Russia on Wednesday waded into the multi-front conflict, launching air strikes against what Moscow said were IS militants battling its Soviet-era ally Syria.
In the run-up to the strikes, Russia had expanded its naval facility in the port city of Tartus and established a military base in Latakia, the stronghold of the beleaguered regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Konashenkov said marines, paratroopers and special force units would be mobilised to protect Russia’s military assets.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a broad UN-backed coalition to fight IS jihadists as he addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time in a decade.
Moscow has been pushing for a broader coalition to fight the Islamic State group to include allies of the Assad regime, an idea that the West has rejected.
Putin’s proposal is seen as a direct challenge to US President Barack Obama who has vowed to crush IS and called on countries to join the United States in its campaign.
Moscow has ruled out joining the US-led coalition.
“Theoretically, it would look nice (to join the US-led coalition) from a political point of view, but I think that we have difficulty understanding the principles on which the coalition is acting,” foreign ministry official Ilya Rogachyov said.
“On the basis that the coalition currently exists, we are unlikely to join,” he told the state news agency RIA Novosti.
Russia has appointed Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko to represent Russia at the Baghdad-based intelligence task force Moscow is setting up with Iran, Iraq and Syria, a defence ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Here’s how the Russian Air Force moved 28 aircraft to Syria (almost) undetected
- David Cenciotti, The AviationistSatellite imagery released in the last couple of days has exposed the presence of 28 Russian aircraft at al-Assad airfield, near Latakia, in western Syria.The photographs taken from space gave us the possibility to identify the combat planes as 4x Su-30SMs, 12x Su-25s (based on their color scheme, these are Su-25SMs belonging to the 368th Assault Aviation Regiment from Budyonnovsk) and 12 Su-24M2s along with about a dozen helicopters, including 10 Mi-24PN, Mi-35M and a couple of Mi-8AMTSh choppers, from the 387th Army Aviation Air Base Budyonnovsk.One of our sources with IMINT Imagery Intel experience, who has had access to the imagery in the public domain, noticed something interesting on one of the Su-30SM: the first on the left (the one closer to the runway threshold) should be equipped with a KNIRTI SPS-171 / L005S Sorbtsiya-S mid/high band defensive jammer (ECM) at the wing tips. To be honest this is almost impossible to verify unless more high-resolution images become available.
Whilst satellite shots provided much details about the deployed assets, they obviously didn’t help answer the basic question: how did they manage to reach Syria undetected?
According to one source close who wishes to remain anonymous, the Russian combat planes have probably deployed to Latakia trailing the cargo planes that were tracked flying to Syria and back on Flightradar24.com, something that other analysts have also suggested.
There is someone who believes that during their ferry flight, some if not all the formation (each made of a cargo plane and four accompanying fast jets), may have made a stopover in Iran before flying the last leg to Latakia. This would also explain why some Il-76s (with an endurance that would allow a non-stop fly from Russia to Latakia) were observed stopping at Hamadan on Sept. 18-19, just before the Sukhois started appearing on the tarmac at Latakia.
Also interesting is the activity of several Israeli aircraft, including a G550 “Nachshon Aitam,” a sort of mini-AWACS equipped with 2 L-band antennas, on both sides of the fuselage, and 2 S-band antennas, on the nose and tail of the aircraft.
The G550, a so-called CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) asset, flew a mission over the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon on Sept. 20 (and could be tracked online on Flightradar24.com…). Just a coincidence?
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