US sharply reduces air operations in Syria after Moscow closes hotline

CONFIRMED: US sharply cuts air operations in Syria fearing Russian missiles

Alexander Mercouris

US sharply reduces air operations in Syria because of presence of Russian missiles after Moscow closes hotline

The media is barely reporting the fact but the immediate effect of the US missiles strike on Syria’s Sharyat air base has been to reduce US air force flights over Syria as the US worries about Moscow’s reaction.

That this is so is confirmed by the New York Times which – presumably because its anti-Trump campaign overrides all other issues – has actually been doing some proper reporting about the Syrian conflict following the US missile strike.

This is all set out by New York Times in the following article, which says the following:

The American-led task force that is battling the Islamic State has sharply reduced airstrikes against the militants in Syria as commanders assess whether Syrian government forces or their Russian allies plan to respond to the United States’ cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield this past week, American officials said.

The precautionary move, revealed in statistics made public by the command on Saturday, was taken as Russian officials have threatened to suspend the communication line the American and Russian militaries use to notify each other about air operations in Syria.

So far, the Russian military does not appear to have taken any threatening actions, such as directing its battlefield radar or air defense systems to confront the Americans, or carrying out aggressive actions in the skies, United States officials said.

But officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning said the commanders needed time to determine whether the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Russian military would treat the American cruise missile strike as a one-time operation that they would not respond to militarily. As a precaution, the Pentagon is flying patrols in Syrian skies with F-22 jets, the Air Force’s most advanced air-to-air fighter……

Some American and other Western counterterrorism officials have said the missile strike could………make the fight against the Islamic State in Syria more difficult.

“It seems clear that the strikes will complicate our efforts to pursue our counter-ISIS campaign in Syria,” said Matthew Olsen, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “In particular, the ability to carry out U.S. airstrikes in Syria in support of the coalition against ISIS requires some degree of cooperation with Russia, which is now in serious jeopardy.”

Other security experts said that much depended on the Trump administration’s next steps, and how the Assad government and its Russian patrons responded.

“U.S. aircraft operating over Al-Tabqah are already ostensibly in range of the Russian S-400 system at the Humaymin Air Base, and we might see Russia deploy more air defense assets to Syria,” Jeremy Binnie, the Middle East editor of Jane’s Defense Weekly, said in an email. “But if the U.S. makes no moves to threaten Assad’s position, then they may well accept the punishment and move on.”

William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse,” offered a similar assessment.

This is the military reality that is causing the US to give repeated assurances to the Russians that the missile strike on Sharyat air base – largely ineffective as it appears to have been – is intended as a one-off, and that in President Trump’s words: “Are we going to get involved in Syria? No.”

Whether the Russians believe this assurance is another matter.  Even if it is intended sincerely, the Russians must wonder whether the Trump administration can honour it given that by launching its missiles the Trump administration has decisively lost leverage in Washington to the regime change hardliners.

In any event what this episode shows is the huge leverage the presence of the S-400 and S-300VM Antey-2500 missiles in Syria is giving the Russians.

The Russians do not need to make threats or fire missiles at the US or do any other reckless or dangerous things to make their point and to limit US air operations in Syria.  Despite all the brave talk of Russia being under pressure in Syria, the reality is that the Russians can achieve the same result simply by turning off the telephone.  That is what they have done, and it the reason for the tough negotiations between Tillerson and the Russians in Moscow.

Original post


Pentagon Cries Foul After Devious Russians Track US Warplanes Illegally Intruding in Syrian Airspace

Meanwhile, any Russian jet that comes within 1,000 km of NATO airspace is reported to the Hague

RI Staff 

Mon, Apr 10, 2017

Since the day after the Wright Brothers pretended to invent the airplane, the Pentagon has been flying its warplanes all over the world, dropping bombs, chemical agents, and other terrible things as part of its never-ending campaign to make Raytheon boat-loads of money.

Killing people to keep stockholders happy is simply the price of doing business — and there’s no reason to apologize or get upset about it (just look at Mosul, right now).

But what does ‘concern’ the Pentagon?

According to a Pentagon correspondent for the Stars and Stripes, ‘US aircraft being tracked while they violate a sovereign nation’s airspace’ really annoys the Defense Department a lot.

What are we talking about here? S-300s, S-400s, or maybe just boring ol’ Russian radar? It doesn’t matter — the point is that it is very concerning.

Simply outrageous. It’s almost as if Russian forces were invited to operate in Syria, while the US invited itself to the party — in violation of every basic tenet of international law.

But what exactly does ‘painted’ mean — aside from ‘Russian war crimes’?

We consulted with a trusted RI source who, once upon a time, worked on US military fire control radar. Here’s his take:

Painted refers to radar beam crossing over something, like a paint brush. Most combat aircraft have a detection system that listens for radar. When it receives a signal, it analyzes it (frequency, pulse width, frequency changes, etc.) as well as the direction and intensity; it puts that all on a small screen in the cockpit so the aircrew knows it is being looked at, tracked or fired upon. You can tell if you are locked on and if a missile was fired on most anti aircraft systems.

So there you have it.

Here’s a fun take from the always-great Moon of Alabama:

Remember: Any time a Russian jet comes within 1,000 kilometers of Estonia, NATO calls for an emergency meeting to discuss how best to respond to Russian aggression.

And here we have US planes entering sovereign airspace, illegally, and often times dropping bombs, and the Pentagon is concerned about being ‘painted’ by the Russians. 

There’s such an easy solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem.

Take your planes. And go home.

P.S. — We don’t even know if the Pentagon is being truthful about Russian air defense systems ‘painting’ US aircraft. What we do know is that the Pentagon is complaining about what could happen to their precious planes that are breaking international law. What a bunch of whiny muppets.


Reality check for stealth fighters as per comments below……….

The Russians also publicly declared that they would defend their troops in Syria if they were attacked, and warned the US of the capability of their air defence system in Syria.  This is what General Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry, said

Most officers of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties currently work ‘on the ground,’ delivering humanitarian aid and conducting negotiations with heads of settlements and armed groups in most Syrian provinces. 

That is why any missile or air strikes on the territory under control of the Syrian government, will create an obvious threat for Russian military.

And finally, I draw attention of ‘hotheads’ that after a strike on Syrian troops in Deir ez-Sor by planes of the coalition on September 17, we have taken all necessary measures to rule out any such ‘mistakes’ against Russian military and military facilities in Syria (NB: this clearly refers to the deployment of the S-300VM Antey-2500 systems to Syria – AM).

The crews on duty will hardly have the time to calculate the missile’s flight path or try to find out their nationality.  As for the laymen’s illusions about the existence of ‘invisible planes’ they may confront a disappointing reality.


F-22 Raptor: Details

S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler): Details

S-300VM Antey-2500 SA-23: Here


Turkey in final stages to purchase S-400 missile system

S-400 missile system purchase at final stage: Turkish defense minister



PublishedApril 13, 2017

Turkey’s decision to purchase S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia is to be finalized soon, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on Thursday after meeting his U.S. counterpart James Mattis at the Pentagon.

Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Işık said Turkey urgently needs an air defense system and the final decision to buy the S-400 systems will be made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Işık also said that Turkey has welcomed the recent U.S. air strike on the Syrian regime’s Shayrat air base in Syria in retaliation to the chemical weapons attack in Idlib.

“Two NATO allies need to deepen their bilateral relations, and the common threats both Turkey and the U.S. are facing make it necessary to have a strong cooperation,” the minister said.

For his part, Mattis said Turkish and American armies are working closely to fight against many terror groups, including Daesh and the PKK.

The S-400 was developed as an upgraded version of the S-300 series of surface-to-air missile systems. The system entered service in April 2007 and the first S-400 was deployed in combat in August 2007. According to sources within the defense industry, a regular S-400 battalion consists of at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post.

The system can engage all types of aerial targets, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400 kilometers (249 miles), at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers. The S-400 systems are capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defense, and the system can be deployed within five minutes, while simultaneously engaging 36 targets.

As a NATO-member, Turkey’s procurement of the Russian S-400 system has raised concerns regarding the compatibility and integration of these weapons into the N.A.T.O. infrastructure. Minister Işık clarified last month that Turkey will use the Russian systems without integration, noting: ”Russia’s S-400 missile systems will not be integrated into the N.A.T.O. system.”

Minister Işık also said the Russian missile system will be used to fulfill Turkey’s immediate requirement while stressing that the uncompromising attitude of N.A.T.O.-member countries compelled Turkey to purchasing Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. “We underwent negotiations to purchase N.A.T.O.-produced missile systems, but we could not get a reasonable offer in terms of price and technology transfer. Thus, our negotiations with the Russians have intensified,” Minister Işık said on March 15.

Original post


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Two more Russian warship head to Syria

Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland is today escorting two Russian warships which are expected to sail through the English Channel overnight tonight.

First published:15 April 2017

The Type 23 frigate located the two Russian ships in the early hours of Friday morning [14 Apr 17] as they sailed through the North Sea towards the Dover Straits.

The Steregushchiy-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny and Boiky, were joined later in the afternoon by a Russian support tanker and an ocean-going tug.

HMS Sutherland will continue to monitor the movements of the ships as they pass close to UK territorial waters today.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters. The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe.

Royal Navy sailors on the Plymouth-based frigate keep watch on every movement of the ships, using state-of-the-art radars to track the course and speed of the ships as they pass close to the UK.

Commander Andrew Canale, the Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland, said:

As one of the Royal Navy’s high readiness units, HMS Sutherland is required to escort warships that approach the UK and this task is considered routine business for us.

It is vitally important the Royal Navy demonstrates its presence and commitment to the integrity of UK territorial waters as we work around the clock to secure the seas of our island nation.

As a high-readiness unit, HMS Sutherland may be called upon at any time to help prevent arms trafficking, people smuggling, conduct counter-terrorism operations, maritime search and rescue, or escort duties like those it is undertaking today.

Original post


Soobrazitelny and Boiky are both Soobrazitelny Class Corvettes……….

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Must Read: F-35 Continues to Stumble

The article is pretty long and comprehensive in regards to the F-35 problems and plenty of links so please click to read original post…………

F-35 Continues to Stumble: Here


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Russia new “Shtorm” aircraft carrier Project 23E000E will go into service by 2030

Why is Russia creating the biggest aircraft carrier in the world?


Due to bubbling geopolitical tensions, Russia needs to show its presence in various parts of the world. As a result, it’s building an aircraft carrier that will be able to simultaneously carry up to 100 fighters and bombers.

The new “Shtorm” aircraft carrier – a.k.a. Project 23E000E – will be included in Russia’s next armament program for the 2019 to 2025 period. The aircraft carrier will go into service in the navy by 2030 and experts say that its potential base will be Severomorsk (1,880 km north of Moscow).

During the campaign in Syria Moscow has realized the necessity of such a ship. Moscow sent the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier group to Syria’s shores, however, the ship has already done three decades of service and is on its last legs.

“On the Russian ship’s deck there were about 30 planes, while an American aircraft carrier can carry up to 90. Also, the take-off speed on the Admiral Kuznetsov was a few minutes, while on an American aircraft carrier three planes can take off in one minute. Moreover, there are many tasks that the Russian ship cannot perform today. Therefore, Russia needs a new modern aircraft carrier,” said a source from Russia’s defense industry.

In today’s geopolitical conditions Russia’s presence on the world’s oceans is necessary for protecting itself from potential aggressors, experts believe. “An aircraft carrier is a point of strength. It can move about the world and dictate its conditions to others. Of course, for the Americans our aircraft carrier means nothing because they have 19 of them. While Russia will have one, two at the most. Nevertheless, it’s a force to be reckoned with,” a source told RBTH.

What is Shtorm all about?

The Russian ship’s parameters will be similar to the U.S. Gerald R. Ford supercarrier, notes Professor Vadim Kozyulin from the Academy of Military Sciences.

Like the American carriers, Shtorm will have a completely open deck. It will also not be protected by artillery, similar to the Soviet-Russian Admiral Kuznetsov.

“It will be a floating airport that is accompanied by an entire squadron of ships,” added Kozyulin.

The area of the take-off deck will be equivalent to three football fields. The deck will contain four lanes of various lengths, as well as a mixed launching system comprising springboard and springboard-catapulting.

Kozyulin stressed that due to the absence of weapon systems aboard the aircraft carrier it will be guarded by about ten ships including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and submarines.

Also, two RITM-200 nuclear engines will help Shtorm accelerate to 30 knots (30 mph or 55 km/h). The ship’s overall displacement will be 100,000 tons and its draft 11 meters. The ship’s crew will be about 4,000 strong.

However, Russian defense experts will have to solve a series of problems before the aircraft carrier is built.

What the aircraft carrier lacks

Shtorm’s deck will carry MiG-29K fighter jets and the naval version of the fifth-generation T-50 plane, Kozyulin believes. And while the navy has already received deck fighters from the MiG family, and perhaps even tested them in Syria, the new generation T-50 is only being developed in Russia. And its ship version still only exists in blueprint form.

“Also, Shtorm will need corresponding infrastructure. A special dock will have to be built for such a ship and it will have to be protected as it stands in the harbor on all sides – land, air, and sea. This means that additional air defense and coast guard units may appear around its base,” explained military expert and Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS Countries Vladimir Evseyev.

Moreover, according to experts, the construction of Shtorm will cost from 350 billion to one trillion rubles ($6.15 to $17.5 billion), depending on the ship’s components.

“Considering the 90 deck fighters that will have to be built for Shtorm, as well as the necessary infrastructure, the aircraft carrier’s costs could easily double,” added Evseyev.

Because of the high price and the economic sanctions many experts, including one of the creators of Shtorm’s first model Vladimir Pepelyaev, doubt that the project will appear in its original form. Consequently, the constructors have already begun developing an equivalent that has smaller dimensions but similar combat potential.

Original post


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MiG-29K: Details

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US attack ISIS hits poison gas supplies and released toxins which ‘killed hundreds’ in Syria

Syria: US hit ISIS chemical weapons depot, killing hundreds

Syrian sources claim the US attack Wednesday on ISIS targets struck poison gas supplies and released toxins which ‘killed hundreds’.

Yoel Domb, 13/04/17 15:40

The Syrian army claimed that an air strike late yesterday by the US-led coalition hit poison gas supplies belonging to ISIS, and released a toxic substance that killed “hundreds including many civilians”. Syria says it has destroyed its own poison gas weapons.

The incident in the eastern Deir al-Zor province proved that ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked militants “possess chemical weapons”, a statement by the army publicized on Syrian state TV claimed, adding that these weapons had been obtained from “countries in the region which are well known.”

The report could not immediately be independently verified and the US has denied that it attacked any ISIS chemical weapons site.

Last week the US launched cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase , in response to a deadly poison gas attack in the west of the country that Washington blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Syria and its ally Russia deny that Damascus carried out any such chemical attack. Assad even claims that the US ‘fabricated’ the chemical attack, while Moscow has said the poison gas in that incident last week in Idlib province belonged to rebels.”

Experts have said that there is no proof that Syria destroyed its chemical weapons when it promised Barack Obama it would do so and that in addition, it may be manufacturing them.

The US strike on the Syrian air base last Thursday was the first time Washington has deliberately and directly targeted the Syrian government.

Original post

Main Image: FILE PHOTO: Frame grab from video provided by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, black smoke rises from an airstrike on an Islamic State group’s position, in Deir al-Zour, north – Source


Guess now it’s Russia’s turn to send some cruise missiles to US positions in Syria…………


Asia must shield against Trump’s missiles

April 14, 2017 01:00 

By The Nation

A US strike against North Korea would damage the entire region and embroil the world in conflict

There are reasons aplenty to believe that the United States under President Donald Trump could trigger another global war. If he sees more horrifying photos or hears horrendous stories about further atrocities committed by any government or militant group anywhere in the world, he might be unable to control his emotional reaction or rein in the gut instinct to punish the perceived wrongdoers. He would certainly opt for the use of force, which in American culture represents strength and power, as was clear enough in the American mainstream media’s standing ovation for Trump’s strike against Syria a week ago.

Since Trump became president, America’s global role has turned upside down and spun around. If any other nation with the power to do so had lashed out at Syria as the US did, there would have been no end to the international recriminations. Trump, however, works a form of mercurial magic, so that it doesn’t matter what he’s done or said previously. His beliefs are malleable, and US policy has to bend with them.

Thailand, of course, can offer any other country lessons in this sort of flexibility. Thailand might be the most flexible nation of all, a ready partner for any government or cause, as needs dictate. America before Trump had no such flexibility, because its actions depended on esteemed principles.

But Trump has changed all that. Claiming to be teary-eyed at seeing images of the babies gassed in Syria and ready to wreak vengeance on their behalf, he will henceforth be widely portrayed as a leader with a heart, regardless of his anti-immigration policies targeting Muslims (including Syrians). Any contradictions perceived will be dismissed as

“alternative contradictions”. White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s defences of his president’s actions are befuddling, if not shameful, teeming with words like “incredible” and “wonderful”.

For Asia, the most dangerous aspect of the careening Trump doctrine is plain to see – the possible use of force against North Korea. We in this region cannot afford to feel complacent about the US raining Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield simply because it was so far away in the Middle East. If there were a similar attack against targets in North Korea, all of Asia would register the impact, beginning with South Korea and rippling southward. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is a very different leader than Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Assad might have felt nothing when he unleashed chemical weapons against his own people, but Kim has far worse armaments in hand if he decides, without feelings, to strike out against South Korea, Japan or US warships in the vicinity, and the death toll could be colossal.

This is no longer a remote risk. Having finally garnered media praise and boosted his popularity ratings by acting against Syria, Trump is primed to use force again. As every world leader knows, war is a handy way to divert public attention from domestic problems.

Thus, we are again perched on the edge of an abyss. Trump no doubt feels comfortable with a Tomahawk in his hand and was unscathed in its first use. When his predecessor, Barack Obama, initially threatened to hit Assad, citizen Trump criticised him for war-mongering. As presidential candidate, Trump maintained that there was no need for American involvement. As a troubled president, he found wisdom in it. The Americans who elected him, who had no admiration for Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, love macho leaders.

With China hopefully leading by example, it would be best for Asian nations to unite against the imposition of Trump’s newfound doctrine here, so that we remain the masters of our own destiny.

Original post


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Iraq and Syria are not humanitarian operations. They are business locations