(National Sentinel) Middle East: The longer the Syrian civil war grinds on, the more likely it is to draw some of the world’s great powers into conflict, namely Russia and the United States.
As reported by the UK’s Independent:
Russia has threatened to shoot down US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces operate amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet.
The country’s defence ministry said it would also suspend a hotline between Russia and the US set up to prevent mid-air collisions.
The statement followed after a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian army SU-22 jet on Sunday in the countryside southwest of Raqqa.
Washington said the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces but Damascus said the plane was downed while flying a mission against Isis militants.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said the suspension of its communication channel with the Americans would begin immediately.
U.S. officials did not use the communications channel prior to shooting down the Syrian warplane, the Russian ministry said, adding that was a “deliberate failure to make good on its commitments” under the de-confliction deal.
“The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” the ministry added.
“The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-country are a flagrant violation of international law and an actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Meanwhile, Reuters added:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also told the agency that a set of new U.S. sanctions that can be imposed on Russia will lead Moscow to retaliate.
Ryabkov said that he and U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon would meet in St Petersburg on June 23 to discuss problems in bilateral ties, Interfax reported.
President Donald J. Trump has vowed to protect U.S. forces while taking the fight to ISIS in a big way. Russia’s threat, while not hollow, will likely be seen at the Pentagon as an attempt to hamper that effort.
To explain why Moscow would risk war with the United States and NATO over Syria has much to do with why Russia did not retaliate against Turkey after Turkish F-16s downed a Russian Su-25 last year: Oil and gas.
Granted, Turkey is also a member of NATO, but, Moscow is playing the long economic game in Syria, as noted by Zero Hedge last fall. So is Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States:
Qatar is a Sunni gas-powerhouse and wants to become the main supplier of gas there, and Saudi Arabia is a Sunni oil-powerhouse, which wants to become the major supplier of oil, but Saudi oil and Qatari gas would be pipelined through secular-controlled (Assad’s) Syria, and this is why the U.S. and its fundamentalist-Sunni allies, the Sauds, and Qataris, are using Al Qaeda and other jihadists to conquer enough of a strip through Syria so that U.S. companies such as Halliburton will be able safely to place pipelines there, to be marketed in Europe by U.S. firms such as Exxon. Iran also wants to pipeline its gas through Syria, and this is one reason why Iran is defending Syria’s government, against the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-jihadist invasion, which is trying to overthrow and replace Assad.
This map helps explains all of this:
In addition, the U.S. does not want to lose its military foothold in the Middle East.
As for oil and gas, Russia and Turkey have already signed a separate pipeline deal:
In a sign Moscow and Ankara remain capable of compartmentalizing political differences in pursuit of economic deals, the two sides on Monday signed an inter-governmental agreement to build the stalled TurkStream gas pipeline under the Black Sea to Turkey.
Putin also announced Russia would resume imports fruits and vegetables from Turkey and the two sides set up an investment fund to “boost relations in many areas, such as tourism, energy, agriculture and transport,” Turkish state-run Anatolian News Agency reported.
There is much more at stake in Syria than meets the eye.