Moscow has announced that Russia’s S-300 air defense system will be able to close parts of Syrian airspace, adding that the arguments of Moscow’s partners, who had previously asked not to deliver the S-300s to Syria, have no effect anymore. This comes after Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Israel is to blame for the downing of the Il-20.
Sputnik discussed this with Scott Bennett, a geopolitical analyst, and counterterrorism analyst.
Sputnik: How would you assess the situation in Syria following the downing of the Russian recon plane and Russia’s decision to deploy S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems to Syria?
Scott Bennett: I agree with the statements that the Russian director has already made in response to the S-300, it was Vladimir Ermakov, the director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry. He has said that the S-300s are going to stabilize the region, they’re not going to destabilize it, and I agree with that 100%. Russia has every obligation and duty to its military service members, to its allies in Syria to rise and stand up and protect Syrian airspace from the ongoing attacks from Israel, from NATO, from the United States, from France, it’s unlimited.
It’s long overdue, quite honestly, they should’ve done this a long time ago. But that being as it may, the shooting down of the Russian plane by the Israelis, which was an intentional act, it was an act of war, they altered their trajectory, they altered the defensive missile so that it intentionally hit the Russian plane, that’s very clear now, so I think it’s a wise decision, I think the S-300 will stabilize the region, it will stabilize the airspace.Nothing will get through, and suddenly you’ll have the Syrian government, the Syrian military, and the Russians being able to follow through with their mission, which is purging Syria from foreign invaders. Let’s never forget that all the military presence on the ground in Syria that are not there by the invitation of Syrian President Bashar Assad are invaders.
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They are declaring an act of war, it’s in violation of the United Nations Charter, they’re violating the sovereignty of Syria, they’re not there protecting the interests of America, or NATO, or Europe. That is all a lie, they are invaders and they are there for the purpose of overthrowing Bashar Assad, to spread up into Syria, which will then be used to make a right turn into Iraq, and a left into Europe and then go north into Russia, that’s always been the plan of the neo-conservative warmongers — John Bolton and others.
I think Russia has checkmated this putting in the missiles there and now they need to be prepared to shoot down any planes that illegally cross the airspace, that are intending to kill more Russian troops, otherwise, if they don’t shoot them down, if they don’t protect themselves, they will be inviting more and more attacks, whether it lasts a year or five years.
The invaders will never stop until they’ve achieved their objectives, so Russia has to be prepared to use the missiles in defense of its serviceman, and I hope the West understands that.
Sputnik: Why do you think Israel had such a change of heart? Previously we saw them informing Russia of any military action to make sure that there was no Russian personnel in the line of fire. Second of all, you said that this was almost like an act of war basically, do you think that the Russian reaction was too soft? How do you expect Israel to respond to this long-term?
Scott Bennett: I think the Israelis were probing and testing Russia’s resolve and they always have; they don’t care about anything but themselves and their objective has always been to overthrow Assad. That is why Israel started this war with Saudi Arabia against Syria, and they did it with Turkey and the United States. I was there, I know, I remember some of the planning that was going on in the RAND corporation in 2008, so this has been a long time coming, but Israel was probing the Russians to see if they would respond, because Israel would’ve increasingly bombed and killed and just escalated its own military tactics in Syria.
So this is a test operation and the Russians have reacted to that test by saying, no more, this will never happen again; you will not intentionally use our planes for shields and kill our soldiers so that you can come in and bomb Syria, and they’ve put in the S-300s and now they’re needing to turn the key and say that, if anyone crosses this airspace they will be shot down, period, that’s Russia’s authority with the full permission of the Syrian government.So I think Russia’s response now told the Israelis that if you want to have any sort of relationship with Russia you can’t go in and start killing its soldiers, so we’re going to guarantee that this doesn’t happen.
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Russia’s response I think was a very measured and intelligent response. Putin is a very good chess player, he’s keeping a lot of things in balance, he is balancing Turkey, he has to balance Israel, he has to balance Iran, he has to balance Syria, and he has to balance the United States.
I think Russia is increasingly trying to keep peace in the region and disregard John Bolton and Nikki Haley in the Trump administration, who I think are completely off the reservation and not serving the President, I think, they are in fact, betraying the President because President Trump was elected under the promise to the American people that he would get America out of Syria.
Now we see the same neo-conservative warmongers who got us into Iraq after 9/11and who’ve pushed this war hegemony since 2001, we see the same lunatics in the administration pushing another war against Syria and then Iran.
So it’s a betrayal of the American people and Trump that Bolton and these people are in this position, and that being said, I am hopeful that Trump will eventually wake up and kick them out of his administration, and recognize that his only hope is to be with the American people, but these people have been pushing for war, so Putin is most likely going to completely disregard anything and everything John Bolton says and Nikki Haley says, and so he should; they are inveterate liars.The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of Scott Bennett and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik