26 November 2015

Russian/Turkish Hostilities Escalating

15 Kislev 5776

Tit-For-Tat

Russia bombs aid convoy amid airspace dispute, Turkey says

Russian warplanes bombed a Turkish truck convoy at the Syrian border on Wednesday amid increasing tensions between the two countries over Turkey's downing of a Russian jet.

Turkey Sends 20 Additional Tanks To Syrian Border

Tensions remain high in the region following Turkey’s downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber that did or did not cross into Turkish airspace.

...“Accompanied by police and gendarmes, 20 tanks were sent by rail from Turkey’s western provinces by railway to Gaziantep in the south of the country, and then redirected to the Syrian border,” a military source told the agency.

...With the increase of Turkish sorties near the Syrian border, few experts expected that to go unnoticed or unmatched by Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Today, Putin ordered state-of-the art air defense missile systems to protect Russia’s interests in Syria.

(Turkey moves 20 tanks to its border and sends 18 fighter jets on patrol as Russia crisis continues)

The following would explain why Turkey acted so quickly to take down Russia's fighter jet. I never believed Erdogan would take such a decision independently.

Declassified: NATO confronts Russian base on Turkey’s border

When Turkey shot down a Russian jet Tuesday, NATO was facing its worst fear: a direct confrontation with the Russian military. The problem on NATO's southern border is much bigger than this one incident; the new Russian base near Turkey presents a larger strategic challenge for the alliance that if ignored could lead to ongoing clashes.

Two days ago, Petr Pavel, the chairman of the NATO military committee and top military adviser to NATO's secretary general, warned me about the long-term implications of the new Russian airbase in Latakia, Syria. The Czech general did not know then that the Russian presence in Syria would cause an international crisis so soon. But he already knew that NATO needed to figure out a comprehensive policy to push back against Russia's new base.

..."There are different ways NATO can react," Pavel said. Facing Russia's attempt to impose anti-access, area-denial capability near Turkey, he said, "the most brutal way of how to resolve the issue . is to suppress it."

But using military assets to challenge Russia's new protected zone around its base would take a lot of resources and carries risks of further confrontation, he warned. Pavel would rather that NATO use less "brutal" tools to bear against Moscow.

"We can use different kinds of pressures, starting from political, diplomatic, economic and also military in other areas, rather than pushing through the wall," he said.

...The clash between Russia and Turkey is destabilizing, but the real destabilizing move was Putin's decision to place a new power-projection and access-denial base just miles from a NATO country without any consultation. NATO chose not to deal with that dangerous situation for months. Now the alliance has no choice.