Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Well, That's Sticky

The Russians in Syria have been crowding the Turkish border and Turkey shot down a Russian plane:

Russia's defense ministry said one of its Su-24 fighter jets had been downed in Syria and that, according to preliminary information, the pilots were able to eject. It said the aircraft had been over Syria for the duration of its flight.

The Turkish military said the aircraft had been warned 10 times in the space of five minutes about violating Turkish airspace. Officials said a second plane had also approached the border and been warned.

Could have been worse if we did it.

UPDATE: As Turkey looks to us for support, I'd just like to note that prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Turkey denied us the use of their territory for 4th Infantry Division to strike into northern Iraq.

Just saying.

UPDATE: Russia's military options to escalate against Turkey are limited.

Unless Russia nukes Turkey.

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact denies Russia the ability to attack Turkey from Bulgaria.

And the collapse of the Soviet Union eliminate Russia's land border with eastern Turkey.

Further, Turkey can instantly cut off Russia's sea line of communication from the Black Sea to the eastern Mediterranean via the Turkish straits.

Really, Turkey is strong enough to hold off a non-nuclear Russian attack with only logistical and intelligence help from NATO.

Before a conventional war is over, Turkey might have sunk Russia's Mediterranean flotilla and bombed Russia's naval bases in recently conquered Crimea.

I'm not saying Putin won't escalate. I'm saying it wouldn't make sense.

UPDATE: Stratfor has thoughts.

Let me add that if Russia wants to send a message directly to us, the temptation to go F-22 hunting might be irresistible.

UPDATE: If Putin hopes to leverage Russia's intervention in Syria to end Western sanctions over his invasion of Ukraine, this is rather counter-productive, isn't it?

Russia threatened economic retaliation against Turkey on Thursday and said it was still awaiting a reasonable explanation for the shooting down of its warplane, but Turkey dismissed the threats as "emotional" and "unfitting".

It will be tougher for Europeans to end sanctions on Russia over Ukraine when Russia puts economic pressure on Turkey--a NATO ally--over the shoot-down.