Friday, November 06, 2015

I Guess Words Do Matter

Russia entered the war in Syria loudly proclaiming their intention to attack ISIL, but largely ignored ISIL as they bombed other rebels. Oddly enough, ISIL still feels at war with Russia:

The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the disaster, in which the Saint Petersburg-bound jet crashed minutes after taking off, killing all 224 mainly Russian tourists on board. ...

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that electronic communications intercepted by British and US spies suggested a bomb may have been carried onto the plane.

A joint intelligence operation used satellites to uncover the chatter between militants in Sinai and Syria, it said.

People keep saying that retribution by Russia will be harsh. Perhaps it will.

But Russia never did make an open retaliation for the Beslan school massacre. Heck, I recall that the Soviets had a couple of their flagged civilian ships attacked during the Iran-Iraq War and they never openly retaliated. Perhaps there was quiet retaliation known in the world of spooks, but the world certainly saw nothing.

How things have changed. I was pretty broke back then, but still sent a donation to the Russians because it was so horrifying that their children were slaughtered.

And now Putin stokes needless fears of America's alleged plots against them. And I can't work up a lot of tears for their loss to terrorists, though I know I should since the people on the flight certainly didn't deserve any of this no matter what their government is doing.

I do wonder if this terror attack will compel Putin to divert forces from the current campaign in support of Assad in order to strike ISIL and be seen as doing something.

UPDATE: Russia has 80,000 targets for ISIL in Egypt:

Around 80,000 Russians are stranded in Egypt after the Kremlin grounded all flights to the country following the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Saturday. ...

A planned process to evacuate tourists will be executed," Russian news agencies quoted Safonov as saying. "Planes will arrive empty and be boarded by those tourists who should return home on that date."

The Egyptian military is organizing this effort, apparently.

This article says that Putin could benefit from a terror attack on the plane if Russian opinion backs escalation in Syria.

But how does it benefit Putin if he feels compelled to escalate against ISIL (which we'd welcome) if it detracts from his focus on supporting Assad by attacking non-ISIL rebels in western Syria as he has been doing?

UPDATE: A few words about this attack might have been nice to know before that Russian plane was bombed, don't you think?

A flight from London Stansted to the Egyptian resort reportedly had a close call with a deadly missile.

The Thompson plane carrying 189 passengers is said to have come within 1000ft of the rocket.

Thankfully, the pilot took evasive action in time and the flight landed safely.

The Department for Transport confirmed the incident involving the British flight occurred on August 23 – although passengers on the plane were not told at the time.

I suspect it must have been a slow, unguided RPG-type anti-tank weapon and not an anti-aircraft missile. Otherwise, a lumbering civilian plane couldn't evade it.

Still, that's the kind of threat environment that should be publicized before the threat succeeds, isn't it?

UPDATE: Speaking of Russian paranoia, this won't help on that issue:

A prominent Russian millionaire with high-level ties to the Kremlin has been found dead inside a Washington hotel, a Russian official and a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government who's been accused of curtailing the country’s press freedoms, had been staying at The DuPont Circle Hotel when he was found Thursday, according to officials.

The story says it is unclear why he was in Washington, DC. One can't rule out that Putin had him killed if he was here to defect, I suppose. But even if that is true, it will be easy to spin that a loyal minion of Putin was killed by our CIA. The plots never end, do they?

That's their story, and they'll stick to it.