06 October 2015


It appears that the Russian military deployment to Syria has put the kibosh on plans for establishing a no fly zone in Syria.

Considering what "No Fly Zones" are these days, the military overthrow of a sovereign nation, (see Libya) this is a good thing:
Russia’s bombing of anti-regime rebels in Syria has been described as a disaster for the US-led coalition’s efforts to destroy Isis, the Islamist militant group, but the Kremlin’s real challenge to Washington is in the skies above the war-torn country.

Alongside a modest Latakia-based contingent of two dozen Su-24 Fencer and Su-25 Frogfoot jets — planes designed to strike land targets — Moscow has deployed assets which render the prospect of no-fly zones enforced by the US or its allies over Syria impossible to enact.

Just weeks ago, after months of diplomacy, officials were close to an agreement on enforcing aerial safe-zones to end the Assad regime’s bombing of civilians in northern and southern Syria, according to diplomats and military officials in the US-led coalition. The agreement was based on Jordanian and Turkish plans presented earlier this year.


“The ultimate reason all this is happening is because of the renewed focus on Syria and the need for some sort of political solution there — something which we thought we could achieve by enforcing no-fly zones, safe zones,” said one senior European diplomat.

But any hopes of military co-ordination with Russia to achieve this, even in the wake of its disruptive deployment, are swiftly being dashed.

Nato’s supreme military commander in Europe, US General Phillip Breedlove warned last week that the alliance was “worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean.” A2/AD stands for anti-access, area denial.

Gen Breedlove’s fears have been realised in the past days as Russia’s small deployment of four Su-30 “flanker” jets, which are at Latakia’s Bassel al-Assad air base — highly manoeuvreable aircraft designed to shoot down other aircraft — has been augmented with a far more powerful arsenal.

Russia’s ministry of defence announced on Friday the deployment of its navy cruiser the Moskva to Latakia. The Moskva is armed with a complement of 64 S-300 ship-to-air missiles, Russia’s most powerful anti-aircraft weapon.


“The Russian forces now in place make it very, very obvious that any kind of no-fly zone on the Libyan model imposed by the US and allies is now impossible, unless the coalition is actually willing to shoot down Russian aircraft,” says Justin Bronk, research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.

“The Russians are not playing ball at deconfliction — they are just saying, ‘keep out of our way’. The coalition’s operations in Syria will be vastly more complex from a risk assessment point of view and from a mission-planning point of view.”
Just to remind you, the Libyan model was for the air forces to provide close air support for the rebels while arming them to the teeth.

Libya is now a complete mess, of course, with no functioning central government, and ethnic cleansing of  their more darkly complected citizenry.

And this is the model that General Strangelove Breedlove wants to repeat.


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