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Bloomberg View: New Russian air defenses in Syria lowered US to the ground

Josh Rogin and Eli lake

«International initiative for the destruction of the «Islamic state» is experiencing a new crisis, provoked by the Kremlin. The US has stopped flying manned missions air support for the rebels in the strategically important areas of Northern Syria in connection with the deployment of Russian air defense systems, and the Obama administration with a difficult decision, what to do with it,» — writes Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin and Eli lake.

In recent weeks, the Russian military operation in Syria expanded, and the recent deployment of the military equipment has frustrated the attempts of the coalition led by the United States to provide support to Syrian rebels fighting Islamic state on the Turkish-Syrian border to the West of the Euphrates, as reported by journalists, a number of employees of the Obama administration and U.S. Department of defense. This important section of the front known in military circles as «Block 4».

Earlier this month, Moscow has deployed an advanced air defense system «Buk» near this area and began to «light up» American planes, sending them on radar signals that, according to U.S. officials, was a direct and dangerous provocation. «The Pentagon has stopped all manned space flights, though U.S. drones are still flying in this area. Then Russia started to bomb U.S.-backed rebels,» the authors report.

In the highest circles of the administration officials argue about what to do next. This issue was serious enough that the U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry raised it at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, and the Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff General John Dunford had also discussed it with his Russian counterpart, according to the official representative of the Central command of the U.S. air force.

At the moment the USA seems to be inferior to Russian attempts to prevent American manned aircraft in the skies over the region and «agree to their rules of the game», said speaking on condition of anonymity, the official administration.

While diplomatic negotiations dragged on, the Russian military continues to strengthen the position of Assad and deter operations of the coalition, says former analyst of the Central command of the U.S. armed forces Matthew macinnis.

«The Russians are trying to create zones in which they would give permission to fly U.S., he says. — The Russians have been more dependent on the military situation in his actions.»

Macinnis says that he has heard other Western diplomats expressed concern about how the United States can make concessions to the Russians and the Syrians to achieve a truce. «Of course, there is some concern regarding how far the administration was prepared to go to accommodate Russian positions on Assad,» he said.

According to the former Obama Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, the Russians may be another motive for the expansion of military operations in Northern Syria — to put pressure on Turkey.

«The success of any efforts of the USA in order to bring Assad to the negotiating table will depend on the pressure on the Syrian regime. However, at this critical moment the United States not only ease the pressure, but also inferior to Russian pressure. This is beneficial not only to Assad and Russia and the «Islamic state», — concluded Rogin and lake.

Bloomberg View: New Russian air defenses in Syria lowered US to the ground 19.12.2015

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