There is a curious coincidence of a remark Secretary of State Kerry made to Syrian opposition activists and a new paint scheme applied to some U.S. military jets.
Washington (CNN) Secretary of State John Kerry’s frustration with the failure of American diplomacy was on display as he defended US efforts to help end the five-year civil war in Syria during a meeting last week with a group of Syrian civilians, according to an audio recording obtained by CNN.
Kerry’s comments came at a meeting that took place at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations on the sidelines the UN General Assembly, where Kerry was going from session to session in a frenzied effort to resuscitate a ceasefire that seemed poised to collapse.
A complete audio recording of the meeting between Kerry, some of his staff, and some Syrians is available on youtube.
Of interest is a short segment about alleged Russian bombing beginning at 11:18. The female Arab-English interpreter translates remarks by a Syrian, believed to be the Syrian front-man of the White Helmets scam Raed Saleh, about the difficulties of supervising ceasefires.
Interpreter (translating from a male Arabic speaker): We don’t believe that Russia can be the guarantor of the actions of the regime. We see Russia is a partner of the regime in bombing Syrians, Syrian civilians, market places, even our own team, the Syrian Civil Defense team. We documented since the start of the Russian intervention in Syria from day one until February of this year more than 17 of our Syrian Civil Defense personal have been killed by Russian airstrikes.
Kerry: Do you have any videos of the airplanes of these strikes?
(crosstalk interpreter and male Arab voice)
Kerry: Can we get that (unintelligible) videos the agents have been asking for?
(crosstalk interpreter and male Arab voice)
Kerry staff member: So can I just say – we get a lot of videos of the victims of these attacks, they are terrible, but they don’t help us. We need videos of the actual aircrafts and ammunition. And there is a lot of them on the internet but we don’t know whether they are real or not. Verified videos of the actual aircraft is the most useful thing. …
These men can be helped, though someone in the U.S. military – or not.
A Canadian journalist based in Eastern/Central Europe, Christian Borys tweeted yesterday:
Christian Borys @ItsBorysThe U.S is painting their F/A-18’s to match the paint schemes of Russian jets in #Syria. Standard training, but interesting nonetheless. pic.twitter.com/FVN6tMj2Ji
1:45 PM – 6 Oct 2016
This is the attached pic:
The first three pics are of an U.S. F/A-18 fighter and attack aircraft in Russian coloring. (The wingtips are raised for storage as this is a carrier enabled plane. The windows of the raised cockpit hood are covered with white sun protection sheets.) On the bottom right is a picture of a Russia SU-34 in the usual Russian color scheme as it is also used by the Russian contingent in Syria.
It would be extremely difficult to distinguish these like-colored planes from each other in a shaky fly-by and “bombing” video.
The U.S. regularly uses planes in “enemy” color schemes as “aggressor force” during training and maneuvers. It helps U.S. pilots to get used to “enemy” targets during air-to-air combat training. So this can all be, like Christian Borys assumes, “standard training”.
But there is also Kerry’s talk with the Syrian opposition and his explicit request for videos of “Russian” jets bombing in Syria.
This may be an innocent coincidence: Secretary Kerry is asking the scam artists of the White Helmets for video of Russian jets “bombing civilians” in Syria and, just by chance, the U.S. military is painting one of its jets to look like a “Russian” Su-34 strike fighter like those deployed in Syria.
But many incidents in Syria, the Ghouta gas attack, the recent aid convoy attack, get attributed to Russia or the Syrian government without any proof (or even despite contrary evidence). The media always eat these falsehoods up based simply on some official’s say-so, some unverified pictures or video and without asking any further questions. A “Russian attack” on some large civilian target like a refugee camp, documented on video!, would be a very easy sell. The propagandized “uproar” over such an attack could be easily used to launch a wider war. The attack on the Gleiwitz Radio tower, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and “Saddam’s WMDs” come to mind. Kerry is not shy of such lying. Today he invented a new hospital attack, said it was a war crime and that Russia and Syria should be investigated. No such attack happened.
The Russian parliament ratified an agreement with Syria about the indefinite stationing of Russian forces in Syria. Yesterday the Russian Ministry of Defense warned that Russian soldiers are embedded with Syrian units on the ground and that they would be defended against any attempt of air attacks by the Russian air-defense in Syria. U.S. media called such matter of course statement bellicose talk.
There is plenty of lose talk in U.S. media about attacking Syrian and Russian forces in Syria. The U.S. recently bombed a Syrian unit in a well known position it had held for many month. 82 Syrian soldier died and many more were wounded. The strike furthered the advance of ISIS on the besieged Deir Ezzor. That was no ‘mistake’ as the U.S. claimed.
Russia will defend its forces in Syria and it will defend Syria’s sovereignty. It is not alone. A Chinese navy frigate just arrived in the Syrian port Tartus. Should that trip-wire get touched 1.3 billion Chinese would join the Russians, Iranians and Syrians in waging war against the U.S. “regime change” attempt in Syria. Washington is warned. No cheap paint scheme trickery will be accepted as reason to hold back. Russia WILL hit back should the need arise.
Any attack on Russian or Syrian forces would be illegal. Kerry himself, in the above linked talk, says that the U.S. has absolutely no legal grounds for any such attack. It would be illegitimate and a crime. But the U.S. is not known for staying strictly within the framework of international law. Russia is well advised to warn of the eventual consequences of any breach. There is nothing “bellicose” about that.