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MANPADS and NOVICHOKS

Did Russia "lose control" of its nerve agents the way that the US "lost control" of the river of US weaponry flowing into Syria and being used by terrorist groups?


This post first appeared on Russia Insider


When Al Qaeda militants shot down a Russian jet over Idlib with a US-made surface-to-air missile this February, the White House and its faithful media were smugly silent. With daily accusations that Russia was bombing hospitals and recklessly killing innocent civilians, this was evidently seen as fair payback by the patrons of the armed opposition. No-one even bothered to ask how these lethal “MANPADS” got into the hands of lawless extremists that even the US was forced to class as terrorists.

There were doubtless many who celebrated the death of the valiant Russian pilot Roman Filipov, who survived the fall but then apparently blew himself up to avoid being taken hostage. The jihadists had long been pleading with the West to send them MANPADS, and now they had got them:

"Mahmoud Turkmani, the military commander of the HTS air defence battalion, managed to shoot down a military plane by an anti-aircraft MANPADS in the sky of Saraqeb in the Idlib countryside in late afternoon today," Ebaa News, the unofficial media outlet used by HTS, reported.” (WaPo Feb 4th 2017)

It was a demonstration of just how useful such a weapon could be, much like US-made TOWs have been in pushing back the Syrian Army’s tanks. It didn’t look much like coincidence that these “rebels” had finally got the defensive weapon they wanted, when their backs were to the wall, at least not to Russians:

Russian politicians have claimed the US and its allies supplied an anti-aircraft missile used to shoot down a Russian jet over Syria, as Moscow increased attacks on rebels in the country's Idlib province and amid reports of government gas attacks.

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The supplying of MANPADS to Syrian insurgents had actually been authorised by Obama before Trump’s inauguration and just a week after the liberation of Aleppo, and given cause for this angry response from the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova:

- regarding the missiles falling into the hands of the Islamic State - “Perhaps, they even expect this to happen, since they actually sponsor the Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist group, outlawed in Russia - TASS], which is a unit of al Qaeda. This can hardly be called otherwise than aiding and abetting terrorists,” reports Russian State News Agency TASS.

One might speculate on exactly how the missile “fell into the hands” of HTS, and whether the Turkish forces present in the area could have been involved. Given the long history of cooperation between the Turks and the CIA in smuggling weapons and fighters into that same area of Syria, and Erdogan’s previous vocal support for his “Turkmen brothers” in Syria – of whom Mahmoud Turkmani is clearly one – this seems likely. But Erdogan was also doing the bidding of the CIA - pulling the trigger on their gun.

When Theresa May first declared that “Novichok, a nerve agent developed in Russia” was responsible for the attack on the Skripals in Salisbury, she didn’t state categorically that the Kremlin ordered the attack. That was left to her “loutish” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Before she joined him and other “world leaders” in directly blaming the Kremlin, and launching provocative and totally unjustified actions against Russia, she had also allowed that the nerve agent may have fallen into others’ hands.

Of course Russia would still be responsible, she maintained, for “losing control” of its toxic weaponry:

The British leader said police identified the poison as a “military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.”

She said Russia either engaged in a direct attack against Britain or lost control of the nerve agent it developed. Britain will not tolerate such a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil,” she warned.

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Interestingly Rex Tillerson, who at that point was still Secretary of State agreed the agent came from Russia, but was more guarded on culpability:

He said that it was unknown “at this point” whether the attack came “with the Russian government’s knowledge” but noted that the substance used “is only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties.”

He didn’t say who those parties were – the United Kingdom, USA, Sweden and Czech Republic – according to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

These doubts that the Kremlin - or “Putin” - was directly responsible for the attack were clearly not a good look, and were publicly rapidly abandoned. Which was yet more evidence that the whole case was fabricated. For whatever reason, the original intent was obviously to drive up anti-Russian and anti-Putin sentiment, always choosing the inflammatory path when more reconciliatory ones were available.

But for what reason? Would such dangerous provocation really be justified by an aversion to the sight of Vladimir Putin “glorying” in the World Cup – “an emetic prospect” according to Boris Johnson? In the view of Petri Krohn, the motive for this campaign is all about generating support in the West for a renewed offensive directly against Russia in Syria:

Any Western aggression on Syria would have to be preceded by a false-flag provocation by Syrian opposition forces. Britain pays lip service to international law and it could not launch a war of aggression without an effective propaganda campaign. Russia claims to have information that a staged chemical weapons attack is being prepared. The March 17th warning specifically says that the preparations are happening in southern Syria near the Jordanian border under U.S. supervision.

It now seems evident that the real reason for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal‎ was to drum up British support for a war against Syria and Russia. One must thus ask who would most gain from such a war. If the above analysis is correct, then the answer would be Israel.

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Which all brings us back to the US/UK coalition supporting the insurgency in Syria. If we won’t believe that Russia was not responsible, directly or indirectly, for the alleged attempted murder of Sergey Skripal, then why would we believe US denials of responsibility for allowing MANPADS to fall into the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists, who committed an act of war against Russia over Idlib?

In actual fact, and as will one day be written in history books if we survive the coming war, false flags involving chemical weapons, whether in Salisbury or Ghouta, and lethal weaponry supplied to terrorist groups, are just different aspects of the West’s war on Russia. And we might look forward to the rather “emetic prospect” of Boris Johnson at the World Court, tearfully apologizing for “losing control” of his White Helmeted army of "first responders" in Syria.


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