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With Skies Over Syria and Iran Covered by Russian Air Defenses, Next Play Is NATO's

After Turkish shoot down of Russian Su-24 bomber the Russians are wasting no time in bulking up not just their own - but also Syria's and Iran's anti-air capabilities

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This post first appeared on Russia Insider

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the downing of the SU-24 jet, then it will lie in the future course of relations between Moscow and Washington's allies.

The attack on Russia’s Sukhoi torpedoed any remaining trust or possible cooperation Moscow may have attributed to Turkey and the US-led coalition in future diplomatic negotiations held in Vienna.

Instead, an impulsive choice, or worse, an act of frustration has shattered many longstanding, patiently developed diplomatic ties.

Ankara’s actions highlight a change in NATO’s strategy in Syria. The aggression has progressed from being strictly a proxy war, funded and trained by the West, to one where the west is now directly involved.

A good example of this is the coalition jet that killed 3 Syrian soldiers and wounded 13. It’s the first act of direct aggression in over 4 years and represents a new escalation of the conflict. This change in strategy is also apparent in the deployment of 50 US special forces ‘boots’ and a thousand German soldiers on the ground in Syria.

The reason behind these deployments is the failure of the original NATO plan that intended Assad be overthrown by tens of thousands of mercenaries. Four and a half years later, even the most hostile and least rational policy makers in the United States now realize that this plan was doomed to fail since the beginning.

The Russian air campaign has thus rekindled some Cold War nostalgia within those same circles, who have promptly dug up the the parallel of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and are raving about the possibility of dragging Russia into an all-out war in Syria.

Of course the idea of dragging Moscow into a ground conflict lacks in logic. The majority of the fighting is done by the Syrian Arab Army and If NATO has failed to defeat Assad with thousands of mercenaries in more than 4 and a half years. So how could they succeed now with the Syrian Army exponentially reinforced by massive military support from Iran and Russia? Such reasoning completely defies logic.

Even though provocations and hostile acts against Russia are on the rise, Moscow has always responded in a rational, mitigated manner towards NATO. Yet with the downing of the SU-24, the red line appears to have been crossed.

In this sense, Moscow has knowingly supplied S-300s to both Tehran and Damascus, since air defense systems are decisive factors in modern war scenarios. But the S-300, S-400 and S-500 (to be introduced in a few years) aren't just a deterrent, they're sending a clear message that the limit of tolerance has been reached.

The Next move is on NATO, will it push Syrian Air Defense Forces over the brink? I guess we will soon find out.

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