US, Russian, and Iranian military forces have all been involved in the Syrian War for some time now, and all with differing agendas. As they all increase their involvement, those fights have become less separated, and particularly in the case of the US and Russia, the threat of direct clashes is growing.
After several incidents in which US warplanes attacked Syrian pro-government targets, the US yesterday had its biggest attack, shooting down a Syrian Su-22 bomber inside Syrian airspace. The US insisted the attack was “collective self defense” meant to protect the Syrian Kurds.
Russia has responded to the US attack by announcing they’re going to start treating US warplanes operating in much of Syria as potential targets for their advanced air defense systems. This comes as Iran increases its own involvement in Syria, firing missiles at ISIS targets.
Earlier US attacks targeted Shi’ite militias, and the US was very eager to emphasize that these were “pro-Iran” militias, comments which have added to speculation that the US is already looking to a post-ISIS war primarily against Iran in particular, and Shi’a Islam in general.
That war with Iran, something many US hawks have coveted for decades, is predicated at least in part on these clashes in Syria not getting the US into a direct shooting war with Russia, as America’s goal of imposing regime change in Syria has grown to the point that, apart from US support from rebels, they’re also carrying out direct attacks on Syrian military forces. All this is ruining the pretense that US forces in Syria are only there to fight ISIS, and has put them in direct conflict with Russian interests.
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