The current crisis in the Middle East can be further escalated if Russia responds to constant provocations staged by Turkey.
The Pentagon is now engaged in a Vietnam-style escalation of boots on the ground across “Syraq”. 50 commandos are already in northern Syria “advising” the YPG Syrian Kurds as well as a few “moderate” Sunnis. Translation: telling them what Washington wants them to do. The official White House spin is that these commandos “support local forces” (Obama’s words) in cutting off supply lines leading to the fake “Caliphate” capital, Raqqa.
Another 200 Special Forces sent to Iraq will soon follow, allegedly to “engage in direct combat” against the leadership of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, which is now ensconced in Mosul.
These developments, billed as “efforts” to “partially re-engage in Iraq and Syria” are leading US Think Tankland to pen hilarious reports in search of “the perfect balance between wide-scale invasion and complete disengagement” – when everyone knows Washington will never disengage from the Middle East’s strategic oil wealth.
All these American boots on the ground in theory should be coordinating, soon, with a new, spectacularly surrealist 34-country “Islamic” coalition (Iran was not invited), set up to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh by no less than the ideological matrix of all strands of Salafi-jihadism: Wahhabi Saudi Arabia.
Syria is now Coalition Central. There are at least four; the “4+1” (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah), which is actually fighting Daesh; the US-led coalition, a sort of mini NATO-GCC combo, but with the GCC doing nothing; the Russia-France direct military collaboration; and the new Saudi-led “Islamic” charade. They are pitted against an astonishing number of Salafi-jhadi coalitions and alliances of convenience that last from a few months to a few hours.
And then there’s Turkey, which under Sultan Erdogan plays a vicious double game.
Russia has placed ships and submarines capable of launching nuclear missiles in case Turkey under the cover of NATO decides to strike out against the Russian position. President Putin has been clear; Russia will use nuclear weapons if necessary if conventional forces are threatened.
If Ankara opts for a suicide mission of knocking out yet another Su-24, or Su-34, Russia will simply clear the airspace all across the border via the S-400s. If Ankara under the cover of NATO responds by launching the Turkish Army on Russian positions, Russia will use nuclear missiles, drawing NATO into war not only in Syria but potentially also in Europe. And this would include using nuclear missiles to keep Russian strategic use of the Bosphorus open.
The Pentagon is very much aware of the tremendous heavy metal Russia may unleash if provoked to the limit by someone like Erdogan. Let’s roll out an abridged list.
Russia can use the mighty SS-18 – which NATO codenames “Satan”; each “Satan” carries 10 warheads, with a yield of 750 to 1000 kilotons each, enough to destroy an area the size of New York state.
The Topol M ICBM is the world’s fastest missile at 21 Mach (16,000 miles an hour); against it, there’s no defense. Launched from Moscow, it hits New York City in 18 minutes, and L.A. in 22.8 minutes.
Russian submarines – as well as Chinese submarines – are able to launch offshore the US, striking coastal targets within a minute. Chinese submarines have surfaced next to US aircraft carriers undetected, and Russian submarines can do the same.
The S-500 anti-missile system is capable of sealing Russia off from ICBMs and cruise missiles. (Moscow will only admit on the record that the S-500s will be rolled out in 2016; but the fact the S-400s will soon be delivered to China implies the S-500s may be already operational.)
Russia can cripple virtually every forward NATO base with tactical – or battlefield – small-yield nuclear weapons. It’s not by accident that Russia over the past few months tested NATO response times in multiple occasions.
All right, Erdogan and NATO; do you still wanna go to war?