The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants…
According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.
Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the town, the Pentagon said…
A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, “in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces,” was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said.
“The coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group. “The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them…”
And that’s what doesn’t make sense. ISIS and the so-called “moderate, democratic” opposition to the Syrian government are much the same people. There is a flow of people, weapons and training between them.
Just as no one can “have their cake and eat it, too”, the U.S. must choose between defeating Syria’s Assad regime and defeating ISIS. To attempt both, is to stick with a losing position.
UPDATE: Krauthammer tries to explain it. According to him:
- ISIS is doomed – will be gone within 6-12 months.
- Russia, Iran and Syria are working to “inherit” northern Iraq for Iran (the new Persian Empire), and likewise to have all of Syria in the hands of Assad-Russia-Iran-Shiites.
- Meanwhile, the U.S. is working to defeat all that; especially to have a de facto division of Syria along ethnic lines, in which the western half of Syria will be Sunni-dominated and Saudi-friendly. (And northern Iraq, ??? Not sure.)
It still sounds hokey to me, with too much danger of an accidental war with Russia. But I wanted to acknowledge that the side favoring U.S. involvement in Syria might have a strategy in mind.
We’ve been hearing a long time that energy pipelines (especially liquid natural gas) might be involved in all this. Pipelines to Europe, that need to run through Syria. The Russia-Iran version would tend to make Europe more dependent on them, while the U.S.-Saudi version would do the reverse (or preserve Europe’s dependence on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia).