THE RESPONSE of Russia’s political leadership, led by Vladimir Putin, to the Israeli raid on Syria that led to the death of 15 Russian aviators has been the opposite to the country’s military leadership.
The Russian leader has not condemned Israel. He described the loss of the Ilyushin-20 over the Mediterranean as a result of ‘tragic circumstances’. Putin said, ‘When people get killed, particularly so, under such tragic circumstances, it is always a great misfortune to us, to the country and to the relatives of our late comrades. I offer condolences first and foremost to the relatives of those killed.’
He added: ‘As for comparison with the well-known events, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down our plane, it was a different situation. This time it looks like a string of tragic circumstances.’ However, the chief military investigation department of the Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case into the shooting down of Russia’s Il-20 plane above the Mediterranean Sea.
The Russian Defence Ministry said the plane went off radar screens as four Israeli F-16 fighter jet were illegally delivering airstrikes on Syrian targets. The ministry said the Russian Il-20 was shot down by Syria’s air defence over the Mediterranean Sea because ‘Israel’s F-16 fighter jets used it as a cover.’
‘The Israeli command centres and the F-16s’ pilots could not but see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometres. ‘Nevertheless, they deliberately staged this provocation,’ Russian Defence Ministry Spokesman Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov said, adding that ‘Israel’s actions are considered in Russia as hostile.’ He revealed that Israel had given Russia one minute’s notice of their raid on Syria.
Meanwhile, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu has called President Putin, weeping crocodile tears, expressing regret at the loss of 15 Russian personnel, but stressing that Syria was to blame. As far as Putin is concerned, the ‘partnership’ with Israel continues, to the shock and astonishment of the Syrians, Palestinians and Lebanese, and the working people of the world, including those of Russia.
The ‘partnership’ continues, while Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held a telephone call with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, stating that Israel was solely to blame for the downing of Russia’s Il-20 aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. He stressed: ‘The Israeli Defence Ministry’s actions are not in the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership so we reserve the right to take retaliatory steps.’ Putin’s attempt at ‘Great Power diplomacy’ has ended in a disaster, and has even split the bureaucracy.
Russia is in no sense an aggressor in the war that is taking place in Syria. It was invited in to assist the Syrian government and army and accepted the invitation when it grasped that a victory for ISIS in Syria would see the war rapidly transferred to the Caucasus. Russia’s actions in Syria are purely defensive.
Israel, an imperialist stooge, has been taking part in the war as an ally of the imperialist powers and has provided airpower, arms and hospital treatment on the Golan Heights for ISIS and the other Islamist movements. It sees the war to overthrow Assad as vital in preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state and allowing it to annex all of the occupied territories.
It is the USA’s main ally in the region. Its other ally is Saudi Arabia that has poured billions into the coffers of the Islamists, and is killing thousands in the Yemen. Great power diplomacy will not resolve the Syrian crisis. The establishment of a buffer zone around Idlib, to try and neutralise the Islamist movements will not resolve a crisis that it is in the interests of the US, the UK and Turkey to keep stirring, to the highest intensity.
Russia involving itself in great power diplomacy and the buying and selling of allies will not resolve the crisis in the Middle East. The road to peace is not through some ‘partnership’ with Israel. It is through giving the Syrians the type of armament that will make it impossible for the US-UK and Israel to intervene in Syria, in the air or on the ground, without suffering great losses.
This with the support of the struggling masses of the world will secure Syria’s and Palestine’s victory. Russian workers must now correct their leadership, restore the USSR and rule through workers’ soviets!