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Washington Plays Hardball with Russia on Syria

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Syria justifiably accused Turkey of "air piracy." Its Foreign Ministry said "the hostile Turkish behavior is additional evidence of the aggressive policy adopted by Erdogan's government, taking into account the training and harbouring of gunmen and facilitating their infiltration through its borders and bombing Syrian territories."

Syrian Air's Airbus A-320 departed Moscow's Vnukovo Airport. On entering Turkey's airspace, Turkish Air Force F-16s forced it to land in Ankara. On board were 37 passengers. They included crew members and 17 Russian nationals with children.

Russia's Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of endangering the lives of those on board. FM spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said "the Turkish authorities without explaining the reason and in violation of the bilateral Consular Convention did not allow diplomats to meet with the Russian citizens."

They and others on board were forcibly held for nine hours without food or other assistance. They were abused. Crew members were accosted at gunpoint. Turkish authorities demanded they sign a statement saying an emergency landing was necessary. They refused.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been spoiling for a fight for months. He serves shamelessly as Washington's lead regional belligerent. He's little more than a convenient stooge. Obama may get the war he wants without direct US involvement.

Erdogan claimed Moscow was sending "equipment and ammunition" to Syria. Syria's Foreign Ministry accused him of lying.

Russia was very irate. A formal protest was lodged. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "We have no secret, and we have scrutinized the details. There were no weapons on board the plane and could not have been any."

"There was a cargo on the plane that a legal Russian supplier was sending in a legal way to a legal customer." The plane carried radar parts. International agreements permit them.

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The pilot landed "because he knew he was not transporting anything illegal. We are waiting for an official reply why our diplomats were not allowed to meet with Russian passengers on board."

So far, Ankara stonewalled. It displayed no weapons seized because there are none. Vladimir Putin indefinitely postponed a planned visit. Weeks earlier, he accused Washington of being back in bed with Al Qaeda. It's no secret. Hillary Clinton admitted it months ago.

Russia's Liberal Democratic Party called for decisive action. It wants Turkey's Moscow ambassador expelled.

Other hostile exchanges followed. Tensions already are heightened. Russian Foreign Ministry deputy media and press director, Maria Zakharova , said:

"Based on news coming from Syria, terrorism has become the top among the means of the armed opposition. This raises a serious concern as it obviously signals the growing role of the radical extremists in the ranks of the 'Syrian opposition.' "

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Security Council condemnation statements should be followed by corresponding deeds, she stressed. It hasn't happened so far.

At Washington's behest, Turkey falsely accused Moscow of shipping weapons and/or weapons grade material. At the same time, Western and regional countries actively supply anti-Assad mercenaries with heavy weapons and munitions. 

It's been ongoing since early last year. Funding, training, and directing foreign fighters are involved. CIA and UK intelligence elements are active players. So are Western and regional special forces.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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