US leaked flight path of downed jet to Turkey, says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the US of “leaking” the flight path of the downed Russian jet Su-24 to Turkish authorities, agencies report.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Putin said, under the cooperation already established with the US-led coalition, Russia’s military had passed on details of the flight plan of the jet that was shot down this week.

“Why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they were not controlling what their allies were doing, or they are leaking this information all over the place,” Putin said.

He said as leaders of the coalition against IS, US had a responsibility to ensure war planes are not targeted by members.

Independent researcher and writer Timothy Alexander Guzman said he was least surprised by Turkey’s provocation against Russia adding that Washington’s fingerprints were all over Ankara’s recent provocation.

Syrian government forces backed by Russian air strikes have turned the tide against IS much the chagrin of the US, France, the UK, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar who had been arming, funding, training or provided safe havens for IS at some point in time, Guzman wrote in Silent Crow News.

According to him, Turks are controlling the situation on the ground under Washington’s direction.

Citing an unnamed Doha-based source, Guzman said there is a “triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom.” Turkey is the main coordinator in this clandestine triple alliance.

Ankara insists that it shot down Russia’s Su-24 bomber because it allegedly violated Turkish airspace.

Turkey had in place a ‘buffer zone’ created five miles inside Syria since 2012 after a Syrian defense missile shot down a Turkish fighter aircraft that intruded in the Syrian airspace. Turkey redrew its state border and is now claiming that the Su-24 had violated it, Guzman wrote.

Ankara has not been acting alone. The action was likely planned by Ankara and coordinated with Washington, which wants to disrupt Russia’s success in Syria, the writer said.

“Turkey has supported IS on behalf of Washington’s strategic goal to oust Assad and has been profiting from Syria’s stolen oil. Turkey follows the dictates of Washington …. It is certain that Turkey got its green light from the Obama administration,” he said.

Three reason for the downing of Su-24

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Ankara had no legitimate reason to shoot down the Russian bomber involved in anti-Islamic State (IS) operation in Syria since the aircraft never left Syrian airspace, giving credence to the fact that Turkey could have ulterior motives.

These could well include dragging NATO into the Syrian conflict, ruining efforts to create a broad anti-IS coalition and even retaliating for ruining illegal oil business with the brutal group.

Islamist-leaning Turkey has long wanted Bashar al-Assad gone. To that end, Ankara has been overtly supporting radical groups, who are trying to overthrow Syria’s legitimate leader. However, since Russia became involved in counterterrorism efforts following a request from Damascus, ousting al-Assad is no longer an option.

Moreover, the Russian-led coalition is quite capable of putting an “end to Erdogan’s dream of toppling Assad or continuing to fuel the war with terrorists who are provided a safe haven on Syrian soil,” journalist Mike Whitney noted in an article for Information Clearing House. “This is why the Su-24 fighter was shot down on Tuesday.”

Dragging NATO into the conflict

The logic is simple: downing a Russian bomber would necessarily lead to a retaliation strike from Moscow thus dragging NATO into the Syrian conflict, since Turkey is a member of the alliance.

The incident “fits perfectly with the way in which the Turkish government has been ratcheting up tensions on the border, using its jihadi allies to seize Syrian territory, and trying to incite a violent reaction that will force greater NATO or US involvement,” he added.

Whitney doubts Russian President Vladimir Putin will “take the bait and overreact” to what the journalist referred to as Turkey’s “obvious and pathetic provocation.”

Preventing creation of broad anti-IS coalition

Since Turkey does not want Damascus-led forces to destroy IS or other extremist groups in Syria, it should be greatly opposed to the idea of creating a broad anti-IS coalition. If created, the coalition would see the US, Russia, France and other countries present a united front against IS.

The downing of the Russian bomber in Syria has complicated these efforts.

“What Turkey has done is to bring the NATO alliance yet another step closer to an open conflict with Russia, and at a minimum it has sundered the chances for a NATO-Russian coalition against IS in Syria, which perhaps was Erdogan’s plan all along,” former advisor to the US-Russia Presidential Commission at the US State Department James Carden wrote for the Nation.

Revenge for ruining shady oil deals with IS

IS has long financed its activities by smuggling petroleum to black markets in the Middle East, particularly in Turkey.

“Turkish commodity dealers have funded IS through their purchase of, by one estimate, $50 million a month in black-market oil. Indeed, reports have surfaced alleging that none other than Erdogan’s son Bilal has been a key financial benefactor of this unseemly business,” Carden observed.

The second phase of Russia’s aerial campaign launched last week has been focused on undermining IS’s economic base, including oil tankers and refineries. The group, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, is now losing some $1.5 million daily as a result of these efforts.

Against this backdrop, the downing of the Russian bomber could be viewed as an act of retaliation for ruining shady deals or an attempt to keep the illegal business going.

“Erdogan’s family is directly involved in the incident. … Quite possibly, the Su-24 crash was an act of revenge,” Stanislav Tarasov, an expert on Middle East, said.

 



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