Analysis: The real danger in Syria is not ISIS, but a war between major powers

There are many unpredictable aspects of the Syrian conflict, but the downing of the Russian bomber by Turkish jets on Tuesday was not one of them. Indeed, given the simultaneous military campaigns taking place in a relatively small swath of territory by Russian, American, French, Syrian, Iranian, and other forces, it is surprising that such an incident did not happen earlier. Nevertheless, the downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 by Turkish jets marked the first attack on a Russian fighter aircraft by a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state since 1953. Although this incident is not by itself sufficient to provoke an armed conflict between Turkey and Russia, it illustrates the main danger confronting the world in Syria, namely a conflagration between regional powers, many of which are armed with nuclear weapons. Continue reading

Vladimir Putin raises stakes with jammer threat to NATO jets

Russia has sent sophisticated jamming equipment to Syria that could blind NATO pilots in a further escalation of the stand-off in the Middle East.

The Krasukha-4 system has been spotted at a Syrian airfield being used by Russian fighter jets and its presence has been confirmed by US officials. The mobile system can disrupt surveillance by drones, satellites or western early warning aircraft.

It has a range of 300km, can also disrupt the systems of radar-guided missiles and would allow Russia to enforce a no-fly zone over President Assad’s military. Continue reading