The attack this week by unidentified jets Russia says belonged to the U.S.-led coalition on an isolated outpost of the Syrian Arab Army, followed a few days later by a Yemeni Houthi attack that killed four Western mercenaries (British, Australian, one French, and one Mexican national) and multiple Colombian soldiers of fortune, indicate the covert war for the Mideast is heating up. Washington's tacit support for Turkey's invasion of northern Iraq near Mosul is putting Turkish soldiers in the cross hairs of a bloody counterattack by Iran and its Iraqi Shi'a militia proxies, with all the legal rights the Baghdad government has under the UN Charter to defend its territory -- and with the blessing of if not direct intelligence and arms support from Russia. This isn't going to be the official outbreak of 'World War IV', or the End Times conflagration between the Russians and Turks that ends with Turkey carved up by her enemies, and the Greeks taking back Constantinople, as prophesied by Elder Paisios of Athos in the 1980s and 90s. The Russians are unlikely to directly confront the latest brazen Turkish moves to establish a brigade fortified air base near the ISIS held city of Mosul -- where curiously, despite the Turks claiming they're deployed to train Kurds on how to fight ISIS just a dozen kilometers from the city, Daesh leaves Turkish soldiers untouched (why you'd even think if you believed the evil Kremlin propaganda Erdogan and ISIL were in cahoots). The risk in case of a direct clash with the Russians over Syria that Turkey could finally do what it's been egged on by neocons and Russophobes of all stripes to do and tear up the 1936 Montreux Convention on the Straits treaty while invading 'Syraq' as Washington's Sunni Muslim proxy force remain. Vladimir Putin is determined not to let Washington fight him to the last Turk and to avoid overt warfare with a potent Turkish military that numbers second only to the U.S.A's in size within NATO. But as Putin vowed retaliation against Turkey for Ankara's treacherous downing of a Russian SU-24 jet, escalation in the conflict will certainly come -- by proxy.
For all the Council on Foreign Relations and 'Free Syrian Army' social media warriors' gloating about what American wunderwaffen TOW missiles have done to slow the advance of Assad's Iranian-backed army, Washington is about to find out what Russian Kornet ATGMs in the hands of Shi'a fighters can similarly do to bleed its Turkish allies. Meanwhile, in a sign that Iran intends to 'turn up the heat' in response to American moves via Turkey and pressure on its ally Assad, the Iranians' Houthi partners are showing they can kill not only Saudi and UAE soldiers in Yemen or in the Kingdom's border areas, but also target the Western, Latin American and African mercenaries Riyadh has deployed to support its occupation.
When Russia began its overt combat operations in Syria back in late September, we warned that U.S. and American-allied private military contractors in eastern Ukraine or other locations around the world might become hostages to American good behavior. There is a reason, according to this logic, why Obama has not sent more potent weapons to Washington's proxy army via Kiev, and exposure of U.S. mercs/CIA contractor involvement near the Donbass front line by spetsnaz raids or Russian drone strikes would be one of them. Having already seen the Saudis bogged down in Yemen at the time that Russia began its air campaign in support of the Syrian Arab Army counteroffensive, we understood that this time around there would be no way the Kingdom could send weapons to fighters against Russia and not suffer direct blow back in the form of dead soldiers. For Moscow, there will be no repeat of the 1980s war in Afghanistan, at least not without its opponents paying in their own blood and that of their proxy partners.
We also wrote if Washington tried to target Russian military personnel attacking its proxies, then we might see a sudden spike in the number of dead Blackwater/XE/Greystone types around the world, if not necessarily in Ukraine (though private military contractor deaths in Yemen naturally beg the question of just how many NATO or U.S.-allied country mercs died or were seriously wounded alongside Kiev's troops last year in the Donbass). The Saudi invasion of Yemen and Turkey's flagrant violation of Iraq's sovereignty are two flash points, but not the only places, where Western soldiers of fortune might become casualties in the undeclared all out proxy war being fought for the greater Middle East and energy dominance for the next fifty years.
Washington, and certainly the neo-Ottoman Sultan in Ankara who thinks he has the weak government in Baghdad over a Euphrates water barrel, are about to discover that they badly underestimated the resolve and fight of their adversaries. The Iranians and Russians know exactly what Washington and its Turkish/GCC partners are up to -- having spectacularly failed to topple Assad and already 'lost' most of Iraq to the Persians.
They are as the infamous Defense Intelligence Agency memo of 2012 forecasted trying to carve out a rump Sunni-stan between the dissolved Sykes-Picot borders of 'Syraq', having bribed the Kurds under Barzani's control and temporarily pacified the PKK-linked YPG into turning a blind eye to Turkish moves. But there's always a price to be paid when Washington insists upon borders being sacrosanct in Ukraine but not in Yugoslavia or 'split it up into three parts' Iraq. Retaliation in the form of Houthi or 'ragtag' Iraqi Shi'a attacks killing with great effect will not be long in coming -- neither from the PKK Kurds Langley doesn't control that occasionally kill Turkish soldiers inside Turkey, nor the Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps-backed Shi'a militias of Iraq.
Triumphant shouts of Allah snackbar after a big ATGM kill can happen after Saudis or Turks, not just Syrians or Iranians, get taken out