No wonder the Guerrilla Economist and Team RogueMoney's friend John B. Wells of the Caravan to Midnight program calls them 'USIS' --
The Islamic State has released video it says shows the shoot down of a Russian piloted Syrian Air Force Mi-24 helicopter gunship east of Palmyra this weekend. The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that the two pilots on board were killed when the chopper crashed after making a low altitude strafing run in support of the Syrian Arab Army units engaged in combat with the Daesh terrorists. Several things are notable about this incident but it's interesting to notice:
1) The Russian Defense Ministry says ISIS used a TOW anti-tank missile, of the type that the CIA supposedly only supplied to vetted 'moderate' Syrian rebels, but which also was used to down a Russian rescue helicopter last November after Turkey's ambush downing of a SU-24 bomber inside Syrian air space. The perpetrators of that ambush who were part of the 'Free Syrian Army' Latakia 'Coastal Brigades' were caught by the Syrian Arab Army.
2) The usual neocon (Trotyskite and now pro-Sunni Salafist sectarian), NATO-linked Atlantic Council Bellingcat and supposed ISIS expert commentators are letting the masks slip, tweeting 'Free Syrian Army' fanboys' glee over the shoot down:
The shoot down comes as the Syrian Arab Army was beating ISIS forces back from their counteroffensive east of Palmyra, which was liberated by combined Russian/Syrian troops in March 2016. The Russian Air Force and special forces support for the Syrians taking back the ancient UNESCO World Heritage site came as a great embarrassment to those like the Daily Beast's in-house neocon Salafi-Trotskyite Michael D. Weiss or Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins who insisted that Russia wasn't actually fighting the Islamic State, but only the 'moderate' rebels battling the Assad government.
Russia's direct intervention in the conflict in late September/early October 2015 also prompted outbursts from the likes of Sen. John McCain speaking to Fox News that the U.S. should supply Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to its rebel proxies to use against the Russians, as the CIA did to the mujaheddin in 1980s Afghanistan. When critics of the neocons and fanatically anti-Russian hardliners like 'McInsane' pointed out that such weapons as well as the TOW missiles the CIA was already providing to its proxies could easily wind up in ISIS hands, pro-rebel pundits in Washington never bothered to address this obvious risk. And now we see why: Daesh appears far more intent on fighting Russian aided advances against it in Syria than Iraqi offensives against the super-terrorist group that receive spotty American air support.
Does anyone need to ask why fighting Syrians, Hezbollah and Russians is so much more important to ISIS than Iraqis or Americans? Or why U.S. air support for the 'New Syrian Army' (actually little more than a few companies of rebels trained in Jordan) assault on ISIS in Deirezzor province was so pathetic? Or why the momentum of the Syrian Defense Forces backed by U.S. JSOC soldiers has stalled near Manbij in northern Syria?
Why a 'conspiracy theorist' might conclude that the U.S is once again engaged in a half-assed, go-slow-as-possible campaign against ISIS to leave the terrorist group and its grip over Mosul and Raqqa provinces intact -- all while accusing the Russians who have far less resources available of doing the same.
Deny, deny, deny...
Turning to the video itself released by ISIS and triumphantly retweeted by 'Free Syrian Army' fanboys, many of whom are promoted by Michael D. Weiss and Eliot Higgins on Twitter, we see the Mi-24/25 export model gunship firing off flares just before its tail rotor is struck by a missile. What we cannot tell for certain from the footage is whether it was a TOW or some sort of MANPAD whose launch was not visible. Russia's most up to date Ka-52 and modernized Hind gunships carry infrared jamming systems in addition to flares capable of confusing the seeker heads of all but the latest generation MANPADs. But for a chopper flying on the deck or below a thousand feet, these systems might not be effective against TOW ATGMs of the type Langley and its Saudi/Turkish partners have been pouring into Syria over the last few years.
When it comes to Russia's likely retaliatory moves, we expect not only a renewed use of heavy high attitude bombers against Raqqa and carpet bombing of Daesh positions all over Syria, but vengeance against ISIS funders and armorers far from the combat zones of Syria and Iraq. Meaning watch out for prominent bankers in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, lower ranking Saudi princes or arms dealers to turn up dead in Turkey or Dubai. While the Russians carrying out covert assassinations on Turkish soil may seem unlikely given the recent thawing in relations between Moscow and Ankara, keep in mind that a trickle of Russian tourists have started to return to the country and that provides Moscow's security services with a means to insert individuals under tourist or businessman cover into the country.
As the Russian spetsshluzhbi showed several years ago in the Mossad-style car bombing assassination of a Chechen terrorist leader in Doha, Qatar, the reach of the GRU spetsnaz is long, and 'wetwork' aka licenses to kill are back at Yasnevo (SVR)/Lubyanka (FSB) as well. The so-called Kadyrovsti of pro-Moscow Chechens fiercely loyal to the Chechen Republic's leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin also hunt their jihadist traitor countrymen abroad.
If we were the cops in Dubai, Doha or Riyadh, we'd be on the lookout for 'businessmen' who look extremely physically fit coming in on (forged) Ukrainian passports. Furthermore, if we were a security guard at one of the warehouses where the CIA keeps their TOW missiles in Turkey near the Syrian border or eastern Saudi Arabia where Langley thinks those weapons are safe, we'd quit our job, because the possibility of another Langley op getting 'Benghazi'd' just went up, big time.
All the same, the biggest potential retaliatory measures Moscow could take against it suddenly raining U.S.-made TOWs on ISIS is to start dropping truth bombs on Langley, Riyadh and revealing more about the true origins, funders and armorers of the Islamic State. Expect more revelations and stories planted in both Russian and non-Russian media in the coming weeks as well as 'hacked' documents showing U.S. arms flowing to groups that eventually became ISIS in 2012-13 -- as well as more questions about the exceptionally close ties of CIA Director John Brennan to the 9/11 sponsoring Saudi royal family. After all, it's not as if the self-appointed spokesmen for the 'moderates' fighting alongside Al-Qaeda in Syria bother to hide their support for the jihad anymore.