The Evidence Russia's Defense Ministry Presented to the World
Gen. Thomas' acknowledgement, and the declaration by then NATO commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges that Russian electronic warfare capabilities observed in the Donbass were 'eye watering' back in 2015, cannot be taken as standalone statements. Seen in a larger context, however, they present a picture -- of a U.S. military and intelligence community that is highly compartmentalized, but aware at the highest if not lower levels that something went badly wrong in the most recent Syria strikes. And likely in the ones before that, when many Tomahawks fired at the Al-Shayrat air base failed to explode -- though at that time, Moscow did not show off the downed missiles or contradict the Americans account of events to the extent that it has been clearly irritated into doing now.
Col. Pat Lang (USA Ret)'s Sources, Likely in the Mideast, On U.S. Allied Governments Awareness of the Syria Strikes Failure Due to Russian Air Defenses/Electronic Warfare
According to Col. (USA ret) Lang:
So what happened?
I am told by several foreign sources with access to the information needed to make a valid judgment that the Russians are correct. These people are friendly to the United States as are their governments. Over two thirds of the US coalition missiles failed to reach their targets. Why? All the reasons cited above must have played a role in this aerial defeat. Obsolescent weapons, a fully integrated air defense and skill brought to the fight.
There is an ongoing investigation to determine what is to be done to rectify the situation.
At the same time it is clear that there was an understanding between the governments to insure that Russian red lines were not crossed. The evidence for the Douma gas attack is non-existent. The film evidence has now been thoroughly de-bunked as part of the information operations (propaganda) of the White Helmets scheme funded by the Saudis and largely conducted by the UK info warriors of 77 Regiment [Denison Barracks Berkshire]. It seems clear that US DoD was not privy to that IO project and for that Reason SECDEF Mattis was blind-sided by the deception. The struck targets (successful or not) have long been known to the US IC as facilities of the former Syrian Government chemical warfare programs. The Russians were told to stay out of those areas and so a reasonable compromise was made with a President easily fooled by social media and under heavy pressure by a population equally easy to deceive.
Nevertheless, most of the missiles failed and that failure must be dealt with.
Regarding the reliability of Col. Lang's sources, which his critics will dismiss as products of his imagination or fellow 'conspiracy theorists'...as a former military attache Lang traveled through the Middle East. He has written at the Turcopolier blog about traveling through Turkey, Lebanon, and meeting with the commander of the Jordanian Army in Amman around Christmastime in the 1980s. It stands to reason that Lang likely kept in touch with his contacts in one of these countries, and that the Jordanians especially would have heard more about CENTCOM's actual combat performance than other Mideast allies. Considering that the logistics for the Al-Tanf and other American bases illegally occupying sovereign Syrian territory run through their country, it would be very important for the Jordanians to know the truth about the U.S. strikes rather than falsehoods.
We must reiterate here, before evaluating their virtuoso air defense performance on behalf of and alongside their Syrian allies as utterly preposterous like the mainline military analysts claim, that the Russians knew that the missiles were coming. The Russians had their systems in place for early detection and warning. So for both sides the April 13-14 missile launches represented more of a test, or live fire exercise (a 'joust' as former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier turned Russian returnee Israel Adam Shamir called it). Not a hot war, where in modern times he who fires first as opposed to he who is defending has the advantage.
The only element of surprise and deception came from the USS Donald Cook, a whipping boy for previous Russian 'off switch' blows to American pride, not firing any missiles from the Mediterranean. Instead the Tomahawks came from the south, via the Red Sea. There were also JASMs -- referred to by the President as "nice and new and “smart!" fired by B1B bombers over the Syrian-Jordanian border base at Al-Tanf -- where they were supposedly escorted by F22 fighters, in case the Russian Sukhois based at Kheimmim decided to intercept the 'Bones'. This was all according to the congratulatory stories spread by the Pentagon to a compliant press afterward, with the Russiagate mongering Daily Beast in particularly promoting the Pentagon lie that the Syrians and their Russian advisers hit nothing, and could only fire SAMs impotently into the night skies.
In the immediate aftermath of the strikes, there were rumors (picked up by Jim Stone) that the armed Sukhois were ready to hit American troops at Al-Tanf, if any Russian personnel had been harmed. We know that Moscow spread reports in the hours leading up to the Friday the 13th fireworks of its TU22M long range supersonic bombers being locked and loaded with cruise missiles at Mozdok in the Caucuses, if not at the Iranian air base previously used by the type at Hamedan. But wait, that's not the whole story -- according to London Paul, several warships -- not just one French vessel -- failed to fire their missiles.
So the Russian 'off switch' may not have been limited in its reach to the incoming missiles passing over the Krasukha 4 and other jammers parked along expected missile flight paths along the Med coast and near Damascus. That Russia may have the capability, seemingly straight out of the late Nikolai Tesla's most rash boasts or a sci fi novel, to remotely deactivate NATO electronics hundreds or thousands of kilometers away, is a discussion we'll leave to London Paul. For now, we can look at actions in the aftermath of Friday's live fire exercise for both sides, to judge who is telling the truth about recent events in Syria...
Separating Fact from Fiction:
What U.S. and Its Mideast Allies Say Versus What They Do
1) The Russians presented two downed missiles, which may be a fraction of what was shot down, or were merely two over-hyped samples (take your pick from the forthcoming spin) that mean nothing with regards to U.S. military capabilities. Because the only thing that can bring down America's shiny new smart missiles is...when they turn out to be dumber than expected and duds.
2) Russia's MoD briefing reiterated that no toxic chemicals were found at the sites struck by U.S. missiles, and said the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors in the country had accepted this finding. Meaning the U.S. lied, or at least will have to concoct some story about non-lethal binary agents, likely with Bellingcat's mentor in all things CW Dan Kaszeta pushing that line, to explain how nothing was detected, and no one got sick after the Syrian anti-venom and pharmaceutical facilities were bombed. [By contrast, American troops exposed to deadly nerve agents after Iraqi munitions dumps were blown up during the First Gulf War experienced immediate health problems, which in many cases became identified as Gulf War Syndrome]
3) Days after the wildly successful U.S. strike, the head of CENTCOM Gen. Josef Votel was in Israel, presumably to speak only of the Americans success, rather than what the Israelis are calling their failure to destroy all of Assad's alleged hidden chemical weapons...and the implications of that many downed missiles plus Syria's rapidly improved air defenses for Israel's standoff missile-firing war of harassment against Damascus.
4) U.S. long range drone and electronic surveillance flights of Russian forces in Syria continue at a daily if not hourly pace, as a U.S. Special Forces commanding general admits the Russians have the capability to electronically blind the EC130 planes under his command.
5) President Trump repeated his desire to pull U.S. troops out of Syria after meeting with French President Emanuel Macron this week, but also said "Emmanuel and myself have discussed the fact that we don’t want to give Iran open season to the Mediterranean, especially since we really control it to a large extent. We really have controlled it, and we’ve set control on it." Meanwhile the Pentagon keeps expanding a base in the country that can accommodate up to 2,000 troops. And Mr. Macron has apparently doubled down on French troop deployments in northeastern Syria, close to the Turkish border where NATO backed Kurdish forces have clashed with the Turks and their Syrian militant proxies. That is not a sign that the Americans are going to be leaving anytime soon, which is why even the mainstream media is beginning to pick up on threats to the U.S. presence from Syrian or Iranian-backed insurgent tactics...
6) After President Trump pushed for Washington's 'immensely wealthy' Sunni Mideast allies to establish a 'footprint' that the U.S. could leave behind in Syria, the Saudis sneered that their rivals the Qataris ought to provide or at least pay for the Arab troops Trump had requested. Translation: the Saudis are too bogged down in their losing Yemen War to spare troops for occupying eastern Syria, and are passing the buck to their aggressive but smaller regional rivals to do it instead. An offer delivered with an insult, that in light of Qatar's warming ties to Turkey and Iran, will almost certainly be refused.
Having withdrawn from the Yemen quagmire, the Qataris are no more likely to risk their young men getting sent back from Syria in coffins by Hezbollah or pro-Damascus militias as they were to keep waging war in Yemen alongside the Sauds who hate them. Save for a token force that would likely embed with the Turks or be totally dependent on the Americans, Qatar isn't doing anything in Syria. Which leaves the Egyptians, who have generally been friendly to all sides and who have wisely stayed out of the Yemen War, only maintaining their vital economic interest in keeping the Bab al Mandeb sea lane open to the Suez.
7) Last but not least, bringing the subject to the small U.S. ally in the southeastern Mediterranean (as Dr. Jim Willie calls them), we're told Russian air defense systems are a joke, or at least easily bypassed by the U.S. and Israel. Yet the Israelis are threatening to bomb the S300 systems as soon as Moscow delivers them to the Syrians -- a threat we aren't sure even 'Nuts-and-yahoo' has the cojones to try. The systems are said to be en route by sea or air already to the Syrians, and will be manned by Russian crews and presumably operated at or around Russia's bases at Kheimmim and Tartus as a deterrent against the Israelis making good on their threats. For more on that subject, we turn to Unz Review military expert and former Soviet serviceman Andrei Martyanov...
Martyanov is the author of the forthcoming book Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning. Mr. Martyanov's bio lists him as:
an expert on Russian military and naval issues. He was born in Baku, USSR in 1963. He graduated from the Kirov Naval Red Banner Academy and served as an officer on the ships and staff position of Soviet Coast Guard through 1990. He took part in the events in the Caucasus which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In mid-1990s he moved to the United States where he currently works as Laboratory Director in a commercial aerospace group. He is a frequent blogger on the US Naval Institute Blog and on unz.com.
Russophrenics Unite, You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Fear/Loathing of the Russians Who Are 'Vodka Sodden Barbarians' That Are Nonetheless, About to Take Over the World
As is the case with Russophrenia, that is a condition where the sufferer believes Russia is both about to collapse, and take over the world. Since 2013, instances of this ailment have reached epidemic-like proportions in certain parts of Washington, London and Brussels. Israel and the US must run a tight routine to present famed S-300s as a over-hyped and not really good AD complex while simultaneously show its deadliness to both Israeli and US Air Forces. It is not an easy task, it takes, as with any schizophrenia, an immense task to combine two mutually exclusive opposites in one entity--this is the task for Orwellian world only. And the attempts on doing this never ceased since April 13. Obviously, the actuality on "the ground", so to speak, after missile strikes on April 13 was such that it shook very many both in Israel and US--Syrian aged AD turned out to be on the order of magnitude more effective than was expected and that brings forth immediately this very issue of S-300s which are generation or two newer than Syria's Osa, S-125s and S-200s.
In fact, those Russian S-300s are so "not dangerous" and so "not effective" and so represent "no danger" to vaunted IAF that Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman promised today to destroy them before they will become operational...
At this stage I have to ask a question--are they really that dumb in Israel? Israel long ago crossed the actual red line which was drawn for her by Putin in his meetings with BiBi that at some point of time Israel will have to stop bombing Syria, which, if they forgot both in Jerusalem and Washington, is an independent state and has all rights which come with this independence, including defense of own borders and airspace. Russia was more than accommodating with Israel when delayed for years delivery of S-300s to Syria, as was settled by the contract. In the end, Russia even dragged her feet until recently with delivery of same S-300s to Iran--all under both requests and pressure by Israel and combined West. Finally, the patience ran out and Tehran got itself long awaited S-300s and Syria, it seems now, is about to get her own--those "over-hyped" and "lacking in capability" S-300s.
The question, however, remains--if those S-300s are junk, as many claim, why so much hysteria? Come on, let Russia deliver those measly incapable outdated S-300s and then attack them again once they are operational and show the whole world how inefficient they are, right? Well, not quite. At issue here is the history, also well known to Israel, of Soviet/Russian produced Air Defense Complexes which have a combat history and reputation simply unmatched in the world.
From Vietnam to Middle East wars, to recent events--even old Soviet complexes, when properly integrated, provided excellent targeting and ECCM "coverage", performed admirably. How will new systems perform? Let's put it this way--Israel is getting increasingly bellicose and threatening precisely for the reasons of knowing that S-300 will be able, in a well trained hands, to close Syria's airspace for both Israeli Air Force and its stand-off weapons. Well, the US will also feel even more restricted in Syria. But even larger issue looms behind all this Israeli rhetoric--who gave Israel the right to attack neighboring country, often under lame excuses and threat inflation? That is the main issue, the rest is a derivative of Israel's habit, until recently, to do what she wants in Syria's skies.
To summarize, as we see multiple Israeli threats to strike Russian installations manned by Russia's servicemen supposedly justified by the deployment of a long range defensive missile system, the Wall Street Journal is warning of IRAN starting a major Mideast war. And blaming the Russians for emboldening the Iranians, while the Israelis and Americans are the ones launching unprovoked strikes inside Syria on flimsy pretexts. Neocons like Michael D. Weiss, who previously pushed for a U.S. occupation of Euphrates Valley Syria and beyond as a low cost high reward proposition, now openly admit American troops will be targeted by pro-Assad or Iranian-backed insurgents infiltrating Kurdish areas. As in 1973 Russia and the U.S. could find themselves on opposite sides of a shooting war between Israel and Syria. Only this time, as Israeli commanders and intelligence officers freely acknowledge, the war would spread far beyond the Golan Heights fought over in 1967 and 73.
Hezbollah and long range Iranian missile capabilities -- of the kind Trump is demanding Tehran surrender if it wishes to keep the nuclear deal he's tearing up --would both present major problems to Israel, which is likely why Tel Aviv has stuck with its strategy of aerial harassment. Now that Russia is helping the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) crush the jihadists closer to the Golan and providing S300s after the Israelis exhausted Moscow's patience with one too many strikes on their Syrian allies, a showdown looms.