The situation in Syria has clearly worsened - there is growing evidence that the Russian grouping in this country has become the goal of a systematic campaign of "attacks to intimidate."
First there was an attack using drones and artillery at the base of "Khmeimim". Then in the province of Idlib Su-25 was shot down. And now we hear about Russian losses as a result of the American raid on the Syrian column. In the first case, Moscow expressed its suspicion (https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/09/politics/russia-us-attack-base-syria/...) is that the attack was at least coordinated with the US forces. In the case of Su-25, there were no open charges, but many experts assumed that the MANPADS used was usually not observed in Syria (a clear hint that the Stingers were supplied to the Kurds by the US). As for the column, the question is, who could it be-the Russian military or "contractors"? (The latter seems more likely, since there was no cover from the air.) Collectively, all this looks like a sign a new American strategy in Syria: to punish the Russians strongly - as much as possible, without bringing the matter to an open attack.
"If the Turks killed the US military, the US would not do anything, and Erdogan's popularity inside the country would skyrocket"
First, the United States and Israel are shaking from humiliation and impotent fury from their defeat: Assad is still in power, IG (banned in the Russian Federation. - S.D.) was more or less routed, the Russians were accompanied by success in their campaign to invite a large number of "good terrorists" to the talks. With the successful conclusion of a successful conference on Syria in Russia and with the general agreement of all parties to start working on a new constitution, there was a real danger of establishing peace - something the Anglo-Zionists are determined to resist (here: https://jasirx.wordpress.com/ the document is most likely "hacked", which, if it is reliable, shows how the US opposes the success of the Russians).
Secondly, both Trump and Netanyahu were promised "victories". They need to prove their masculinity and strength (distinguish themselves from the suckers that were before them). To start a war against the Russians, of course, means "to prove one's masculinity." But it's too dangerous. Kill Russians somewhere "on the outskirts" - either with plausible denial, or private "contractors" - the option is safer and, therefore, preferable.
Thirdly, presidential elections are coming in Russia. Americans still naively believe that if they create problems for Putin (sanctions plus coffins from Syria), this will negatively affect his popularity (in fact, the effect is the opposite).
And the last (not by value). Since the United States has long lost the ability to at least bring something to the end, their logical retreat position boils down to not letting others win either. The main purpose of the American deployment in Syria is to create problems for Ankara, Tehran, Damascus and, of course, Moscow.
Conclusion: because the Americans declared that they (illegally) will remain in Syria until the situation "stabilizes", now they must do everything to destabilize the country. This has its own - perverted - logic.
For Russia, all these bad news can be summed up this way: she defeated the IG in Syria, but still did not defeat the Anglo-Zionists in the Middle East. The good news, however, is that Russia has options for action.
There is a counter-intuitive, but ideal for Russia solution to resist the US invasion of Syria - to attract the Turks. How? Attacking US forces not directly, but through Kurdish rebels, which the Americans "cover up" (at least politically). The United States and Israel are not planning to destroy the Syrian and Iranian forces. Strikes against the Turkish forces would carry with them a huge political risk. The United States already somehow facilitated an attempted coup against Erdogan. Then, with their support, a "mini Kurdistan" was established in Iraq and Syria. The relations between Ankara and Washington are now at the very bottom, and it will not take much to push the Turks out of cooperation with the US, EU, NATO, CENTCOM, Israel and the Anglo-Zionist interest groups in the region. The importance of Turkey for Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East can not be overestimated. And the Americans know this.
To save US-Turkish relations, a miracle is needed. Russia could capitalize on this
From this follows a little understood result: the Turkish military in Syria have what I would call "political immunity" from any attacks from the US. That is, no matter what the Turks have done, the US will almost never use force against them simply because the consequences of, say, the US Air Force's raid on the Turkish army column will be too serious to even discuss them.
I fully admit the Turks' attack on the column / position of the Kurds (or "good terrorists") with the subsequent death of the US military. What will / can the United States do? Answer the same? Yes, no way! It is impossible to imagine the US attack on a NATO member. This will be followed by a demand for full withdrawal of the US / NATO from the territory and from the airspace of Turkey. Theoretically, the US can ask Israel to do the black work for them. But the Israelis are not fools (and not crazy), they have no interest in starting a war with Turkey because of the problem of the "mini Kurdistan" created by the Americans. If only they do not gather to shed the sacred "Jewish blood" for the sake of some useless goyim.
And vice versa. If the Turks killed the US military, there would be streams of questions and "consultations" and some symbolic actions, but beyond that the US would accept these losses and nothing would be done. But Erdogan's popularity within the country would soar even higher. This means that if there is an actor who can seriously disrupt US operations in the north of Syria or even force them to leave, it's Turkey. This ability greatly enhances its negotiating positions in relations with Russia and Iran. And I think that Erdogan will take advantage of it to its advantage. While he only threatened America with a "slap in the face" (https://www.rt.com/news/418712-ottoman-slap-erdogan-us-nato/), and Secretary of State Tillerson is rushing to Ankara to prevent a catastrophe. But the fact that the US is compelled to choose either the Turkish side or the Kurdish side sharply reduces the chances for a real breakthrough (and the Israeli lobby stands for one hundred percent for the Kurds). Now, in order to save US-Turkish relations, a miracle will be required. Russia could capitalize this.
Of course, the US is still strong, including inside Turkey. And to enter into an open confrontation with Uncle Sam for Erdogan would be very dangerous. The Russians have two options - either to promise the Turks something very profitable, or somehow to worsen their relations with the United States. To help them, the Americans support Israel, Kurds and Gülenists.
Another risk is that any anti-Kurdish operation can turn into another section of Syria - this time by the Turks. However, the reality is that they can not stay in Syria for a long time, especially if Russia and Iran are against it. There is also international law, which is not so easy for Turks to ignore as to Americans.
Ankara has no interest in helping Assad and Putin, too. And she has nothing to do with what will happen to Syria. This means that the Syrians, Russians and Iranians should not strongly hope that the Turks will turn against the US unless, of course, the right conditions are created. Time will tell whether Moscow and Tehran can create them.
It would be worthwhile for Russians to improve the systems of the "Cub" and "Beech" that the Syrians have. This, in combination with "Shells" and "Verbs" will turn Syria into a hell for Americans and Israelis. The Turks will not care - they already fly only with the permission of the Russians. And the Iranians do not fly there. Nobody knows how many and what kind of air defense systems the Russians delivered to the Syrians in the last couple of years. But this is exactly what the Russians should do: put the Syrians and the Iranians as much as possible modern и mobile air defense systems - best of all, "Pantsir-1" and MANPADS "Verba". This combination will make it difficult for Americans and Israelis to conduct any air operations. Such supply of air defense systems from Russia would be entirely legitimate. Even if operators are sent to Syria with the equipment, then when an American or Israeli aircraft in the air breaks up into pieces, no one will prove that "the Russians did it". Moscow will receive what the CIA calls "plausible denial". Americans, of course, will pounce on the weak side - the Syrians. But apart from some satisfaction, this will not work. Syrian skies still will not be safer for Americans and Israelis.
But nothing can prevent the US from supplying even more advanced MANPADS to its allies among the "good terrorists." And if both sides are doing the same thing, then the loss will be the one that is more dependent on air operations (the USA), and not the one that has an advantage on the ground (the Russians). Moreover, by supplying MANPADS to Syria, the US will further alienate its ally - Turkey. And only Israelis will complain about Russian deliveries of MANPADS and air defense systems. When this happens, the Russians will have a simple and truthful answer - we did not start it first, but your American allies. And thank them.
The main thing is that now the US and Israel operate in the sky of Syria with complete impunity. Changes, if they will, are gradual. First, separate losses (as recently the Israeli F-16), and then we see that the air raids will gradually shift from the city centers and command posts to smaller targets (such as the columns of cars). This will mean that the most profitable targets are already well protected. In the end, the aircraft will replace cruise and ballistic missiles. This will mean that there will be a shift from offensive air operations to protection measures for troops, which in turn will facilitate the terms of action for the Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah. But the first step should be to strengthen air defense in Syria.
It seems that the Empire took a decision on a partial "reconquest" of Syria. Even Makron makes some sounds about strikes against the Syrians (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43053617) to punish them for the fictional use of chemical weapons. At least the US wants the Russians to pay a high price.
Further goals of the US are as follows:
While the Russian response to this evolving strategy was very passive. A new approach is needed. Destroying the Israeli F-16 is a good first step, but much more is needed to make the Empire pay a high price for its policy towards Syria. An increasing number of Russian commentators and analysts have come forward with demands for a tough reaction to the current provocations. This can be a sign that something is being prepared.
The author - a well-known in the West, a blogger, acting under the pseudonym of The Saker (Baloban). He was born in Zurich (Switzerland) in a Russian-Dutch family. Served as an analyst in the Swiss armed forces and in the military research structures of the United Nations. Specializes in the study of states that emerged on the territory of the former USSR. He lives in Florida.