It’s solely in the realm of speculation for now, but some important questions need to be answered in order to rule out a direct or indirect Iranian role in last night’s tragic occurrence.
As accurately predicted by the author in his latest article, Russia and “Israel” are indeed climbing down from what some had hoped would be an impending “crisis” and just agreed to carry out an investigation into what President Putin described as the “chain of tragic circumstances” that unfolded last night. Netanyahu told the Russian leader that he’s willing to send the “Israeli” Air Force chief to Moscow to personally cooperate on this case, an offer which was extended in the same conversation in which he expressed “regret” at what occurred. This came after the “IDF” tweeted its “sorrow” over the death of the Russian crewmembers, which was part of a longer statement that also blamed Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah for what happened.
The full chain of messages reads as follows:
“Israel expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed tonight due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Israel holds the Assad regime, whose military shot down the Russian plane, fully responsible for this incident. Israel also holds Iran and the Hezbollah terror organization accountable for this unfortunate incident.
Overnight, IDF fighter jets targeted a facility of the Syrian Armed Forces from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon. These weapons were meant to attack Israel, and posed an intolerable threat against it. The IDF and the Russian army have a deconfliction system, which was agreed upon by the states’ leaders, and has proven itself many times over recent years.
This system was in use tonight as well. An initial inquiry of the incident suggests:
- Extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (Surface to Air missile) fire caused the Russian plane to be hit and downed.
- When the Syrian Army launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane, IAF jets were already within Israeli airspace.
- During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation.
- The Syrian anti-air batteries fired indiscriminately and from what we understand, did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.
Israel will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”
While many on social media are mocking these messages, the fact remains that Russia will inevitably get down to the truth through its investigation and find out whether “Israel” was lying or not.
Before describing the four other points that Russia’s investigation will seek to uncover apart from confirming the veracity of “Israel’s” reports, it’s worthwhile noting that neither the Syrian Arab Army nor President Assad have yet to express any “sorrow” or “regret” over what happened, at least to the author’s best knowledge at the time of publication. These sentiments and more could have been expressed through private backchannels but as of now nothing of the sort was publicly reported in English, even in Russian international media. It’s unclear what to make out of this other than Damascus’ apparent difficulty in grasping the importance of soft power and perception management during sensitive moments like this, especially given how upset the Russian public is over happened and how comparatively comforting it would have been had an open display of sympathy been made.
Returning back to the impending investigation, other than confirming everything that the “IDF” reported about its “initial inquiry of the incident”, Russia will need to establish:
- Who manned the equipment;
- who trained/advised them, both beforehand and possibly during the event;
- who gave the order to fire;
- and whether there were any foreigners present at the time.
The last-mentioned point is particularly important because the presence of the IRGC anywhere near the scene of this tragedy would immediately prompt “Israeli” accusations that Iran was involved.
Reaffirming that the following remains solely in the realm of speculation for now pending the official conclusion of the Russian-“Israeli” investigation, it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if the narrative unfolded in such a fashion because it’s well-known that Iran has dispatched “advisors” to Syria and is also in possession of its own S-200s. It’s therefore easy enough for “Israel” to put the two together to concoct a “conspiracy theory” alleging either direct or indirect Iranian complicity in the tragic event beyond the vague claims that the “IDF” made on Twitter earlier today by saying that the IRGC might have “advised” Syria’s S-200 crew on that fateful night. Predicting this in advance, it might possibly explain why Syria has stayed silent on the matter apart from blaming “Israel” because it doesn’t want to inadvertently “implicate” Iran in what happened.
Had a false flag chemical weapons attack been simply suspected of in Idlib instead of “friendly fire” being confirmed to be the cause for the downing of the Russian plane that killed 15 servicemen, Syria would have probably immediately made a public statement that it would welcome the start of an international investigation as soon as possible in order to determine the truth, yet nothing of the sort has been forthcoming in this case. This once again suggests that Damascus has difficulties with its perception management operations, but also makes the cynical mind wonder whether the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is trying to erase any trace of its IRGC allies at the scene of the tragedy in order to avoid even the slightest piece of evidence of their presence being exploited by “Israel” for infowar ends.
The truth will eventually be revealed throughout the course of the Russian-“Israeli” investigation, which will prove whether this was strictly a Syrian mistake or if there was something more to it.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.