Soft Focus 991

Staring at the screen in disbelief as the BBC broadcast a preview of a quite literally soft focus “interview” of Theresa May by a simpering Nick Robinson. North Korean stuff. For Panorama.
“Prime Minister, a lot of people liked it when you described yourself as a bloody difficult woman”. Astonishingly sycophantic stuff from the state broadcaster.

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991 thoughts on “Soft Focus

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  • Jack

    Putin coming off awfully weak, he can’t even condemn Israel ILLEGAL raids that lead up to this killing of 17 russians.
    Are Putin afraid of Israel? One can assume the syrians are tired of russian weak response and their ability to actually MOVE out Israel out of Syria once and for all!

    Other news:
    NATO member Norway didn’t know much about Libya yet helped bomb it into chaos, state report finds

    • Sharp Ears

      Yes. Earlier he was saying:

      Russia ‘reserves right to respond’ after saying Israel’s actions led to downing of Il-20 by Syria 8.06

      ‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel 8.53

      Putin on Israel’s role in Il-20 downing: ‘Looks accidental, like chain of tragic circumstances’ 13.08 and edited 14.19

      • Deb O'Nair

        From my reading of the reports it seems the French and Israelis were conducting some kind of coordinated operation and the Russian plane was shot down by Syrian air defence. Whatever the French and Israelis were doing I can’t see how this can be described as Israels ‘fault’. If the Syrians were fooled into shooting down their allies’ reconnaissance plane by the Israelis then this is a problem with Russian/Syrian operational coordination.

        • james

          oh bullshit… the israelis were using the surveillance aircraft as cover for there bullshit… anyone who claims israel who ignores international law on a regular basis, is not responsible for this is good at fooling themselves, but no one else..

          • Deb O'Nair

            The point I was making is that if a Russian aircraft has been shot down by a Russian air defence system manned by Syrians then Russia and Syria clearly have targeting and communication issues.

            With regard to international law; you don’t go into a rough neighbourhood and expect not to be mugged because it’s against the law.

          • james

            the next time someone pushes you out into oncoming traffic, i will be curious if you view it the same way.. they were your fellow uk drivers that ran you over… hopefully you can appreciate the analogy..

            as for international law – the world is a rough place, but without some type of law, we are all screwed.. in this example, one country – israel – is clearly flaunting the concept of international law… and a whack of countries seem to be okay with that.. why is that??

        • N_

          Well you get 8/10 for trying to blame the French and for putting “fault” in inverted commas, but the following gives you away as trying too hard:

          Whatever the French and Israelis were doing I can’t see how this can be described as Israels ‘fault’.

          When a Nazi hides behind a security guard to carry out his 712th school shooting, and, from amid the bodies, one of the children throws a rock at the security guard, the incident is the Nazi’s fault. Do you understand now?

          • N_

            True, and look how he says “French and I__aelis” rather than “I__aelis and French”, and how he talks of the Syrians of having been “fooled”. Not as clever as he thinks. Rabid, though.

          • Deb O'Nair

            Fooled, conned, deceived, misled, setup, bilked – what difference does it make? That is exactly the what the Russians are saying the Israelis did.

            “and look how he says “French and I__aelis” rather than “I__aelis and French”; Have you got a problem with alphabetical order and spelling out words in full, and you call me rabid??

        • Borncynical

          And don’t forget the agreement whereby Israel are supposed to give the Russians notice of impending assaults precisely in order to allow the Russians to take appropriate action to avoid this sort of incident. In this case we are led to believe they were given one minute’s notice!

        • George_Cardiff

          Sure, how can one blame Israel? They can bomb Syria whenever they like. The Syrians are to blame for aiming “indiscriminately” at the Israeli jets/rockets?

          • Deb O'Nair

            Israel shouldn’t be bombing Syria, NATO shouldn’t be bombing Syria, Gulf States, US and UK should not be supporting terrorists. Syria should be allowed to defend it’s airspace from aggressors etc. etc., but when Syria shoots down a Russian plane then that’s an issue between Russian and Syrian targeting/communications and Putin has acknowledged that this looks like an accident.

          • james

            deb – you are clearly removing israels role in all this… it is as israel wasn’t the prime reason for this happening to you… you don’t get it, and i can’t see you getting it anytime soon either..

      • Charles Bostock

        That is why Russia will not attack Israel. Why do people keep predicting WW3? Is it to make the flesh of readers (or perhaps their own flesh) creep? Is it to give themselves a prophetic image in the hope of impressing others? Whatever it is, let’s say it loud and clear once more : THERE ISN’T GOING TO BE A WW3. NOT TODAY. NOT NEXT MONTH. NOT NEXT YEAR….

          • Tom Welsh

            Well, he wasn’t alive then. So for him it didn’t happen.

            “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

            – George Santayana, “The Life of Reason” (1905-1906)

          • Charles Bostock


            Yeah, well, that anniversary was in 2014, so 4 years ago and as you know, a week’s a long time in politics (Santayana didn’t say that) and anyway the analogy’s a false one and so there’s no lesson to learn or to forget, sorry.

        • Republicofscotland

          Well, if the red calf is truly red all over, then the loonballs at the Temple Institute, will call it the end of days, and the
          prophecy of the Third temple can begin.

          So we known which fruitcake nation to look to, for the coming armageddon.

    • Yevgeny

      Because Russia cannot afford to alienate too many players. It is indeed weak. And Putin plays the best game given its weak cards. Putin consistently shows that he is flexible and reliable partner (unlike infantile West) and will resort to extreme measures ONLY when Russia is cornered (e.g. Crimea). I think the incident will be swallowed, but it will play its role in future negotiations. I think Israelis are informed that similar “unfortunate chain of events” will not be tolerated.

        • Yevgeny

          I agree, but that’s the way it is. And then it will become “corner”. If they won’t see it, they will get a new “Georgia”, “Crimea”… I think Putin already showed enough that things can turn the other way very quickly. Maybe they are given a notice that the incident will be paid back. But some other time. I don’t know. But to risk a “little war” with Israel would be irresponsible.
          P.S. If only “strong” countries could have a small fraction of grace “weak” Putin has….

          • MJ

            Agreed. He sometimes comes over like a global headmaster dealing with naughty schoolchildren. He doesn’t war and wants the return of diplomacy, which he happens to be very good at.

        • N_

          @MJ @Yevgeny

          This was an I__aeli provocation, and if provokers don’t get what they want they provoke again.

          Even if the plane had not been attacked, using it as cover and giving only a minute’s warning constitute a provocation.

      • Jack


        Sure Russia seems rational but the west arent, and they have showed that many times now, still Russia is getting fooled and literally smashed around, dont forget the earlier provations last night by not only Israel but apparently also France.
        If Russia dont make a point soon – it is way overdue already, they will get hit harder and harder.

      • Tom Welsh

        The sad fact – which about sums up our species – is that the USA and Israel control the world because they have the money – and most people will do absolutely anything for cash.

    • Les Campbell

      What exactly do you expect Putin to do in this situation? Israel are allowed to do anything and everything they want. The BBC, to name one of many, has “Russia blames Israel” as its headline. It has removed reference to the involvement of the French frigate. All in the space of a few hours, the case is done and dusted, Russia’s old antiaircraft defences were to blame. No mention that Israel has been doing these bombing raids for years. 200 in the last 18 months alone. That’s undeclared war on Syria. It’s totally against all international law (self defence) and the UN should demand it stops or faces the consequences. Arms embargoes, economy sanctions, exposure of its massive, (poor little vulnerable liberal democracy) illegal, nuclear arsenal alone should result in the full force of the International community being used.
      Instead, if Russia was to respond in kind, the NATO world powers would have the very excuse Netanyahu is working to provide them with. It’s a mistake to think that Netanyahu or the Zionist entity created by Britain (City of London and the Realm) to defend its empire cares about Jewish people. Or Israel. Or any human being on the face of our planet.
      Looking at the Trump situation. It is now obvious there was never any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Hence the Skripal nonsense. May knows that Trump knows that Britain and its secret intelligence services conspired to fabricate the whole affair. Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mays Government and assorted players are up to their necks in it. This was revealed in March (FISA memo)- Skripal act one. Russophobia builds. After World Cup need to kick start it again- Skripal act two (Charlie and Dawn). Then, just as the case was totally falling apart in America. (No evidence of any American involvement, Muller sued by Russian internet company, Bruce Ore testimony, etc etc) May is made to stand up in Parliament and finger a couple of fitness guys from Russia’s GRU. All the time Trump is fighting for his life in the mid terms in America.
      It’s the most critical situation I can ever remember in terms of geopolitical shenanigans. One over reaction will ignite the fuse.

    • Salford Lad

      Back in 2015 when the US Air Force ‘accidentally’ bombed Deir Ezzor ,killed about 200 Syrian military and co-ordinated with an ISIS attack ,there was a Russian reprisal, which was only reported in the FARS News of Iran.
      It was this time that Samantha Powers ,US rep at the UN, threw an extreme tantrum with the Russian Ambassador , which puzzled many.
      The Russians had sent a couple of Kalibr missiles up the spout of a Control center hidden in the hills above Aleppo.
      This Control Centre directed operations of the Jihadi armies, which were embedded with Special services of US,UK, Turkey, Qatar.
      Of course no official complaint could be made as all these forces were there illegally directing illegal attacks on Syria.
      As the Mafia saying goes, ‘Revenge is a dish ,best eaten cold’.
      Russia will retaliate with plausible deniability and in its own good time. Putin is playing the Sun Tzu strategy, Attack from a position of strength and do not interfere when your opponent makes mistakes.
      The attack on the Russian AWAC was a master stroke of deception by the Israelis, co-ordinated with the French destroyer Auvergne,, but it will be returned in spades.
      Putin means to win the War, not a battle as per Von Clausewitz strategy.

    • Jack


      Russia will start WW3 by responding fire to Israel? Of course not, in fact Russia doesnt do the smallest of “return”, it doesnt bode well for blocking off future attacks by west on the middle east. Not to mention the aggression by Israel will keep on going even stronger.

  • mike

    Indeed, Salford Lad. I suspect there is also a control centre or two in Idlib, full of Imperial advisors, that might not be intact for much longer.

  • MJ

    There was a summit on Syria a week or two ago involving Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani. All presidents, top level stuff. It struck me as odd that Assad was not present to discuss the future of his own country. Where was he: is he still alive?

  • Sharp Ears

    This is Jeremy Bowen’s report, which I referred to earlier on here, where he witnessed the destruction of a Palestinian village, Khan al Ahmar.
    The action has been called unlawful by the UN but the Israeli government went ahead.

    In another video, he talks to Naftali Bennett, the Israeli minister.
    Bennett was born in 1972 in Haifa to American parents who had settled in Israel after the 1967 Six Day War. That was the one when everyone fell for General Dayan heroics. Bennett has moved to and fro between Israel and America making a fortune in the process. The Palestinians in that village have been there ere long.

    He is supremely arrogant and unflinching about Israel’s right to the land. He will not and does not see the irony.
    ‘It’s all about poking Israel in the eye politically’
    Israeli cabinet minister Naftali Bennett says it’s no one else’s business where housing is built in Israel.

    On autoplay another video comes up showing the abandoned Palestinian airport in Gaza that Israel bombed in 2001.

  • remember kronstadt

    israhell thrives on victimhood and putin is wise not to react in kind and engage directly. his correct line is that syria is a sovereign state, despite all attempts to wreck it, and is entitled to defend itself and its borders. the evidence of french engagement, isreahelli and proxy armies are sufficient evidence that the stables should be cleaned without overeaching. taking on israhell directly would be the excuse for a slaughter. recovering even the golan heights alone would be problematic.

  • SA

    As other commentators have stated I agree that Putin’s comment was a bit weak. Also why is Syria supplied with antiquated air defence systems only? And why no response from Russian air defences in Latakia so close to their sit base. Even more pertinent why does the antiquated Syrian system take out a Russian plane? This exposes many vulnerabilities I am afraid and maybe it was a perfect French/Israeli joint trap to expose these vulnerabilities.

    • Charles Bostock

      There might be more cash to upgrade Syrian defence systems if the Assad clan stuffed less into their own bank accounts for their old age

    • Borncynical


      As has been said elsewhere on this thread, until now Russia have presumably put their faith in the agreement that Israel would give the Russians adequate warning before conducting an attack, precisely to take strategic steps to avoid an incident such as this and to reduce the risk of injuring or killing Syrians and/or Russians (civilian or military). Could anyone argue that one minute is “adequate warning”? It’s now a case of the Russians realising that they were misguided in being so trusting.

      • SA

        Yes but therein is the crux of the weakness. Do you really allow your ally to be bombed again and again because of some arrangement with s country known Not to be trusted?

        • giyane


          Panic not. This is the last, desperate attempt by cornered criminals who know the lasers of the armed police are trained on the empty space between their eyeballs. Russia and China are not going to let US, UK and IS conquer the globe with drug-crazed terrorists. Russia took a shot with the terrorist bomb on their flight from Egypt. Criminals will hit back, but that will only increase Russia and China’s determination to frustrate USUKIS.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ SA September 18, 2018 at 19:41
      It most certainly does appear to have been a deliberate trap, like the Turkish (American, I suspect, but called Turkish) palne that lurked below the mountain cover and downed the Russian fighter previously.

      • JohninMK

        I disagree, the IAF did not have enough time to plan anything as it have advance warning that the Il-20 was going to be where it was at the time it was. As a consequence I doubt that the F-16s hid in the Il-20’s radar ‘shadow’, they were in, bomb launch and out as fast as they could. There would be no benefit to them in slowing down to the Il-20’s heading in to land speed, it never really was on their track as it had been Intel gathering over Idlib, well inland and was landing from the West as the wind was blowing from the East, hence the loop round to its fate.

        The IAF, who acknowledge over 200 strikes in Syria over the past few years, were riding their luck. They know that there is always a hail of missiles following them home on strikes like this and to date, publicly, they have only lost one F-16. This time their fate changed, whilst they all got home a bystander got caught and the worst possible bystander, a significant manpower Russian plane.

        Russia, given its objectives in the region, kinda has its hand tied behind its back as it can’t do anything overt against the IAF, also about half the Israeli population is ex Russia. We the public may never know what if any the retribution is but it will be a game changer.

        We can be pretty certain that the phone lines were not only red hot into the Israeli MoD from Moscow but also Washington as well. This outcome was definitely not part of the plan, a set of tactical events has turned into a big strategic problem.

        Events dear boy, events.

    • Patmur

      I don’t agree that Putin is being weak. Israel and Russia do have a partnership, particularly in relation to Syria. This wouldn’t be the first time the Israelis have been allowed to bomb somewhere in Syria. There is actually more to it than interests. After all, about 25% of the Israeli population comes from Russia and often their qualifications for being Jewish is tenuous in the extreme. Another interesting fact is that around 25% of the Israeli population hold double citizenship – Israeli and German.

  • giyane

    USUKIS only has one problem, Russian control over Syrian airspace. Now that USUKIS has weakened that weakest link, after years of planning and recidivist malice, Putin will not give them the pleasure of losing his cool over this. Contrast that with Taz May’s supermarket tantrum over a false-flag attack in Salisbury or Hubris Johnson’s constantly baring his backside to the British public. The adults in the room can see the terrible twos need early bedtime and Calpol. Putin knew it wasn’t going to be easy being a parent, but hopes the kids will respond to care and love.

    • Charles Bostock

      “Hubris Johnson’s constantly baring his backside to the British public”

      You’re at it again with your anal and sexual imagery.

      Can you not write a single post without referring to arses, genitals or whatever?

      You’re not at pubic school any longer, get over it!

      • giyane


        How’s the war games going? Sorry a BBC reporter called it that. Unfortunately they have never left the safety of their laptops.

        The inadequacy of the English language means I have to use metaphor in order to describe the infantile stupidity of English politicians. If they behaved like adults I could use nicer metaphors. Like Barnier the Barn Owl, or Vladimir Pugin the global architect of the 21st century. nice words for nice people, nasty words for nasty people.

      • giyane

        Hubris Johnson supports the torture-rendition-brain-washed jihadists. Based on that old colonial bedrock fantasy of the jolly old British Empire he jokingly composes insults against Islamists from post-boxes to suicide-vests. in so doing he has failed to observe that the Islamism the British invented to replace the Ottoman Empire they destroyed and replaced with Israel is the only policy they’ve got.

        Erdogan has persuaded Russia to agree to Hubris’s Islamists being dis-armed and moved out of Idlib so that they can no longer threaten the Muslim population. If they are disarmed and isolated they will be rounded up and killed. Israel is trying to distract them right at the moment they at the point of removing Hubris / Shaytan’s only trick, by shooting their spy plane down. In reality, Russia will see this action as the last desperate act of the thrashing swamp-drained neo-cons.
        Rise up Sir Vlad and Lord Xi, new overlords of the human universe. The neo-cons will be chained up in dungeons and our Queen will invite Putin’s representative in the UK to form a new parliament.

    • giyane

      Farage is a credibility bolt-on which the Tories can buy when their credibility has run out. Most people who voted for Brexit because they don’t want Germany and France telling us what to do are appalled at Mrs May hijacking Brexit to her party’s populist racism. We enjoy the rich racial mix we live in and we don’t agree with Mrs May’s gross racism. People enjoy going abroad and that is going to become much more difficult after May’s nasty Brexit. Drawbridge up , portcullis down. Non-Tories stretched on the rack in the dungeons, or left to sleep on the street.

  • nevermind

    St.Theresa bowled a blinder in that interview, primetime middle class sunday morning viewing, clad in virgin white, believe me… she tried to make out that there is only one route. Her route.

    Sycofantic, even robotic one would say.

    Is Putin weak for taking a hit? Will he ensure that future rogue actions are parried? Or is the air hegemony been left to Syria and or rogue intruders to control?

    And why is there a virtual news blackout on what is going on in Syria?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ nevermind September 18, 2018 at 21:42
      Israel, probably in conjunction with the French and US, laid the trap, but it was Syrian AA fire that brought the Russian plane down.
      So it is not an easy situation to respond to.
      I believe Russia will respond, in it’s own way and in it’s own time.
      Meanwhile, we here need to keep up our exposure of what is really going on, to the best of our ability, which I know many do, not least our host, Craig.

      • JohninMK

        Yes, Putin is well aware of the narrow path he must follow with Russia well capable of defending itself but unable to take on the US in the rest of the world. The problem he has is that his caution can be interpreted by neocons as weakness.

        I suspect that RuAF interceptor aircraft in Syria will be significantly increased together with upping the ability of the SyAF SAM batteries both by moving S-300 systems into them for the first time and increasing the number of short range Pantsir AA systems. This will be in an attempt to shut the IAF out of Syria.

        Its the S-300s missiles and radar quality and range that appear to be the game changer. Both the US and Israel recognize this and have done all they can to keep them out of Syria. It will be ironic if, through being too clever by half on this strike, the IAF have given the Russians/Syrians an open door to walk through by clearly showing that the old S-200 is no longer up to the job of defending the country.

        Incidentally, the Russians are saying that this particular strike was not made using missiles, the IAF used the latest generation US Small Diameter Bomb, basically a standard iron bomb with wings and guidance that can be lobbed by an aircraft and, depending on launch speed and height, has a maximum range of around 100 miles. Very difficult to defend against, hence the Pantsir system of guns and missiles.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ JohninMK September 18, 2018 at 22:51
          ‘…Incidentally, the Russians are saying that this particular strike was not made using missiles, the IAF used the latest generation US Small Diameter Bomb, basically a standard iron bomb with wings and guidance that can be lobbed by an aircraft and, depending on launch speed and height, has a maximum range of around 100 miles….’
          Sort of like a Dam Busters’ bouncing bomb, without the bounces.
          Good analysis. I wonder if anyone knows what or who the French frigate fired missiles at? And why?

          • JohninMK

            There now seems to be little evidence that the French, or anyone else, actually fired anything. Claims made in the confusion and disinformation at the time.

            Rather than the bouncing bomb more like the German Fritz-X WW2 guided bomb.

            There seems to have been a UK Tornado overhead watching for a while whilst en route to eastern Syria.

      • giyane

        Paul Barbara

        If what you say is true, that justifies Russia holding back from giving Assad better anti-aircraft technology before. Assad was the West’s ally for a long time so maybe the West has turned him round.
        Russia never tolerates CIA interference in her interests and it is within their power to remove Assad.
        China has to make up its mind still whether to divert the Silk Road through NATO’s Turkey or restore the original through Syria. It’s a simple choice between Erdogan’s bonkers Islamism which could capillary back up the road to China, and a new democratically elected government in Syria which Russia has the ability to organise.

        Whatever the neo-con nutters plan, God has a better plan. The failure of Tory policy in Syria, brought in by Cameron and Hague , to use brain-washed Islamists, opens the door for all those who hate the dictator Assad and his clan to realise their dreams and have a new government. Tories and Assad, two birds with one stone. Someone’s going to regret shooting that spy plane down.

  • Jones

    while Nick Robinson orchestrates Theresa May to blow her own trumpet it’s been reported there are now 14 million people living in poverty under her governance, of which 6.9 million are families with a disabled person, and 4.5 million are children.

    • JohninMK

      That’s one in five and one in ten of the population.

      Somehow the meaning of the words poverty and disabled have significantly changed over the years.

  • Patmur

    Why is it that so many right-wingers consider Russia to be some kind of model society deserving of our permanent admiration.

    I have to say I was doubtful about the rights and wrongs of the Skripal case and Russia’s role in it at a state level. The whole things remains a bizarre case. I am also aware that the US and NATO have flagrantly broken a formal promise they made to Russia when it allowed Germany to be re-united not to move troops eastward beyond the borders of Germany.

    However Russia is a lawless state and despite its enormous wealth of natural resources it has signally failed to bring its people prosperity. Instead it hides behind an aura of moral virtue, smugly expressing at every possible opportunity its supposed moral superiority over Europe and the West. But then this is a permanent feature of Russia – not just with Putin, but under the communists and under the Tsars.

    • giyane


      When British foreign policy for over 150 years has been to support Islamist terror, and to divide and rule, it’s not hard for Russia to claim moral and intellectual superiority. USUKIS have lost the Great Game. The financial services industry crashed and our industrial base has been exported to the Far East.
      USUKIS Islamist terror has destroyed Muslim country after Muslim country in our lifetime. Does that make you feel morally superior that British policy has destroyed so many places and so many lives?

      It makes Israeli and British politicians feel morally superior, to have the power to destroy and reduce other countries to ruins.

    • Clark

      Change a few words and it’s the Western alliance:

      “it hides behind an aura of moral virtue, smugly expressing at every possible opportunity its supposed moral superiority over Europe and the West Russia and its official enemies in the Middle East”

    • Twostime



      I think, if you read and watch further you’ll find that across the political spectrum people and pundits consider Russia to be diplomaticaly fighting for the planet right now against the insane and dying FUKUSIS imperial nightmare.

      Russia is NOT a lawless state. As the right pundits like to point out they have their own clause 28 now. I don’t approve that but it makes my point. It certainly doesn’t support ongoing screeching liberals who claim homosexuality is illegal in Russia.

      “Failed to bring its people prosperity” – you are of course aware of “economic sanctions” – a form of warfare.

      smuggly expressing…. just rabid xenophobic BS from that point on.

  • Observer

    Fact is stranger than fiction.

    Anyone following the multiple strands of Trump (and his family’s) various legal jeopardies, may be interested in this NYT overview and the tweets of this specialist impeachment lawyer. Makes fascinating reading:

    ” Ross Garber

    Verified account

    10h10 hours ago
    This ⁦@maggieNYT⁩ piece puts too much blame on Dowd. Yes, I never really got the cooperate and pray approach. But the legal operation has always been way too thin. Main issue is likely a client who doesn’t realize the scope or depth of the problem.’

    ” Trump’s Growing Legal Team Has a Problem: It’s Operating Partly in the Dark ”

    If you find yourself behind the paywall, google the article title, then click to it and you’ll find yourself in the right place.

    Follow this guy if you want incisive updates.

    An important point he makes:
    Ross Garber
    4h4 hours ago
    An unfettered investigation of a president by executive branch personnel just isn’t contemplated by our Constitution. Congress is the check on the president.

  • Hatuey

    In light of the sense I’m getting that many on here misunderstand the situation in Syria, I think it’s time to re-evaluate where we are right now. Let’s stick to uncontroversial facts and important stuff.

    1) If it wasn’t for Russian involvement, Syria (like Iraq, Gaza, and Libya) would basically be a mass grave. It’s pretty safe to guess that maybe half a million Syrians owe their lives to Russia as it stands, probably more.

    2) As a consequence of Western behaviour over the last 15 years, international law as we know it no longer exists — it’s gone. Note the callous disregard shown by Israel, the US, and others when it comes to bombing the sovereign state of Syria. There isn’t even the pretence of respect for the UN or international law any more.

    And that’s pretty much it. Syria is an international punch bag but if it wasn’t for Russia it would be a charnel house. I guessed today that Russia would respond by bolstering its air defences in Syria and based on what Putin has said that looks like the plan.

    The real test will come when one of Israel’s or America’s planes get blasted out of the sky over Syria and that is almost inevitably going to happen quite soon.

    The best we can hope for in the absence of international law is that Russia and perhaps China stand up to the mass murderers who are at the root of all this. Appeasement, as we learned in the 1930s, doesn’t work.

  • John Gilberts

    Haaretz in reporting the IL-20 shootdown, wrote: “Civilian radar also tracked British Royal Air Force aircraft, which, unusually, had switched on their transponders and gone into holding patterns.” Given the alleged involvement by the French frigate as well, perhaps we are looking at something involving rather more actors?

  • N_

    We’re in this strange limbo waiting for two sets of promised “steps”: Britgov’s against Russia and its GRU, and Russia’s to give added protection to its forces in Syria.

    Meanwhile Kol Nidre is over and Storm Ali (could we really make this up?), triple witching and the powerful ritual planned for the equinox all approach.

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