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‘West is portraying Russia as the villain siding with Assad, the butcher’

Published time: October 11, 2012 03:39
Edited time: October 11, 2012 08:37
A Syrian passenger plane is seen after it was forced to land at Ankara airport on October 10, 2012. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

A Syrian passenger plane is seen after it was forced to land at Ankara airport on October 10, 2012. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

Turkey intercepted a Syrian civilian airliner on suspicions of carrying "non-civilian" Russian cargo. By accusing Russia of arming Syria, Western powers threw their weight around to boost the case for intervention, analyst Eric Draitser told RT.

­RT: The Syrian airplane has been intercepted on suspicions of "non-civilian" cargo. What were the indications of that?

Eric Draitser: Well, we’re hearing mixed reports, but the story goes that there was some kind of a leak – some kind of information tipped off the Turkish authorities that they should be investigating this plane, this civilian plane. Now the question of whether or not this was legitimate intelligence or whether this was faulty intelligence – or if it was planted intelligence – is entirely up in the air, and I certainly would not want to venture a guess into which of those it might be. However, what we can say for certain is this is precisely the type of incident that can stoke the tensions that the United States and their allies have been wanting in order to have some kind of an intervention in Syria.

RT: Why is the Western media always in a rush to accuse Russia of supplying arms to the Syrian forces?

ED: It is important to the Western narrative to portray Russia as a villain, to portray Putin as a dictator, as a tyrant, and that he is siding with the butcher, Assad. The reality of course is far from that. Russia of course has strategic interests in Syria, but there is still a nagging question of international law and accepted norms of international relations, and I think this is precisely the point Putin and Lavrov have made repeatedly.

But here in the United States it is impossible to sell the public on a war against Syria or on a war against Iran unless you can demonize those forces, such as Russia, which stand in opposition.

The demonization of Russia in regards to the weapons sales is something that has been going on for months, going back to Secretary of State Clinton and her laughable accusations against the Russian government that they were instigating a civil war by simply delivering what has been already contracted to the Syrian government.

But as mentioned already, to demonize Russia is to lend credence to the side that is in favor of intervention. Remember that the vetoes Russia and China have put forward in the Security Council were not simply vetoes against what the United States wants – they were attempts to prevent war, and there is no way you can get around that unless you can drum up some kind of incident that would look like Putin and Lavrov would have egg on their face.

RT: And meanwhile, the US is planning to deploy over 100 troops to neighboring Jordan, on Syria's doorstep. Will it have any significant impact on the course of the internal fighting in Syria?

ED: It is impossible to say whether it will for certain or it won’t for certain, but we can certainly infer that the possibility is there. Anytime you put troops into a region, whether it’s naval vessels off the coast of Iran or whether it is military operations and drills in the Philippines, it always creates the possibility for some kind of an incident, some kind of a conflict, and the danger here is not simply that Turkey and Syria will get into a shooting war overnight.

It is that an incident could be created, a false-flag or some other kind of an incident that could then lead to a shooting war, and that is precisely what Russia and China and countries like that have tried to avoid.

‘Turkey’s actions against a civilian airliner from Moscow to Syria are acts of war’

Anti-war activist and journalist Don Debar told RT that Ankara would never undertake such daring action without its Western allies' directions.

RT: So, the Syrian Air passenger plane has been intercepted on suspicions of having "non-civilian" cargo – what has been cited as indications of that?

Don Debar: I’m frightened about this entire episode, and it comes on the heels of a pronouncement by the various members of NATO that any challenge to this member of NATO, particularly Turkey, would be considered a challenge against the entire alliance and war will follow, etcetera. It has been very rough out there the last few days. You have the report that came from RT, the only report that I saw actually disclosing the fact that the incident last week of the alleged attack of Syria upon Turkey was actually performed by NATO weapons, or by NATO-designed weapons from Turkey that were delivered to the NATO troops on the ground fighting the Syrian government. What concerns me a lot is that it sounds like the reason the United States went to war in WWI.

The introduction of ships from the United States to England and others in Europe ended up being the reason why the United States government got involved in WWI. This act by Turkey against an airplane, a civilian airliner from Moscow to Syria, is an act of war.

I’m glad that Russia isn’t treating it that way, but the fact is under the international law, this is an act of war. And that Turkey would be involved to commit this act makes me very nervous about what is going to happen moving forward – especially what kind of additional acts will be committed by NATO members against the world, hoping, or at least we’re hoping, that it does not lead to a world war or at least a wider conflict.

RT: As it plays out, it has the makings of a major international incident, doesn’t it?

DD: I think it already is, and you can look at the post-WWII period till now, had the Soviet Union done such a thing to the West at a different point in history, there would be wall to wall coverage of this incident, as the obvious need to have a nuclear war with the Soviet Union across the US and Western Europe. The particular incident does not rise to that level, but it is illegal, it is an act of war, and if anyone were to decide to respond in kind, we would end up going over this huge waterfall of just cascading events that would lead to deaths of our species really.  

This is crazy, I have no idea what the thinking is behinds this; rather than to try to intimidate everyone, involve everyone on the other side of this adventure in Syria to either back off, or we’re going to take this to the max. This is the signal Washington is trying to send, because Turkey isn’t doing it without an 'okay' from Washington. And it is frightening actually how aggressively they’re playing at this point, especially a couple of weeks before the election. Usually they’re trying to keep this stuff toned down before the election, and saving it for after the election, so I hope the worst isn’t coming after November 6th.