US Provocations Risk War with Russia

June 16th, 2023 - by Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

US Deploys F-22s to the Middle East to
Confront Russian Aircraft Over Syria
Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

(June 15, 2023) — Washington sent F-22 Raptors to the Middle East in a show of force eyeing Moscow. The US claims that Russian aircraft were acting unsafely in the skies above Syria. American planes were targeting Russian aircraft in eastern Syria, according to the Kremlin’s recent statements.

On Wednesday, US Central Command issued a statement saying a squadron of F-22s was deployed to its area of responsibility, a region that stretches from North Africa to South Asia. The deployments show “the US’ ability to re-posture forces and deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice,” the press release said.

CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Kurilla said the show of force was directed at Moscow. “Russian Forces’ unsafe and unprofessional behavior is not what we expect from a professional air force,” he said. “Their regular violation of agreed upon airspace deconfliction measures increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation.”

Two weeks ago, the Kremlin complained that American aircraft flying in Syrian skies were targeting Russian planes. “The so-called ‘international coalition’ led by the United States continues to fragrantly violate the deconfliction protocols and the memorandum of understanding on air safety in Syria,” Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria explained.

“Pilots of the US Air Force are still recorded to be activating weapon systems when approaching in midair the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces that fly routine sorties in eastern Syria.”

President Bashar al-Assad invited Russian troops into Syria to prevent his military from falling to jihadist forces. Moscow has helped Damascus retake a significant portion of Syria, heavily relying on its airpower.

The US occupies about a third of Syria through its proxy force, the Syrian Democratic Forces. American aircraft carry out various operations in Syria, often asserting the mission is targeting al-Qaeda or Islamic State.

CENTCOM reported carrying out nearly 40 operations in Iraq and Syria in May. On May 3rd, the US conducted an airstrike in Syria, initially claiming to kill a senior member of al-Qeada. However, it was later revealed a civilian was the operation’s only casualty.

Airwars, an international monitoring group, found Russia was responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in Syria, while Washington likely killed over ten thousand non-combatants.

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