Russia Closes Eastern Mediterranean to US and Israeli Ships and Fighter Planes for “Military Purposes”. Suspects Israel Downed Russian Aircraft

Strange things are going on in the Middle East. The Week 29 Aug. 2018:Russia is sending its biggest fleet of warships to the Mediterranean and   here – and so does NATO.  Russia closes international waters in Eastern Mediterranean. Russia A Russian plane with 15 military persons shot down – Russia does not believe Israel´s postulation that it was Syria who downed it. Analyst Andrew Korybko indicates France may have done it!
Oddly, not a word from the US or NATO is to be found on the unilateral Russian closing internatonal watersof Eastern Mediterranean! Did their ships just skedaddle – and then why? 
What is going on?

Haaretz 20 Sept. 2018: Russia reportedly decided to close areas near Cyprus to air, land and sea movement from Thursday until next Wednesday for the sake of military operations. Sources in Israel confirmed the report.

DWN 20 Sept. 2018: According to Larnaka airport, Russia has issued a “notice to airmen (NOTAM)” to civilian airlines stating that a Russian maneuver is taking place approximately 50 nautical miles east of Cyprus. Therefore, the airspace has been blocked by the Russians, who are able to because they control the airspace over Syria. The civil airlines in Europe were informed accordingly.

Red fields now barred by Russia

There is no opinion from the official Russian side, and the Russian state media do not report the suspension.
According to Phileleftheros (Cyprus airport), Moscow has sent several reports to the Cypriot authorities about intense military activity planned in the region next week, writes the Times of Israel. The report pointed out that Russian operations are causing considerable difficulties for civilian traffic to and from the island.

By this device, Russia has shut down Israel’s capacity to strike targets in Syria from the sea or from Lebanon. Air raids henceforth can only be launched directly from Israel or through Jordanian air space. Israel’s missile ships are also prevented from reaching waters off the Syrian coast.

This stratagem is not only aimed against Israel, in the wake of the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance air crash Monday with 15 people aboard, but the United States as well. Heading towards the Mediterranean is the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike group to join the US Sixth fleet. The group carries 6,000 sea and air crew personnel, with 9 squadrons of fighter-bombers on its decks, and consists additionally of guided missile cruisers and destroyers. It is the Trump administration’s first major response to the massing by the Russians of an armada of 25 warships off the Syrian coast since the last week of August.

The Russian naval buildup and the forthcoming arrival of the US aircraft carrier, following the downing of the Russian plane, is scaling military tensions around Syria up to a new pitch between the US, Russia and Israel. Further developments are seen to be impending.


DEBKAfile 20 Sept. 2018:  Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin, Israel’s Air Force chief, endured hour after hour of quizzing in Moscow Thursday, Sept. 20 about the Russian plane shot down by Syria on Monday. At home, Israeli officials and army chiefs made an effort to cool the crisis which sprang up in Russian-Israeli relations over the incident. In Moscow, the Israeli officers produced electronic and other evidence showing Syrian air defense missile fire to be haphazard and unfocused.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that the Israeli officers answered the endless Russian interrogation professionally and to the point, although the interviews went on all day and appear to be continuing into the night.
The decision to send an Israel officer  with the high rank of the air force chief to Moscow has therefore been widely criticized in many circles in Israel.
Kremlin policy in military affairs and relations with Israel are not up to the Russian air force chief, but the personal province of President Vladimir Putin, and he will soon indicate which way the wind is blowing from Moscow to Jerusalem. And Putin immediately acquitted Israel – until the interrogation!

DEBKAfile 21 Sept. 2018: According to a subsequent IDF announcement, the coordination mechanism between Israel and the Russian command in Syria was nonetheless functioning “routinely.”


DEBKAfile 21 Sept. 2018Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen Amikam Nurkin at the head of an Israeli delegation returned home from Moscow Friday after a day and night of meetings with Russian officials on the downing of the Russian Ilyushin by Syrian fire. They submitted the IDF’s findings on the incident, in which 15 Russian military personnel lost their lives. Dissatisfaction with those findings was indicated by President Vladimir Putin in a remark to Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Tali Ploskov at a conference of Euro-Asian Women on Friday. “Putin said that many mistakes were made during the incident and that he expected the facts to be examined,” she reported.

DEBKAfil2 20 Sept. 2018: In a statement Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Defense  “refuted the claim that the IL20 hit was due to failure of friend/foe identification.”
The Russian investigation is clearly resolved to dismiss Israel’s findings that the plane was shot down by accidental Syrian missile fire and by then Israeli planes were already back at home base from their Latakia raid.

Andrew Korybko shares this skepsis




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