Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet (VIDEO)

There's a huge live blog at the Telegraph UK, "Putin's fury after Turkey shoots down Russian jet, killing at least one pilot before rebels destroy rescue helicopter • President warns of 'serious consequences' but Obama says Turks have right to defend airspace":
There are dark corners of the Internet where Russian nationalists will argue the toss with Americans about whether the Su-24 is better than an F-16. I guess that argument was resolved today.
Also at WSJ, "Skies Darken for Accord on Syria With Turkish Downing of Russian Fighter":

Fallout of fatal incident threatens to destroy chances for grand coalition of international powers to change course of chaos in war-torn country.

When Turkey destroyed a Russian warplane it had warned away from its airspace, the fallout threatened to destroy chances for any grand coalition of international powers to change the course of chaos in Syria, at least for now.

The fatal incident in the skies Tuesday immediately escalated, and complicated, what had already been an intensely difficult enterprise—trying to bridge divides and corral longtime adversaries into a pact to combat their one shared enemy, Islamic State.

The Turkish-Russian aerial altercation quickly hardened the positions held by all sides. While the U.S. and its ally France dug in on their demands on resolving the Syrian conflict, Russia and its ally Iran adhered to theirs.

Aggravating the conflict was a war of words, with Mr. Putin leveling charges that Turkey, an ally of the U.S. and France, finances terrorism—accusations widely aired on Russian television in a daylong propaganda blitz.

Amid the strife, President Barack Obama and French President Fran├žois Hollande presented a united front, speaking at the White House Tuesday after their first meeting since the Paris attacks. They outlined changes they said Russia must make to its military strategy in Syria and to its position on a political resolution to the conflict before the U.S.-led coalition, which includes Turkey, would cooperate with Moscow in the fight against Islamic State.

The demands made by the U.S. and French leaders—including the key issue of the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Russia supports—now have set the stage for a tense meeting between Mr. Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Thursday.

The downing of the Russian jet is likely to redraw the lines of engagement in Syria and affect Russians’ perceptions of their country’s intervention, analysts say.

“Hollande’s mission was to reach some kind of coordination with Russia,” said Alexei Makarkin, deputy director at Center for Political Technologies. “Now it is very, very doubtful that it is even possible to coordinate actions. The maximum that we can talk about now is avoiding shooting each other.”

Mr. Hollande’s visit to Moscow this week was supposed to be a crowning moment for Mr. Putin’s plan to bring more countries into his antiterrorism tent, as well as any potential rapprochement with the West after isolation over his intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

But Mr. Obama, after expressing a new openness to coordinating with Russia since he met with Mr. Putin in Turkey last week, on Tuesday sought instead to isolate him.

“Russia right now is a coalition of two—Iran and Russia, supporting Assad,” he said. “We’ve got a global coalition organized. Russia is the outlier.”

At the same time, the U.S. and French leaders sought to demonstrate enhanced cooperation in their coalition.

Mr. Hollande said the immediate priority in the military campaign in Syria is to take back territory currently controlled by Islamic State and secure the border with Turkey.

Mr. Obama called on the European Union to implement an agreement that would require airlines to share passenger information.

“By targeting France, terrorists were targeting the world,” said Mr. Hollande.

Mr. Hollande’s stop in Washington was part of a whirlwind international tour to build a “single, grand coalition” of nations to take on Islamic State, which he called for last week.

French diplomats, however, have in recent days inched away from Mr. Hollande’s call for such a sweeping coalition. Instead officials in Paris have spoken of “coordination” in the strikes against Islamic State and have ruled out any shared command center for bombing targets in Syria...
And see, "Turkey Shoots Down Russian Military Jet Near Syrian Border."