President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to tip off Russia’s military before launching any attacks.
The US tries hard to avoid killing Russians in Syria, despite the President’s hostile rhetoric to Moscow.
Russia is Syria’s ally, but does not approve of all of its behavior.
Moscow seems willing to let the US hit some Syrian targets as punishment for alleged chemical weapons use.
Experts say it’s possible for the US to hit Syrian troops while dodging Russian ones, and so avoid a major escalation.
President Donald Trump will reportedly tip off the Russian military before launching a proposed missile strike on Syria, so that Moscow can get its forces out of the way.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Wednesday that the US will give the Russian military a list of its targets it intends to hit. Its report said that no high-value Russian assets like ships or planes are in the crosshairs.
The site also reports that Russia has spoken to US military leaders, and to NATO (via Turkey) to avoid an escalating conflict as the West prepares to punish Syria for incidents of chemical warfare.
The coordination between Russia and the US, the world’s two greatest military and nuclear powers, has positive implications for avoiding a massive escalation.
But it also raises the questions of how significant Trump’s strike can be without ruffling Russia’s feathers, and how committed Russia is to protecting the Syrian government from Western attacks.
Trump is planning a big strike, but not World War III
Trump is reportedly exploring a much larger strike against Syria, as the strike in April 2017 didn’t meaningfully hamper Syria’s air operations. The airbase the US hit began launching aircraft again within 24 hours of the strike.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “all options are on the table” and that the US may strike Russian assets in Syria.
However, experts told Business Insider such a confrontation was unlikely.
“The Americans take pains to avoid striking targets that are Russian regulars,” said Ryan Bohl, a Middle East analyst at geopolitical consulting firm Stratfor. He distinguished between “regulars” — official, enlisted soldiers — and military contractors, which the US has engaged in the past.
Additionally, Bohl said that Syria’s chemical weapons facilities can be hit without upsetting Russian forces, as “those bases are close to Russian bases but not within Russian weapons range.”
The idea of a coordinated, punitive strike on Syria runs counter to the narrative put forth by a Russian diplomat, who on Wednesday said Russia would shoot down US missiles headed for Syria, and potentially strike back.
Cliff Kupchan, the Eurasia Group’s chairman and a former US State Department official, told Business Insider: “I think that in the Syrian theater, Russia is unlikely to interfere with the coming US operation or take military steps to prevent it or in retribution, despite their comments.”
“Russia’s not spoiling in any sense for a military conflict. Putin is ruthlessly rational in weighting cost-benefits.”
As for Trump’s aggressive rhetoric Kupchan said: “he’s got to show …read more
Source:: Business Insider