F-22 Downed (?) and US-Russian reset

There are conflicting reports about an US Air Force F-22 Raptor crashing in Jordan in the area bordering Syria. Whether or not such an aircraft was downed presumably by a Syrian S-300/S-400 anti-aircraft missile unit that Russia also touts as an anti-missile missile, the possible role of Russian military personnel active on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s regime will be a matter of conjecture, especially now that an American air strike is imminent.

Assuming the story of the downed F-22 is true, those who know about the complexity in effectively using the Russian S-300/S-400 systems believe that any such success would have to be attributed to the active Russian hand. The presence of Russian military personnel in Syria is not a secret and with two missile destroyers being deployed in the Mediterranean by Moscow, the game of nerves between the Cold War antagonists may now be on. Obama may well launch a concerted and massive aerial strike against Damascus and key Syrian military concentrations and communications hubs, but an air war by itself w/o a follow-on land force insertion will amount to an indecisive operation. Washington is hamstrung in inserting even Special Forces, however, because the US Senate while permitting aerial strikes has barred boots on the ground, and restricted the overall operation to just 90 days.

Moreover, with US-Russian relations becoming testy — reflected in Obama’s signaling the unlikelihood of his meeting Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, the US will have to factor in just what Russia’s reaction would be to waves of decapitating and punitive attacks on a Damascus dispensation Moscow has always had a soft corner for. Interesting to see how this scenario unfolds.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, Missiles, Russia, russian assistance, russian military, United States, US., Weapons, West Asia, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to F-22 Downed (?) and US-Russian reset

  1. BayAreaBiker says:

    Reminds me of 1971 Bangladesh liberation war where USSR Navy kind of held off USN 5th Fleet until the IA took off Dhaka.

  2. RV says:

    Very fine article. The wild card here is China, which has all but formally allied itself with Russia, Iran, and Assad.

  3. RV says:

    The absence of any official US denial concerning the alleged downing of the F-22 lends considerable credence to what is still may be classified as an internet rumor. It is conjectured that apart from Syria, a direct response to any US assault attack on Assad and the SAA will be felt by the US aligned Baltic states, which have a sizable and restive Russian population. The virtual “shutting down” of Estonia via cyber attacks allegedly initiated by Russia is referred to. Since then, these capabilities have significantly magnified both in terms of scope and lethality. Likewise select US allies in Asia could well find themselves gravely inconvenienced in various ways. I’m yet to fathom the “wisdom” underlying the unyielding quest of the “Three Graces” to bring the AQ to Israel’s very doorstep!

    BTW, @BayAreaBiker, I believe you mean the USN 7th fleet and not the 5th fleet.

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