"CIA officers are there, and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people." "I would be shocked and disappointed if we were not doing these things".
Reader comment on item: Thoughts on the Syrian Downing of a Turkish Warplane
Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jun 24, 2012 at 16:25
Oz D wrote :
"I would guess the Syrian gunners would have more than likely been under Russian control with of course Russian weapons as they do seem to be getting desperate in protecting their only remaining ally in the ME.. Lets not dismiss the importance of their naval base which needs to be protected ( and this reconnaissance plane was flying in the Mediterranean) therefore this smells of a CIA operation testing the Russians rather than an independent Turkish move even though the Turks would have their own interests in Syria."
If the Turks , who are acting here as America's chain dogs testing Syria's anti-aircraft defense capabilities, had been on this particular occasion spying on the Russian naval base, they would have had to fly southwards to Tarsus while they were brought down near Latakia in the north.
That the CIA is implicated in all of this is as certain as that it was massively involved in Libya last year.
This is what Rick Francona , retired Lieutenant Colonel of US Air Force Intelligence with wide experience in the Near East who worked for the National Security Agency , the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA and who between 1992 and 1995 was the first air attache to the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, writes on the latest developments around Syria :
"According to the reports, a small group of CIA officers are operating "secretly" in southern Turkey. I added the quotes around secretly since that descriptor is now overcome by events. The officers are there to make sure the weapons being provided by countries that are providing lethal aid - not the United States - are not falling into the wrong hands inside the Syrian opposition. ...
While that sounds like a good idea, it's is unrealistic. Once we provide the weapons to the opposition and they are moved into Syria, there is no effective control over them, unless we are willing to send our officers into Syria with them. That does not appear to be the case, at least not yet. I would not be surprised that if we have not already inserted CIA or special operations troops into Syria, we will do so in the near future.
The misguided notion that we can control who gets the weapons perpetuates the fantasy that the United States is not providing "lethal" assistance to the Syrian opposition forces. We are directly providing medical supplies, communications gear, advice and of course, money. Money is a fungible commodity - it is moved easily and once dispersed is virtually impossible to track. So who knows what they are buying with the money?
Of course, the government claims that they have assurances the opposition is not buying weapons with our money. So, the opposition buys nonlethal things with our money and uses the Saudi money that they would have had to spend on those nonlethal things - freed up by our contribution - to buy weapons. It's a kabuki dance that we have done for years all over the world.
According to the Arab intelligence officer, "CIA officers are there, and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people." Yes - that's what intelligence services do; this is why we have intelligence agencies. This should come as no surprise to anyone - I would be shocked and disappointed if we were not doing these things.
And to make the situation in Syria even more tense....Syrian air defense forces shot down a Turkish air force F-4 operating from Erhac air base in southern Turkey. Erhac is home to both F-4 fighter-bombers and the unarmed RF-4 reconnaissance version. I suspect this was a reconnaissance flight from the 173rd Squadron flying along the Syrian border collecting intelligence on the situation inside Syria. This intelligence collection may be in support of the potential future imposition of a no-fly zone of parts of northern Syria.
The Turkish RF-4 has excellent standoff sensors, so there would be no reason to violate Syrian airspace. The aircraft are equipped with the Israeli-made Elbit Condor-2 electro-optical and infrared long range oblique photography system and the Israeli-made Elta EL/M-2060P synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator systems. These state-of-the-art systems are exactly the types of sensors an intelligence collection manager would want to use to monitor events in Syria.
The aircraft was supposedly shot down near Ra's al-Basit, which is about five miles south of the Turkish border on the Mediterranean coast. ... Since Syrian surface-to-air missile brigades do not fire without higher authorization, the Syrians knew what they were doing."
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (80) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes