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Monday, September 19

US Bombing of Syrian troops could have been an accident after all UPDATED 9:10 AM EDT

UPDATE
Good grief; Britain was also involved in the airstrikes on the Syrian troops!! So that makes four countries! (See below)

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STOP THE PRESSES!  

I had a kind of Eureka! moment in the wee hours as I pondered Col. Pat Lang's helpful post at Sic Semper Tyrannis about the bombing incident, in which he examined the pros and cons of whether the incident was deliberate. His judgment at this point: "IMO it is an open question as to whether these air strikes on the SAA were accidental."  
  
What follows is a comment I just finished entering at SST.

As I examined the bits and pieces of data that had been piling up I was leaning toward the US airstrikes being deliberate. But I kept asking myself why the US would do this, given that Obama was obviously invested in joint Russian-US strikes to knock IS out of Syria -- or, at the least, he didn't want the US to be seen as the one ruining the deal.

Then I thought, 'Turn it around. What if the strike had actually taken out IS instead of SAA? What if all the materiel destroyed in the bombing had actually belonged to IS? What would've been the consequence?' There would have been more than one:

1. A big feather in the US/US coalition caps.


2. A big and immediate gift to the Syrian Army, and as such a signal to the Syrian government that the USA was on the level about helping the army fight IS.

3. A clear signal to the Russians that the US was committed to the fight against IS, not just making 'show' strikes.

4. Another notch in CENTCOM's gun, as it tries to rack up as many strikes as possible against IS, as fast as possible.

From that vantage point a mistake, or series of them, could be more likely than a deliberate bombing of SAA. But this still leaves a number of damning details, such as the one Col Lang pointed out about the seeming absence of a spotter(s). (If there was no spotter that wasn't smart. If there was a spotter, that would virtually clinch it that US bombers knew they were hitting SAA.)

However, there might be a way to square all those damning details with a mistake. And that is if the US was rushing pellmell to take out Islamic State before the Syrian Army did it -- to claim those IS scalps, so to speak, for reasons I cited above. Reportedly 1000 elite troops had arrived in Deir Ezzor just prior to the U.S. led airstrike:

https://southfront.org/syrian-army-seizes-most-of-turdah-mountain-from-isis-despite-us-air-strikes-against-government-forces/

So if the US wanted to claim the victory, it could be they thought they only had hours to do it, which could have meant cutting corners, such as dispensing with getting a spotter(s) in place.

And this rush to a fast victory could also explain how Australian and Danish bombers were pulled into the operation. You read that right. It turns out the Danes were also involved in that airstrike. Sputnik reported on that news today.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160919/1045455758/denmark-deir-syrian-army.html

No word yet from Sputnik on whether the Kiribati airforce was also involved.

So. A story that started out with just the Americans is becoming quite a tangled tale, of the kind so familiar to those who watched the ISAF in action.

What you have here is suddenly a number of chefs. And of course with each addition of a chef the chance for mistakes can greatly increase, in particular when everyone is racing at breakneck speed.

None of the above means that the airstrike wasn't a targeting of Syrian troops. But for me it does throw open the question.

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Okay, that was the comment. One point I didn't think to include was that the Sputnik report, the way it's worded, seems to suggest that it wasn't only three governments --  American, Australian, Danish -- involved in the bombing. That's a point I'd like to nail down. 

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