Russian Jets Violate Turkish Airspace Again, U.S. Warns They Could Be Shot Down

Russian jets entered Turkish airspace for a second time, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, leading him to conclude the incursions are intentional. “It doesn’t look like an accident and we also have seen two of them, two violations of Turkish airspace,” Stoltenberg said in remarks in Brussels yesterday. “Intelligence that we have received ...

GettyImages-491509108
GettyImages-491509108

Russian jets entered Turkish airspace for a second time, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, leading him to conclude the incursions are intentional. “It doesn't look like an accident and we also have seen two of them, two violations of Turkish airspace," Stoltenberg said in remarks in Brussels yesterday. "Intelligence that we have received provides me with reason to say it doesn't look like an accident." Both of the incidents took place over the weekend. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama Administration is “greatly concerned” about the violations of Turkish airspace, noting that “it is precisely the kind of thing that had Turkey responded under its rights could have resulted in a shoot-down.” U.S. officials now believe that Russia is making a concerted effort to target U.S.-supported Syrian rebels trained by the CIA instead of Islamic State targets. “On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake,” a senior U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal. “But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional. They know what they’re hitting.”

Russia has reportedly included several strikes against the Islamic State in their air campaign. Syrian state media claims that Russian jets targeted Islamic State militants in Palmyra yesterday. In Iraq, the leadership of the Badr Brigade, a powerful Shia militia with ties to Iran, said they would “greatly welcome” Russian airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.

Algerian Jihadi Leader Killed

Russian jets entered Turkish airspace for a second time, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, leading him to conclude the incursions are intentional. “It doesn’t look like an accident and we also have seen two of them, two violations of Turkish airspace,” Stoltenberg said in remarks in Brussels yesterday. “Intelligence that we have received provides me with reason to say it doesn’t look like an accident.” Both of the incidents took place over the weekend. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama Administration is “greatly concerned” about the violations of Turkish airspace, noting that “it is precisely the kind of thing that had Turkey responded under its rights could have resulted in a shoot-down.” U.S. officials now believe that Russia is making a concerted effort to target U.S.-supported Syrian rebels trained by the CIA instead of Islamic State targets. “On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake,” a senior U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal. “But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional. They know what they’re hitting.”

Russia has reportedly included several strikes against the Islamic State in their air campaign. Syrian state media claims that Russian jets targeted Islamic State militants in Palmyra yesterday. In Iraq, the leadership of the Badr Brigade, a powerful Shia militia with ties to Iran, said they would “greatly welcome” Russian airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.

Algerian Jihadi Leader Killed

Al-Qaeda has confirmed that North African jihadi Mokhtar Belmokhtar is dead in a new audio recording from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Belmokhtar, the one-eyed former military commander of AQIM and leader of his own splinter group responsible for the 2013 attack on a gas facility in In Amenas, Algeria, was previously reported dead after a U.S. airstrike in Libya earlier this year, but al-Qaeda denied those reports.

New from FP: A NEW Editor’s Roundtable (The E.R.) podcast is up and ready for a listen. David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake, and Bob Kagan look ahead and discuss what’s in store for the Iran deal, for the remainder of Obama’s presidency, and the new president to come. Listen to their lively debate — more to come next week. Subscribe and download on iTunes or Stitcher: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI

Headlines

  • Islamic State militants executed 70 members of the Al Bu Nimr tribe on Sunday in the village of Khanizir, in Anbar province, because they had relatives serving in the Iraqi military.

 

  • A rocket attack targeting the Al Qasr Hotel in Aden, where many members of Yemen’s government live, killed 15 people, according to reports from the United Arab Emirates.

 

  • Fighters backed by the Gulf-led intervention force in Yemen seized Perim Island in the Red Sea from Houthi rebels.

 

  • Car bombs in several Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, Al Zubair, and Khalis, killed 57 people on Monday.

 

  • More than 1,800 migrants and refugees were rescued from boats off the coast of Libya in six separate operations on Monday.

Arguments and Analysis

Rushin’ to Syria: Riyadh Pledges to Counter Moscow’s Sudden Escalation” (Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington)

“Saudi Arabia and its allies are hedging on their practical response to the Russian escalation. But a more robust Gulf engagement in Syria in the coming months was extremely likely anyway, given the new policy direction being crafted, especially in Saudi Arabia. Moscow’s direct military intervention in the Syrian conflict on behalf of the Assad dictatorship, which is Iran’s most important client in the Arab world, will undoubtedly prompt a reevaluation among Gulf countries. But it is likely to only increase their determination to do as much as possible within the scope of prudence and their capabilities to thwart the Russian goal of maintaining the dictatorship, and instead focus on securing regime change either through a political agreement or a rebel victory. Gulf countries have few means of directly pressuring Russia. But they will undoubtedly join with Western and other countries in pushing for a strong diplomatic response against the Russian escalation. Moreover, they will probably continue to press, along with others, for the creation of no-fly zones, safe havens for refugees and similar measures.”

 

Iraq: The Fragile Economy of a Fragile State” (Nussaibah Younis and Sali Mahdy, MENASource)

“Iraq’s 2015 so-called austerity budget, which slashed spending by 16 percent and introduced sales taxes on vehicles, airline tickets, cell-phone credit, alcohol, and cigarettes, has failed to keep to the $22 billion deficit specified by the budget. One analyst forecasts that Iraq’s budget deficit for 2015 could reach an astonishing $35 billion — around 20 percent of Iraq’s GDP. The 2015 budget assumed an oil price of $56 a barrel, an assumption that was out of date almost immediately. By the time the budget came into operation in January 2015, the Iraqi government exported oil at an average price of $41 per barrel. The 2015 budget also forecast that Iraq would export 3.3 million barrels of oil a day, including 550,000 barrels a day from territory administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But the much-celebrated agreement between the Abadi government and the KRG reached in December 2014 quickly unraveled, leaving a substantial hole in Iraqi government oil exports.”

-J. Dana Stuster

THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images

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