Deir al-Zor: Was it really an accident?
"The US has expressed regret for the strikes, while Australia, which says its planes were among a number of international aircraft involved in the operation, expressed condolences to the victims' families.
Russia said Sunday that the blunder could place the delicate Syrian truce, in place for less than a week, under threat.
"We consider what happened as a natural result of the persistent refusal of the United States from the establishment of close cooperation with Russia in the fight against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other affiliated terrorist groups," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement." CNN
So, we and the Australians admit that we "done it." The body count this morning is up to 83 and presumably will go higher. Could it have been a real targeting error? Yes. People here on SST who have participated in air targeting know how easy it is to make a mistake. But, there are some unusual things about this "error." The SAA has been occupying these positions for six months or so. Presumably US imagery and SIGINT analysts have been looking at them all that time and producing map overlays that show who is where in detail. These documents would be widely available especially to air units and their targeteers. US coalition led air has rarely struck in the Deir al-Zor area. Why now? Were they asked to strike? The US does not talk to the Syrian government. How would they have been asked? Who would have designated the targets? They struck in the presence of SAA troops without any ground liaison? And what of the timing two days before the US-Russian deal was to be expanded into active cooperation?
And then there is the performance of Ambassador Samantha Power at the UN last night and today. Last night she threw a hissy fit for the cameras outside the chamber in which the Security Council was meeting. She seemed outraged to have had her Saturday Night interrupted for something as trivial as the Deir al-Zor attacks. One can envisage her snuggled up with a good book in her apartment in the Waldorf Towers only to be be ripped away for this meeting. And then, today she made a longer statement on Tee Vee in which she first expressed the regret of the US government for the devastation we had wrought, and then set forth her bill of particulars against the Syrian government, a statement so fulsome in its loaded up R2P/Borgist assertions (routine Chemical attacks on THE PEOPLE, etc.) that it is obvious that for her the SAA are as much the enemy as IS. I conclude that she must think that bombing the evil SAA was a good thing. She does not exist in a vacuum. SECDEF Carter is a thoroughgoing Russophobe. General Votel, the US commander in Iraq and eastern Syria has expressed doubt about the wisdom of cooperating with the Russians.
IMO it is an open question as to whether these air strikes on the SAA were accidental. pl