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Monday, March 07, 2011

If there were Syrian pilots shot down over Libya

Michael Rubin lays out some of the consequences (or what should - but likely won't be the consequences) in the event that it turns out that Syrian pilots have been shot down over Libya.

But first, let's go to the videotape.

According to one of the comments on YouTube:
Full info: The plane that was shot down was a Su-24MK "Fencer-D" a downgraded version of the soviet version but still a capable ground attack aircraft made in the early 90s.

The gunner is on his first day on the job and one of the barrels of the gun (A ZPU-4 Designed in 1949!) was not working.

Make no doubt about it, either this guy is an AA god or he just got a really lucky shot.
And here's a translation of the video from French to English:
... We're about 600 kns from Tripoli. This zone is strategic and this is the important refinery in Libya. As we enter Ras Lanuf dam, people start pointing something out to us, it's one of #G's fighter jets flying overhead.

'Don't stay there, move out' ' Into the cards, quick!'

The rebels fire, the plane passes once more above the refinery.

Suddenly, there's a thick smoke that looks like a bomb. The men wait, scrutinize the horizon and then joy explodes. "The plane crashed over there, we hit the plane."

A man wants to show us the hero of the day, all the rebels surround him to celebrate his feat.

"There's only one working cannon (defective equipment) and I still managed to shoot it down anyway. I'm not trained, I'm not a soldier and I still hit it when it came back'

"Approximately 4kms from here there are 2 pilots, come see them quickly".

We follow the with our car in the desert.

At the scene, pieces of metal still smoking... the remains of the fighter jet that had been flying overhead... the bodies of the 2 pilots. According to their papers, 1 Libyan and 1 Syrian. The jet's wing is an unimaginable war prize for the rebels.

"Gaddafi, don't move, we're on our way".
And here's Michael Rubin:
Overnight, these reports have taken a new twist: Al Jazeera is reporting that free Libyan forces have downed two Syrian planes in Ras Lanuf, about 400 kilometers west of Benghazi. Unconfirmed reports had earlier suggested that the free Libyans had downed two Sukhoi SU-22s, which is what the Libyans train on in Syria.

If these reports are true, it is time for President Obama to bring home Robert Ford, his recess appointment as ambassador to Syria. Successful engagement requires sincerity of both partners. Obama may be sincere, but it is clear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not. We do not need to cut off dialogue — we still have an embassy in Damascus and can pursue the daily requirements of diplomacy, whatever they may be, at a more junior level.

Many senators remain upset that Obama refused to address their concerns on Syria and dispatched Ford as a recess appointment. They gave Obama’s outreach to Syria three months. Rather than improve Assad’s behavior, however, engagement has only worsened it. This is true even if the rumors of Syrian participation are exaggerated.

If Obama refuses to bring Ford home, perhaps it is time for Congress to reassert itself and play hardball with the State Department’s budget.
With Republicans in control of the House, there's even a chance that could happen.

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