- - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In air defense terms, it’s called anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD in Pentagon speak.

Since landing multiple aircraft and loads of troops in Syria, Russia is building an air-defense wall around the region that can keep all opposing aircraft out of Syria and the territory around it, including Israeli airspace, historically an American ally. This would include radar systems, missile transporter and launchers, and command and control facilities. The capability being installed seems to be far beyond what would be needed to attack the Islamic State of Iraq an Syria (ISIS), which has no real air force to speak of. The only possible need for this type of defense network would be to keep out American or allied air assets.

“From where NATO’s top commander Gen. Philip Breedlove sits, the Russian forces flowing into Syria don’t look like counter-terrorists out to stop the Islamic State, which Vladimir Putin has said is his highest priority. They look like the first pieces of a layered ‘anti-access/area denial’ system that could complicate US and allied operations in Syria and well beyond,” reports the Jerusalem Post from NATO’s Gen. Breedlove, who warned on Monday, according to a report that appeared in the Breaking Defense website.

“We’re a little worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said. “We see some very sophisticated air defenses going into these airfields. We see some very sophisticated air-to-air [fighter] aircraft going into these airfields.”

Two other such Russian “bubbles” already exist: In Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania, where Russian missiles can reach “well into Polish airspace and could shut down NATO reinforcements”; and in the Black Sea, where Russia’s occupation of Crimea has resulted in the creation of a “very strong A2/AD capability.”

Israel has already been forced to actively coordinate with the Russian presence. It was reported recently that Russia told American forces to keep their aircraft out of Syria as Russia intended to bomb Syrian targets. The Obama administration seems to have relinquished the Middle East to the Russian military. Mr. Putin is only too happy to oblige.

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