warning: The author of this article is not
responsible for any fights, recriminations or fallings out resulting from a
discussion of it on this or any other website or alternate medium on which it
may appear. Thank you.
It was a
hot morning in August of 1999, the sun blazing down on the salt marshes of
Gujarat in Western India, on the southern edge of the border with Pakistan.
This area is a mix of creeks, salt marshes and mud flats, and there had been
border clashes in the past, so the armed forces on both sides were in a state
of permanent alert.
Besides, there was another reason for
tension. Only a month ago, Indian and Pakistani forces had been fighting an
undeclared but highly publicised high-altitude “war” in the mountains of
Kashmir, with heavy artillery barrages, air strikes and assaults up vertiginous
mountain slopes. This so-called “Kargil war” had ended with a Pakistani
withdrawal from most of the territory it had seized, and the Indian government
and media had promoted it as a “famous victory”. The purpose of this article is
not to enter into a detailed discussion of the so-called “victory” – I’ll leave
that for another occasion. But the facts are that tensions were still very high
and the forces were on a hair-trigger.
It was in this atmosphere, then, that just
before 11am Indian time, on the 10th of August 1999, Indian Air
Force radar picked up an aircraft approaching the border from the Pakistani
side. This was a red flag since an agreement between the nations, signed in
1991, prohibited fixed-wing aircraft from approaching within ten kilometres of
the international border. According to the official Indian Air Force account
of what happened next,
It first touched the international border (at point 68 degree 48
min E, 24 degrees 18 min North) at 10:54 hrs. For the next 17-18 minutes it
carried out a series of manoueveres (sic) over this area.
I don’t necessarily accept the official
Indian version of anything, anywhere, or at any time, so for the rest of this
article it has to be remembered that when I quote Indian accounts on this
incident, I don’t automatically believe
or endorse them. But, in the brief, this is what took place:
The aircraft the Indian radars had been
tracking was a Breguet Atlantique of the Pakistani Navy. The Atlantique is a
maritime reconnaissance aircraft which can also be armed with anti-ship
missiles, and the type had been known to shadow Indian Navy ships
in the Arabian Sea and “buzz” them in the tradition of Cold War encounters between
NATO and Soviet planes and ships in the Atlantic Ocean.
|A Pakistan Navy Atlantique|
Atlantique belonged to No 29 Squadron of the Pakistan Navy, according to
statements released later from Islamabad. It was flown by
Lieutenant Commander Mehboob Alam and had 5 officers and 11 sailors aboard (the
others were Lieutenants Farasat Ali Shah, Rizwan Masood,
Azhar Hussain, Zarar Ahmad, and sailors Mohammad Tariq, Nawazish, M Hussain, M
Sarwar, Aftab Ahmad, M Riaz, Wahid Iqbal, M Hafeez, M Yasin, S Mehmood and
Masood). What it was alleged to be doing on the Indian border will be
discussed later in this article.
The Atlantique had been noticed, according
to the Indian Air Force, at 10.51am Indian time. According to the same IAF
official history, the Atlantique “crossed” (as opposed to “touched”, I presume)
the Indian border at 10.57am. Two Indian Air Force interceptors from No 45
Squadron had been alerted when the Atlantique had first been noticed, and were
ordered to scramble at 10.57 when the aeroplane crossed the border. Two minutes
later they were in the air.
These two interceptors were MiG 21bis fighters flown by Squadron Leader
(the rank is equivalent to Major) PK Bundela and Flying Officer (First Lieutenant) S
Narayanan. Their ground controller (the MiG 21 is a short range high-speed
interceptor dependent on guidance from ground control) vectored them in on an
interception course on the Pakistani aeroplane as it “entered Indian airspace
for the third time”.
|A MiG 21bis from No 45 Squadron|
Again, I quote from the official IAF
The fighter controller of the
ground radar vectored the fighters in a Northerly direction, to bring them in
the general area at approximately 11:10 hrs…(b)y 11:12 hrs, the bogey (unidentified Pakistani track)
proceeded initially west, subsequently turning and heading south till the IB (International
Border) (at point 68º 32 min East, 23º 58
min North), then turning onto a westerly heading initially. At this time, the
IAF interceptors were also directed southwards by the radar controller and
generally kept abreast of the bogey, keeping on the Indian side of the IB.
The bogey turned south once again
and entered Indian airspace for the third time at approximately 11:14 hrs and
penetrated 10 km into Indian territory before turning on an easterly heading.
At this stage, the fighter controller maneuvered (sic) the IAF MiG-21s so as to place the lead
aircraft flown by Sqn. Ldr. P.K. Bundela between the border and the
intruder (to stop the intruder from escaping) and the wingman Fg. Off. S.
Narayanan was accelerated and brought behind the unknown intruder from the
other side in a pincer movement.
The idea was to box in the Atlantique from both
sides so as to prevent it from escaping into Pakistani airspace, and leaving it
with only two options – to surrender and land at an Indian airbase, or to be
shot down. Both MiG 21s were now in visual as well as radar contact with the
quarry and had identified it as an Atlantique of the Pakistani Navy. Bundela,
who was on the port side of the Atlantique (which would have, according to the
Indian version of events, placed him between the Pakistani plane and the
border) apparently closed to 300 metres of the “bogey” in an effort to signal
it to surrender. But – again according to the Indian version –
As Sqn. Ldr. Bundela was jockeying into position, the Atlantique
turned into him in an aggressive evasive attempt. This was a hostile act. As
per international norms he ought to have maintained his course and height and
in fact lowered his under-carriage as a sign of submission as per the Rules of Engagement.
Having received clearance from Indian
ground control to shoot down the Atlantique, Bundela then fired an R-60
infra-red heat-seeking missile at the Pakistani aeroplane. In the following
picture, captured by the MiG 21’s Head Up Display, the missile can be seen on
the left streaking towards the Pakistani Navy plane. A moment later, it struck
the port engine and set it on fire.
One of the interesting things about this
photo is the fact that the MiG 21 is clearly below and behind the
Pakistani plane. I’m not a fighter pilot, but surely this seems to indicate
that – if the official account is to be credited – the Atlantique had already
overflown the Indian fighter and had been going hell-for-leather for Pakistani
territory at the time the missile was launched, if that is it had not already
crossed the border. If that was so, and the plane was trying to escape, how is
it that its actions were deemed “hostile”? Later, the Indian government was to
make a lot of noise about the quite undoubted fact that an Atlantique can carry
anti-ship missiles. But MiG 21s are not ships, the action occurred over land,
and the Atlantique had clearly not made any attempt to launch weapons of any
|The IAF's map of the episode|
Then, the two MiG 21s were both of the bis variant, which has an internal
GSh-23 cannon (unlike earlier versions which either had no guns
or could carry only detachable cannon pods). It seems extremely unlikely that
interceptors which were on such a high state of combat readiness (they took off
only eight minutes after being first alerted, and two minutes after being
ordered to scramble) would have the cannon magazines empty. It is then
difficult to understand why Bundela, who closed to within 300 metres of the
Pakistani aeroplane, did not fire off a couple of bursts in an effort to warn
it or inflict potentially non-lethal damage. Could it be that a policy decision
had been made to destroy a Pakistani plane at the first opportunity (during the
aforementioned Kargil “war”, the IAF had lost at least three aircraft, including
two fighters and a gunship, while the Pakistanis had lost none) in order to
take revenge, and there was only a narrow window of opportunity before the
“bogey” got away?
(Unfortunately, we can’t ask Bundela these
questions – a few years later, he was badly injured while ejecting from a
crashing MiG 21 and died in hospital.)
Let’s get back to the official IAF account:
The interceptors were immediately ordered to break away to the
right to ensure that they stayed within Indian territory. The Atlantique after
being shot (sic – no shots were
actually fired) continued to be seen on
IAF ground radars. It entered a loose descending spiral turn to the left,
burning fiercely with wreckage falling off; in the process, it described an arc
5 km within Pakistani territory before facing an approximately south-easternly (sic) direction again close to the IB before it
disappeared from the IAF ground radar screen.
The scene inside the plane must have been
horrific in those final moments, with the fuselage disintegrating and flames
consuming the interior. The missile’s impacting the engine meant that it’s
likely none of the crew met a mercifully quick end from blast or concussion, so
they must have known their impending doom long enough to be terrified as well
as possibly in agony from the flames and being battered around in the crashing
wreck. Even if one imagines the Pakistanis were enemies, it’s impossible to
feel any joy in that image, and I find the two Indian pilots’ obvious glee at
their later media conference frankly obscene. (They were decorated, as was the
ground controller, and lionised in the media, as if it was some kind of Manfred
von Richtofen-style feat to shoot down a lumbering turbo-prop aeroplane with a Mach
2 jet firing a heat-seeking missile.)
|Bundela (left) with Narayanan|
There followed a most curious string of
events, so bizarre as to merit possibly more attention than the shooting down
itself. Despite the IAF account that the Pakistani Navy plane had crashed
within Pakistani territory (see above), the Indian government immediately
declared that the plane had been shot down over India and the proof was that
the wreckage was within India.
I remember clearly the “evidence” which
followed: the TV news channels showed a video released by the IAF depicting the
wreckage “being retrieved from Indian territory”. It was evidently taken from inside
a landed Indian Mi-8 or Mi-17 and showed Indian Air Force personnel racing
frantically about, picking up pieces of metal and scurrying back as quickly as
they could to put them into the helicopter. Why all this running was required,
if the wreckage had actually fallen inside Indian territory (two kilometres
inside was the claim), was never explained. The Pakistanis later accused the
Indians of stealing the wreckage from inside their country, and they’re so
obviously telling the truth on that point that there seem no reasonable grounds
for disbelieving them. The Indian side claimed that the Atlantique’s wreckage
had fallen in a scattered zone on both sides of the border, but that still begs
the question of the sprinting Air Force men.
Then there’s the question of the Pakistani
bodies. The corpses of all the
sixteen occupants of the Atlantique were recovered by the Pakistanis on their
side of the border and they were given a state funeral attended
by, among others, the Pakistani Prime Minister and Naval chief. Assuming the
wreckage was “scattered” across the border, it’s difficult to imagine how all the bodies ended up on the Pakistani
side. The Pakistanis claimed that the wreckage was “two miles” (3.2 kilometres)
inside their territory, and that the “unarmed” plane was on a training flight.
More on that anon.
Meanwhile, in India, the recovered
wreckage, from wherever it had come, was then flown to Delhi where the Prime
Minister at the time, Atal Behari Vajpayee of the Hindunazi alliance then in
power, formally “inspected” it for the cameras.
This wasn’t enough, though, to
“convince” everyone that India had been right to have shot the plane down, so the
next day Indian helicopters flew journalists to the area of the shooting down
to “prove” that it had crashed in Indian territory. How they intended to prove
this in a land of salt marshes and mud flats, where there are neither border
markers nor obvious landmarks, isn’t clear, but in any case they never got
there. By this time, the Pakistani army had reached the crash site and fired on
the helicopters with a surface to air missile which, fortunately or
unfortunately depending on your point of view, missed. And then the Pakistanis
took their own contingent of journalists to prove, quite conclusively, that at
least the bulk of the wreckage had fallen inside Pakistan. Here's a Pakistani photo showing the wreckage:
That was, of course, not the end of the
The Pakistan government chose to approach
the International Court of Justice, demanding $16 million in reparations for
the shooting down of the plane, but the application was turned down by a
fourteen-to-two majority of the 16-judge bench. The ICJ said it had no
jurisdiction on the case, backing the Indian contention. As far
as the ICJ went, then, the Indian action was outside the scope of legal
punishment and hence legitimate by default.
What was the Pakistani plane doing anyway?
According to the Pakistani government[3,5],
it was on a training flight, while India dismissed that contention. The Indian
side pointed out that the Atlantique was, first, a maritime patrol aircraft and
that training should logically occur over water, where it might fulfil its
designed role of locating and tracking ships and submarines; and that, even by
Pakistani accounts, the wreckage lay well within the ten kilometre border
exclusion zone, where it had no business being in the first place. Even
according to diplomats who blamed India for “overreacting”, the Pakistanis
could not explain why the Atlantique was flying so close to the border.
Certainly, if one is to attempt to accept
the Pakistani version of the plane’s mission, its commander and crew were
either hopelessly lost (in which case they should have contacted ground control
to report and ask for help) or were so incredibly incompetent that they knowingly
flew into an exclusion zone along a “hot” border just a month after the end of
a fairly large-scale shooting war. And then, when challenged by Indian
aircraft, they made no attempt to land and explain themselves, but rather made
a suicidal dash which ended in their being shot down. None of these
suppositions is complimentary of the Pakistani Navy’s training, preparedness,
or thinking in a crisis.
The Indian contention was that the
Atlantique was on an “operational mission”, possibly to test Indian radar
defences. However, that could have been as easily achieved at
night or using a faster and more capable aircraft, as the Pakistanis themselves
pointed out. While of course it’s impossible to tell for certain,
my own belief is that the plane was on a mission to scout out infiltration
routes along which Kashmiri and other “freedom fighters” and arms and ammunition
could be sneaked over the border.
By 1999, the Kashmir insurrection had been
going on for ten years and the Punjabi Sikh rebellion (which had not yet been completely stamped out) almost twice as long as
that. Both these rebellions had received very substantial Pakistani backing,
with fighters being trained and armed in Pakistan and sent back across the
border. But by 1999, the Punjab sector border was virtually sealed shut and the
Kashmir sector headed the same way. Especially, after the clashes in Kargil, it
was obvious that the Indian side would tighten border security in Kashmir far
more than before. A new route had to be found for infiltrating men and
material, and the desolate mud flats of Gujarat, full of creeks and tidal
wetlands, probably seemed a good possibility. Of course, it would require
careful reconnaissance, from as close to the border as possible, and in
daylight for maximum visibility. The Pakistani crew might have simply crossed
over the boundary due to enthusiasm or incompetence, panicked when challenged, and
paid the penalty.
Why am I bringing up this fairly ancient
Well, anyone who’s kept up remotely with
current affairs knows that there’s a civil war on in Syria and that the Empire,
and more especially its colonial proxies Britain and what Frontline magazine calls the “Gulf petrol stations”, are backing
their Al Qaeda affiliated allies against the legitimate government of Bashar
al-Assad. These Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist gangs are primarily
hosted in NATO member Turkey, which has joined in demanding that the Assad
government (“regime” in the Empire’s parlance, which always means “a government
we don’t like”) be replaced.
Unfortunately for the Imperial plans, the
Al Qaeda gangs on the ground have not succeeded in defeating the Syrian
government, and instead are definitely on the defensive. Besides, Russia and
China have steadfastly blocked the Empire’s British and other NATO proxies from
finding a way of sneaking a Libya-style resolution through the UN Security
Council, which would pave the way for a similar Libya-style destruction of
Syria and its falling apart into factional and gang warfare. But
Turkey, as I said, is a NATO member, and NATO members are, at least
theoretically, supposed to come to each other’s aid if the territory of any of
them is attacked by a third party.
Now, Turkey may be a member of an alliance
which is – theoretically – supposed to be concerned with mutual self-defence,
but its own record of respecting other nations’ borders is virtually
nonexistent. Quite apart from hosting and arming the Al Qaeda affiliated gangs,
thereby directly supporting a terrorist organisation, it has routinely invaded
Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq, and has in the past taken genocidal measures
against its own Kurdish population. What I’m saying is that Turkey isn’t
exactly a paragon of virtue by any means.
Two years ago, that seemed about to change,
when Turkey sent a flotilla of ships designed to break the racist Zionazi
blockade of Gaza. That Freedom Flotilla was assaulted by Zionazi stormtroopers,
and nine Turkish citizens were murdered. There were howls of
protest in the Imperial capital of Washington – not against the blockade, or
against the Zionazi assault on a relief mission, but against Turkey, which some
of the Imperial politicians began referring to as “our former ally Turkey”.
That must have spooked the government in
Ankara, for the Turkish government began trying, quietly, to curry favour with
the Empire. The obvious opportunity came with the Syrian rebellion, because
there Turkey could obviously serve as the Empire’s proxy without seeming to
obviously backpedal on the Gaza issue. Once the population was distracted, it
could simply let the plight of the Palestinians slip from official memory.
But the plan wasn’t going exactly according
to script. The Al Qaeda affiliated gangs, fragmented and feuding among
themselves, weren’t triumphing over the government forces and rolling into
Damascus. The Russians and Chinese were blocking the UN route to Libya-style aggression and forcible regime change. The longer the war went on,
the greater the chances of a backlash developing in Turkey itself against the
gangs and their hosts, the Ankara regime. Something had to be done.
It is in that light that one must see the
curious episode where a Turkish F4 Phantom jet was shot down by
Syrian forces off the port of Latakia on 22nd June. According to the
latest version of the Turkish account, which keeps changing mysteriously, the
Phantom was on a “training flight” and was shot down by Syrian forces over “international
|The Great Turkey Shoot: a Turkish F4|
It’s interesting how the Turkish story kept
changing. At first the Turks vacillated – the plane might have, they
acknowledged, intruded into Syrian airspace, and they said it was on a “reconnaissance
mission” . Yes, a reconnaissance mission in the airspace of a
nation at civil war, in which you’re openly backing one of the contending
sides, that’s perfectly normal practice. Happens every day, one might say.
That’s even less of a satirical
exaggeration on my part than you might assume. The Turks claimed that the fact
of the intrusion itself was irrelevant – apparently, such crossing over into
another nation’s airspace happens all the time (for Turkish pilots, I suppose,
it’s routine, given their penchant for bombing northern Iraq) but it was the
first time Syria had shot one of their planes down. How dare they?
It’s not difficult to feel that there
might perhaps be something a bit suspect about this line of argument. One might
say it goes something like this: “I slapped you around a hundred times and you
did nothing. Now I’ve slapped you for the hundred and first time, how dare you
punch me in the jaw?”
However, once it became evident that the
two crewmen of the Turkish jet were safely dead, and therefore would not appear
before Syrian TV cameras to tell the truth of their mission to the world, the
Turkish story changed abruptly. Now the Phantom was on a “training mission” in
international airspace and it was an act of intolerable aggression on the part
of Syria to have shot it down; an act of such aggression, in fact, as to merit a
NATO meeting under Article 4, and invoke the mutual aid cause.
I don’t think I’d be all that mistaken if I
express a suspicion that Turkey – and its NATO overlords – were straining at
the leash for a casus belli with which to bypass the UN and launch a preplanned
war of aggression; and that they seized upon the destruction of this jet as
such a casus belli. If I were a true cynic, I might even suppose that the Turkish
jet was intentionally sent into harm’s
way in order to create an incident. After all, we know that before the invasion
of 2003, the Bush regime was thinking of flying a U2 spy plane in UN markings
over Iraq in the hope that Saddam Hussein’s forces would fire on it and provide
an excuse to attack, so such levels of duplicity are hardly
unknown to the Evil Empire and its handmaidens in NATO.
It’s hardly surprising, too, that the most
hysterical denunciations of Syria have come not from Turkey but from the United
State’s de facto colony in Western
Europe, Britain. Even the Empire reacted with some caution, but
as I’ve said elsewhere, the British never encountered a war they didn’t love,
as long as someone else had to do the fighting.
In the last decade alone: it was Britain
(along with the now defunct Sarkonazi dispensation in Paris) which was the
prime mover in the destruction of Libya. It was Britain which legitimised
George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq by joining in it with enthusiasm, and
continues to help occupy Afghanistan. It’s Britain which continues to openly
host, shield and protect Russian mafia oligarchs and Chechen terrorist warlords.
It’s Britain which is about to host an Olympics sponsored by Dow Chemicals,
responsible for the manufacture of Agent Orange, which to this day maims
Vietnamese children, and which is now the owner of Union Carbide, responsible
for the Bhopal gas disaster. It was Britain which (with only
temporary success, fortunately) turned back a Russian ship taking repaired helicopters
back to Syria. It was the British prime minister who falsely claimed Russian President
Putin had said President Assad had to step down.
None of this is surprising. To those of us
whose nations suffered under the Union Jack(boot), British hypocrisy and mendacity
are so familiar that we’d be astonished by anything else coming out of
The Syrians are far more direct – they detected
a low-flying, fast, unknown target intruding in their airspace and shot it
The Syrian government said an “unidentified object”
had approached Syrian territorial waters from the west at “a very low altitude
and at high speed.” Syrian anti-aircraft artillery fired at the jet when it was
one kilometer (sic) off the Syrian coast, and it crashed 8
kilometers (sic) off the coast.
In a situation where there’s a shooting war going on,
it’s in fact difficult to imagine what else the Syrians were expected to do
(especially seeing that the Zionazi pseudostate had bombed a reactor on its
territory only a few years ago). Could they take the risk that the intruder was
benign? What if they were mistaken and it was on an air raid? Could the Syrian
air defence force commander on the spot take that risk? In his place, could you?
Then there's the less than explicable behaviour of the Turkish Phantom itself. According to the Turks, it was an unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance version, which was optimised for high-level observation flights. What such a plane was doing flying low and fast on a "training mission" is something the Turks need to be asked to explain as clearly as the Pakistanis needed to explain what their Atlantique was doing over the Indian border.
Then, let's try and be even-handed for a moment and see what the Syrians say about the Turkish jet's flight pattern. Here's what the Syrians say:
(T)he flying object came from the north west of the Mediterranean at 11:12
o`clock, has then turned over the Turkish province of Hatay (hairpin)
in order to fly in the direction of south west of the Mediterranean,
then another hairpin turn, so that it came from south-westerly direction
from the Mediterranean close to the Syrian coast, directly in direction
to Syria, where the flying object then was shot down by the Syrian Air
(T)he Turkish military leadership has stated, according to Hürriyet
Daily News that the Turkish jet fighter was asked by the Turkish control
center to leave the Syrian airspace as soon as possible.
But in the representation by NTVMSNBC, the Turkish jet fighter has
contrary to this request, however, made no change of course away from
the Syrian coast, but the Turkish machine flew on course
north-north-east, until the jet fighter arrived at the northern border
of the Syrian airspace into Turkish airspace at 11:47 o`clock.
After the alleged order by the Turkish control center to leave the
Syrian airspace as soon as possible, the Turkish jet fighter has reduced
its distance to the Syrian coast even more(.)
|Syrian map showing the F4's route. Note the repeated looping off the Syrian coast.|
Yes, very, very normal behaviour.
I wonder what the Turkish response would
have been in similar circumstances? And if the Turks had shot down a Syrian
aeroplane, and the Syrians had protested, I wonder if the Empire and its
British proxy would have spent a moment on the incident? And would they have ignored
the fact that the plane’s wreckage has been detected on the sea bed in Syrian
I don’t think so.
One of the unforeseen effects of the
shooting down, though, is that the Syrian air defences have proved unexpectedly
effective. Especially if the Turkish F4 was indeed destroyed by the new Russian-supplied
SA-22 missiles, a Libya-style NATO bombing campaign against Syria may be
impossible without the Empire’s direct involvement and will certainly be
extremely costly. And though the Empire’s sights are set on Iran,
its ability and appetite to fight yet another major war right now are not as
high as the British (or the Zionazis) might desire.
Was the Syrian action legitimate? I’d like
to refer you to the ICJ and its legitimisation of India’s destruction of the Pakistani
Atlantique. In many ways, India was much more culpable than the Syrians were –
the IAF pilots had clearly seen and identified the Pakistani plane, were aware
that they held an absolute superiority, and shot it down when even according to
the Indian account the plane was attempting to withdraw into Pakistan. On the
other hand, the Syrians were in the midst of fighting a war, the Turkish
Phantom was flying low and fast, and a decision must have had to be taken on
the spot and without waiting for superior orders. Seeing that the ICJ ruled in
favour of the Indian position, there’s no
way the Syrians can possibly be held guilty for their action.
Meanwhile, Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Dr Jihad Makdessi said that the plane had been shot
down not by missiles, but by anti-aircraft guns with a maximum range of 2.5 kilometres, and
that shell-holed wreckage from it had been handed over to the Turks. If this is
true, this evidence alone would be enough to conclusively prove the Turks were deliberately lying
about the nature of the flight. You don't shoot down a plane flying 13 nautical miles out to sea with a land based anti-aircraft gun, and a plane which "accidentally" strays into another's territorial waters doesn't fly within sniffing distance of its beaches.
But just assume, for the sake of argument,
that the Syrians are guilty of knowingly shooting down an unarmed Turkish Phantom
on a training mission. Even if that happened, the Syrian government couldn’t
possibly have known that a Turkish fighter would be flying at that time at that
position, and couldn’t have directly ordered its destruction. By the time the
decision had been made in Damascus and the orders been sent back to Latakia, the
Phantom would have already achieved whatever its mission was and be halfway
back to its base. Therefore, the idea of blaming the Syrian government for the
shooting down is an act of utter and complete stupidity. But it makes sense if
you think of it as an attempt to find an excuse to invade, and with Turkish
tanks having been sent to the Syrian front(ier), with orders to attack Syrian
troops who are “too close to the border”, one might say they think they’ve
found the excuse.
it makes sense, all right.