The military bombings by so many countries in Iraq and Syria were bound to lead to problems.
The brewing global storm escalated Tuesday with Turkish warplanes shooting down a Russian fighter jet. Turkey charged that the Russian pilot ignored warnings that it was violating Turkey’s airspace.
Russia admits that its Su-24 attack aircraft was shot down but said the plane had not violated Turkey’s airspace. One of the two pilots was able to eject from the plane before it crashed.
The Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow said one of the pilots was killed by ground fire, and a Russian marine stationed in Syria died in a search and rescue operation for the pilots, The Washington Post reports. Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, called the plane being shot down a “stab in the back.”
Russia had entered the Syrian conflict earlier this year in support of that country’s president, Bashar Assad. That Middle Eastern country has been gripped by a civil war since 2011 as the spreading Arab Spring turned into a violent conflict.
In the Syrian fighting and the power vacuum created in Iraq after the 2011 U.S. troop pullout, the Islamic State emerged. To combat its rise, airstrikes have been conducted by the U.S., France, and other Middle Eastern and European Union nations.
Russia was among the last to enter the fighting but complicating matters by backing Assad’s military against the rebel forces whom the Obama administration and its allies support.
Turkey’s downing the Russian fighter jet only worsens an already volatile military quagmire. But it was only a matter of time before the wrong swords crossed, leading to problems.
Conditions already were bad after the Islamic State terrorist attacks on Nov. 13 in Paris, killing at least 130 persons and injuring many more. That was preceded by the Islamic State taking credit for downing a Russian charter plane on Oct. 31 in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt killing all 224 passengers aboard.
France stepped up its bombings in Syria after the terrorist attacks. The airstrikes by all of the nations involved will only be complicated by Turkey shooting down the Russian jet fighter.
The Islamic State fighters’ hopes of spreading terror, chaos and fear throughout the world are only being fulfilled.
The downing of the warplane only adds to the tensions between Russia and the West over Crimea and Ukraine.
President Barack Obama and NATO have called for cooler heads to prevail. We don’t need a Cold War 2.0.
Let’s hope Putin is listening and feels the same way.