The other day, the Botox Boy magnanimously acknowledged that Israeli F-16s had nothing to do with the downing of the Russian spy plane IL-20. It was just a tragic incident of friendly fire.
Those trigger-happy Syrians had been so unnerved by the Israeli raid that they were scatter-gunning those S-200s at everything that flew.
Since the Israeli fighters had already returned to base, the only thing flying at that time was the IL-20, a high-altitude, low-speed sitting duck. The Syrian AA chaps took it for an F-16 and brought it down. An easy mistake to make.
But then Vlad thought better of it. Let’s face it: when Russian-trained soldiers fire a Russian-made missile at a Russian plane, killing 15 Russian officers, whom are you going to blame?
Syrians? To the Russians, that’s like blaming children. The Russians themselves? Be your age: everyone, including Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn and Peter Hitchens, knows that Russia is the last bastion of goodness and, as such, has a blank indulgence against all sin.
Americans? That usually works, up to a point. But even Vlad’s intricate mind couldn’t find a way to make it work in this case.
As a young lad, Vlad read his Sherlock Holmes, when he had a break from running with his street gang. And the great detective taught that, when one has eliminated every possibility but one, the remaining possibility is the answer.
So it had to be the Jews, it was as simple as that. Selling that message in Russia is like selling water in a desert: success is guaranteed. If Jews exsanguinate Christian babies for culinary purposes, they’re certainly capable of using a Russian plane as a shield.
A swift 180, and first defence spokesman Konashenkov, then Defence Minister Shoigu, then Vlad himself, then all his trained propagandists put the blame on Israel, which had been their first reaction anyway.
So fine, the Syrian AA chaps got carried away a bit, but why? Because the Israelis – Jews! – had raided Iranian targets sited close to Russian bases. That was criminal negligence at best, aggression against Russia at worst.
More honest commentators would have mentioned that Iranians, who are as committed as their Hezbollah clients to exterminating Israel, deliberately put their facilities near Russian bases.
The trick has been perfected by Hamas and Hezbollah, who routinely place their rocket launchers near or in hospitals and schools. That gives them a ready-made propaganda coup when Israeli retaliatory strikes hit patients or tots.
So what exactly happened there? Did the Syrian S-200 crews make the mistake of confusing the IL-20 with an Israeli F-16?
Not according to the Russian officer Yuri Alexeev, whose commentary crossed my desk the other day. Here are some excerpts, in my translation:
“Since I studied the S-200 system at military school and then served at it for many years, I can state the following: the Arabs could not have confused an F-16 with an IL-20…
“All the surfaces of a jet plane reflecting the radar beam are immobile. That’s why the reflected signal formed by the plane’s several ‘hot spots’ has roughly the same frequency and looks like three adjacent vertical lines.
“On the other hand, due to the Doppler effect, a turboprop plane (its rotating propellers create various Doppler additions to the signal frequency) produces a signal in the shape of multiple vertical lines that fill practically the whole radar screen.
“Any training of radar operators and other crew members starts from explaining these very differences. I’m sure our instructors who trained the Arab crew did just that…
“It has to be said that the S-200B system is complex to maintain and operate. All sorts of procedures are involved in launching a rocket…
“If the crew managed to launch a missile, they were clearly trained and definitely knew the difference in the footprints of a jet and a turboprop plane…
“There’s a theory that the Syrian crew followed and attacked an F-16 that then performed an evasive manoeuvre, pushing into the radar coverage our plane that has a much larger reflective surface. The missile re-targeted it automatically and a hit occurred.
“Yes, that’s possible – but only if our plane was ‘lit up’ by the radar. If there had been no reflected signal, the missile would have self-destructed. That means the Arabs had been tracking our plane and therefore saw the reflected signal on the radar screen.
“Moreover, to re- target, the operator had to switch manually to the automatic tracking of the new target…
“In my opinion, the Arabs knew what they were tracking and launched a missile deliberately. This is a matter of ‘corporate ethics’.
“Losing a target is the worst thing that can happen to an AA officer. When we were on duty, we were issued pistols. Being young, we’d ask our commanders what the guns were for. They’d reply that, if you lose a target, go and shoot yourself, to save the paperwork at the court martial.
“All personnel at AA missile systems knew that still having unlaunched rockets after an enemy raid was a guaranteed death sentence for themselves. It’s likely that the Arabs had been imbued with that principle, so they fired at whatever they saw.”
Such is the expert view, confirmed by every informed commentator on the incident. But that doesn’t matter to the Botox Boy and his jolly friends.
The choice between blaming themselves or the Jews was in reality no choice at all. It was a foregone conclusion.
To the rest of us, the tall story about Israel’s guilt is considerably less credible than the possibility of the Russians themselves downing their own plane by way of a provocation.
I don’t know whether they did or didn’t, nor what they were trying to provoke (one possibility is causing a rift with Israel to strengthen ties with Iran). I’m only saying that this is more plausible than Israel’s perfidy.
For many years now Israel has been trying to cultivate Russia as an ally. The two countries have been ostensibly as friendly as friendly can be – partly, I’m sure, because many gangsters from Putin’s entourage park their ill-gotten gains in Israel.
Israel, surrounded by enemies seeking her annihilation, desperately needs every ally she can get. Thus committing a hostile act against Russia is simply out of the question for the Israeli government.
Netanyahu and his ministers have been bending over backwards trying to please the Russians in every possible way. They didn’t seem to realise that, when one sups with the devil, no spoon is ever long enough.