Russian SAMs seem to love airliners

Two airliners downed by Russian missiles within five years, with the Ukraine involved both times – those SAMs are definitely playing favourites.

Nice accidental shot, chaps. Vlad is proud of you

That the first missile was fired by the Russians themselves and the second by their Iranian stooges may be an important distinction. Then again, it may not.

Both crimes were followed by the perpetrators’ lying denials. The Russians were more creative with theirs.

Flight MH17, according to them, was downed by the Americans themselves. Or the fatal shot was fired by the Banderite Zionist fascists running the Ukraine. Or it was a bomb on board the aircraft. Or it might have been pilot’s error. Or it was spontaneous combustion.

I don’t recall any UFOs mentioned, but every other possibility was explored and put forth as realistic. Except what actually happened: a terrorist act committed by Russian troops in the process of invading a sovereign European country.

The Russians still persist with their lies, but they are doing so in autopilot, as it were. It’s as if they were saying: “Fair cop, we did it. We know it, you know it, the whole world knows it. But we’ll continue to deny it half-heartedly for decorum’s sake. Anyway, the sooner you forget about that incident, the better for all of us.”

The Iranians at first lied that the Ukrainian airliner had suffered an engine failure. However, when videos emerged of a SAM actually hitting the aircraft, they owned up to having fired the fatal missile, albeit accidentally.

Case closed? As far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t even been opened.

Too many coincidences have been ignored, too many questions left unanswered or indeed unasked. Far be it from me to claim a special investigative talent, but a few things bother even this rank amateur.

First, why did the ayatollahs lie in the first place? Doesn’t Allah proscribe perjury? And, having defied Allah, why didn’t they persist? After all, their Russian friends could have shown them how to deny obvious facts, including those about downed airliners.

Yet their resolve lasted only two days. Once the evidence came out, the ayatollahs immediately offered their profuse apologies: “Sorry, lads, deepest condolences and all that. We confused the 737 with an in-coming cruise missile. Accidents do happen.”

Yes, they do. But so do crimes their perpetrators try to pass for accidents.

Even assuming the ayatollahs had to admit their guilt, why couldn’t they hold on for a bit longer? What was the rush? Most likely, it wasn’t they who were in a hurry, but Messrs Trudeau and Trump.

Even before the ayatollahs made their clenched-teeth admission, the two leaders stated that the airliner had been accidentally hit by an Iranian Russian-made TOR missile. How did they know it was an accident before any investigation was even started?

Their underlying assumption seems to be that Iran wouldn’t have committed such a heinous act deliberately. If so, one wonders about the basis for such confidence. We are, after all, talking about one of the world’s most evil and deranged regimes.

Quite apart from sponsoring terrorism around the world, the ayatollahs are feverishly trying to acquire nuclear bombs and then use them. This, in the certain knowledge that the resulting retaliation would be apocalyptically devastating.

Do Messrs Trudeau and Trump believe that a regime prepared to kill millions, most of them in their own country, would balk at killing a paltry 176 passengers and crew? One hopes not, for otherwise the West is in even deeper trouble than I thought.

But do let’s assume that it indeed was an accident. After all, following the assassination of Gen Soleimani, the situation in the region was chaotic, and chaos encourages trigger-happy fingers.

However, that plausible assumption has to come packaged with several implausible ones. One of them is that a trained operator could have confused a Boeing 737 with a cruise missile.

Just like the BUK system of MH17 fame, TOR comes equipped with a modern radar. And I can’t help thinking that an airplane 138 feet long looks rather different on a radar screen from a cruise missile that’s almost seven times shorter. And surely a plane taking off is instantly distinguishable from a missile coming in?

Then again, Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport is a target-rich environment. Planes take off every 20-30 minutes, and only one a day belongs to the Ukrainian International Airlines.

However, the fateful Boeing was operated by a country that Iran’s biggest ally and sponsor, Putin’s junta, hates with unmitigated passion. A curious coincidence, isn’t it?

My objective is only to point out a certain incongruity, not to explain it. Yes, it’s reasonably clear that, considering the relationship between Iran and Russia, the ayatollahs would have been in no position to deny their friend Vlad a little favour should he have asked for it.

But why would he have asked for it? I don’t know. Yet neither do I know why Putin ordered the seemingly senseless murders of Litvinenko, the Skripals, at least a dozen others in the West and several dozen within Russia herself, including such internationally known figures as Politkovskaya and Nemtsov.

Putin runs a state formed by history’s unique fusion of secret police and organised crime. Both constituents operate according to their own code, which says that those they hate don’t deserve to live, and those who cross them must be punished.

This may be as simple as that. Or else, there may be more rational motives involved, such as an attempt to distract public attention from Flight MH17, which still comes up in international discussions, if with an attenuating frequency.

The opportunities for conjecture are many. However, no conjecture is necessary to explain the indecent haste with which Messrs Trudeau and Trump accepted the ayatollahs’ mea culpas, which they themselves had cued in.

Trump’s Iranian strategy, such as it is, is apparently to ignore the general beastliness of the Islamic Republic, while punishing specific crimes against US citizens on an ad hoc basis. The president must believe that Iran, for all its ostensible bellicosity, is so suffocated by Western sanctions that she’s ready to negotiate.

This must be Trump’s desire as well: after all, he thinks that all the world’s little problems can be solved by a handshake. Accusing Iran of yet another egregious crime against humanity simply doesn’t fit into that context.

I rather doubt the merits of this strategy: evil regimes don’t believe in deals. They only believe in using deals to their nefarious ends.

Thus the Russians violated every disarmament treaty they ever signed, including those SALT agreements they used as a screen for their massive military build-up in the 1970s. Iran used Obama’s awful Nuclear Treaty the same way, by coming close to developing a nuclear capability, with a little help from her friends.

However, Trump’s administration has a store of information to which I have no access. Hence it’s possible that their strategy may be the right one.

One just wishes they didn’t take us for fools. All those red herrings leave a nasty taste in our mouths, and the tooth fairy never does come around. Let’s hear the truth of Flight 752 – and truth, as we know, will make us free.      

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