VodkaPundit

Putin's Not-So-Secret War VI

 In this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 file pool photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, meets with officers after military exercises at Donguz range in Orenburg region, Russia. With dozens of Russian combat jets and helicopter gunships lined up at an air base in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for a big-time show at the United Nations General Assembly. Observers expect the Russian leader to call for stronger U.N.-sanctioned global action against the Islamic State group and possibly announce some military moves in his speech on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

In this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 file pool photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, meets with officers after military exercises at Donguz range in Orenburg region, Russia. With dozens of Russian combat jets and helicopter gunships lined up at an air base in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for a big-time show at the United Nations General Assembly. Observers expect the Russian leader to call for stronger U.N.-sanctioned global action against the Islamic State group and possibly announce some military moves in his speech on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

I got a chuckle out of the bit about the transponders, which reminded me about the old joke about plans for the first manned trip to the sun.

“But you’ll burn up!”

“We’ll land at night.”

Anyway, read what the Russians are up to now:

A U.S. official told CNN Thursday that Russian fighter jets turned off their transponders as they flew into Syria in an apparent attempt to avoid detection. The official said the fighters flew very close to a transport plane that had its transponder on and functioning.

U.S. satellites rapidly saw that the aircraft were there, according to the official.

The assessment over the weekend was that the fighter jets were on their way. The same official said the Russians have begun flying drones around the coastal city of Latakia.

With no ISIS fighters in the area, the move raises serious questions about the Russians’ intentions with their military buildup, which the U.S. has questioned the purpose of and watched with wariness.

I’m over it — it’s not “our” Middle East anymore. It will at least be interesting to see what the Russians do do with the place.