NATO member shoots down Russian plane–Putin threatens

Turkish fighters shot down a Russian attack aircraft over Syria, after accusations that it invaded Turkish air space (which Russia denies).  The two pilots ejected but were  reportedly killed by gunfire from the ground as they parachuted.  A Russian marine on a helicopter rescue mission was also shot.

Vladimir Putin called this a “stab in the back” and said Turkey will face “significant consequences.”   President Obama defended Turkey’s right to defend its air space.

As this unfolds, keep in mind that Turkey belongs to NATO, and, by treaty, an attack on one NATO member is treated as an attack on them all.

UPDATE:  Russia is bombing the area of Syria where the plane came down, hitting both Al Qaeda and Turkmen (Syria’s ethnic Turks) anti-Assad insurgents.  Russia says one of its pilots is alive, though the Turkmen claim to have killed them both.

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Update on the Paris attack

(1) Now authorities are saying that 129 people are confirmed dead in the Paris attacks.  349 were injured, with 96 being in critical condition.

(2) We now know that this was the work of ISIS.

(3) At least two of the eight attackers came to France as Syrian refugees.

(4) Seven of the attackers were killed, mostly as suicide bombers.  But one, possibly a woman, is still at large.

(5) French planes are bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria.

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The Left-Right coalition

The same Congressional coalition of Tea Party conservatives and far-left liberals that blocked an attack on Syria also came close to reining in the NSA surveillance program.  Washington Post political columnist Greg Sargent sees an on-going alliance coming together. [Read more...]

U.S. & Russia agree on Syria plan

So should Vladimir Putin get the Nobel Peace Prize?  Does this get President Obama out of the mess he was in, turning a fiasco into a victory?

The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on a plan to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control, a rare diplomatic victory in a brutal civil war that appears to head off a punitive U.S. military strike on Syria in the near future. [Read more...]

The President’s speech

So what did you think of the President’s speech on Syria?  Did it make any of you change your mind?  Is this his “Cuban Missile Crisis” moment?  What do you think will happen now?

An account of the speech and a link to the complete transcript after the jump. [Read more...]

Developments on Syria

A reporter asked Secretary of State John Kerry if Syria could do anything to avoid getting attacked.  Off the cuff, Kerry said, sure, get rid of their chemical weapons.  Whereupon the Russian foreign minister seized on the idea, turning it into a proposal.  Whereupon the Syrian foreign minister indicated that the country might be open to that.  Now the rest of the world and much of Congress is rallying around that possibility.  Do you think this proposal is a way out or a delaying tactic?  A diplomatic breakthrough or a Russian ploy to keep Assad in power?

Meanwhile, President Obama will address the nation tonight at 9:00 ET, after a day packed with TV interviews, all in an effort to persuade Americans to persuade their Congressional representatives to let him attack Syria.  I can’t watch the speech, but if you do, live blog it here.  We’ll discuss it tomorrow.

UPDATE:  Syria says it will accept the Russian proposal.  President Obama is revising his speech accordingly.

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