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US Doomsday Plane Takes Off

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Earlier US President Trump threatened on his Twitter page to strike Syria with “nice and new and smart” missiles over the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma. Russia has already warned Washington against such a move, reported Sputnik News (Russia).

The CivMilAir Twitter account, which monitors airplane movements, posted information that the Boeing E-4B Nightwatch, commonly known as the "Doomsday plane," took off from the Wright-Patterson airbase near Deiton on April 11 in 14:09 and flew towards Springfield, Illinois. What is curious about it is the fact that it left the airbase minutes after US President Donald Trump made his threat to launch a missile attack on Syria.

The Boeing E-4B is one of ten National Emergency Airborne Command Posts (NEACP) that would be used in case something were to happen to the main command posts on the ground to coordinate US military efforts. There are currently 6 functional E-4Bs that are ready around the clock to receive the command to lift off. During wartime only the president, the secretary of defense and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff can go aboard the aircraft.

Washington accuses Damascus of being behind a chemical attack in Douma that allegedly resulted in civilian casualties. The Syrian government denies the accusations. The Russian defense ministry has warned several times that terrorist forces may perform provocations using chemical weapons in order to create a pretext for military intervention by the US coalition.

Russian chemical experts were sent to the site of the alleged chemical attack and found no traces indicative of the use of chemical weapons. They also failed to find any victims of chemical poisoning in nearby hospitals. Moscow and Damascus have invited OPCW experts to Douma to determine whether or not chemical weapons were used.

The US Navy announced April 10 that the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group will be redeployed to the Mediterranean and the Middle East region, without specifying its tasks and terms of deployment. The Russian defense ministry warned the US against conducting strikes on Syrian territory and reminded that the Russian military is still present in the country and will react accordingly.

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Russian warships kicked off naval exercises near the coast of Syria, a message in the international notification for aviation personnel (NOTAM) and navigational warning for seafarers said, reported Pravda Report (Russia).

The message contains coordinates of the closed area and states the fact of firing exercises. The area of the exercises located in international waters of the Mediterranean is adjacent to the sea border of Syria. It will be closed on April 11-12, April 17-19 and on April 25-26 from 10 to 18 Moscow time.

Russia currently has about 15 warships and logistics vessels of the Black Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, including Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Essen frigates (those carry Caliber cruise missiles), as well as submarines.

According to The National Interest, the US Army is likely to use AGM-86B and Tomahawk cruise missiles, as well as F-22 Raptor fighters and B-2 Spirit bombers in the event the US administration decides to attack Syria. The publication also said that Russian S-300 and S-400 missile systems would not be able to intercept these weapons of the US Armed Forces.

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The US Navy reportedly has dispatched a aircraft carrier strike group to the region, though it will likely take around a week to get in position. The US regularly deploys aircraft carriers to the region to carry out airstrikes on ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, reported Business Insider (US).

Among the Russian ships that appear to have left the port in Syria is a Kilo-class submarine, thought to be one of the quieter and more advanced submarines in operation today.

While Russian ships are less advanced in some ways, they often field advanced anti-ship missiles that can pose a real threat to the US.

But Russia's movements may be a bluff, according to Ryan Bohl, a Middle East analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical consulting firm.

"Neither the Russians or the Americans want World War III, they know how to avoid it and have very strong lines of communications," Bohl told Business Insider.

"It's one thing to shoot down a Tomahawk [cruise missile used by the US Navy], but another thing to shoot down a ship it came from," according to Bohl, who said the movement of Russia's navy was more likely a "way to try to raise the stakes for the Americans to pressure Trump to scale down whatever strike is coming."

Essentially, Russia may simply be trying to look tough by sailing out its navy.

"There's very little they can do from a conventional standpoint," Bohl said. "Once the [USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group] arrives, the US will be able to clean up the eastern Mediterranean in a conventional fight any day."

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Tags: u.s., russia, syria
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