The dustup between the US and Russia over alleged Russian helicopter exports to Syria took a new turn when the New York Times reported today that the helicopters that are allegedly about to be delivered to Damascus are not newly manufactured in response to a recent Syrian government order, but rather likely are aircraft that were sent to Russia by the Syrian government a few months ago to be overhauled and are ready to be returned. According to experts consulted by the Times, while Syria has a large number of Russian-built attack helicopters in its inventory, it hasn't purchased any new ones in at least a decade.
That Hillary Clinton knew this to be the case when she accused Russia of selling Syria attack helicopters to use against its own population also seems to be the case. "She put a little spin on it to put the Russians in a difficult position," one senior Defense Department official told the Times. In other words, the real purpose behind the accusation is to intensify the confrontation with Russia over regime change in Syria.
The U.S. charge has been immediately used to create a general "cold war" atmosphere, and to rev up support for the armed opposition, as, for example, in the case of former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson on Fox-Tv today.