The US, Australia, and the Netherlands should catch the MH17 suspects – Washington Examiner

The U.S., Australia, and the Netherlands should establish a joint task force to find, capture, and render suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 so that they will face charges issued on Wednesday by Dutch prosecutors.

That would be a justifiably aggressive response to a clear atrocity. After all, the July 17, 2014 downing of MH17 killed 298 innocent civilians as they flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Russia bears direct responsibility. It provided a Buk missile launcher (utilizing a shrapnel based warhead) to Russian intelligence agents in eastern Ukraine. Dutch prosecutors have charged four of those agents with the atrocity. Three are Russians: former Russian FSB intelligence officer and Russian intelligence cutout, Igor Girkin, Russian GRU intelligence cutout operations officer, Sergei Dubinsky, and GRU ground branch officer, Oleg Pulatov. Also charged is Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, who commanded Ukrainian separatists as a loyal Kremlin servant (it’s risky not to be loyal).

Of course, Russia and Russian-controlled Ukrainian separatists in eastern Ukraine aren’t going to hand over these suspects. The Russians deny any culpability for MH17 and, as with other Russian intelligence operations such as the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal, will hide from the facts. That means others must bring justice. Seeing as 193 Dutch citizens and 27 Australians died on MH17, those nations should join with America to do so.

Why America?

Four reasons. Because Australia and the Netherlands are very close allies whose citizens have fought and died alongside ours in Afghanistan. Second, because those nations actively support us today. Third, because the U.S. military can bring special capabilities to bear in this mission. Fourth, because President Barack Obama woefully failed to support those nations in the immediate aftermath of MH17’s downing. New U.S. leadership will restore American alliance credibility.

President Trump should thus engage Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the formation of a joint military task force to capture the four suspects.

But this task force wouldn’t have to start from scratch. Relying on allied intelligence cooperation, the task force could center around three special forces units specifically trained for just this kind of hunting operation: the Netherlands Korps Commandotroepen, the Australian Special Air Service regiment, and the CAG (also known as Delta Force). Able to operate deep behind enemy lines, the task force could wait to strike and then grab our shared enemies off the streets or out of their homes.

Yes, this operation would likely entail taking casualties and earning new ire from Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Putin only has himself to blame. Moreover, the joined cause of justice and future deterrence makes this a worthy mission.


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