Okay, well, that title is actually an over-statement. But, one hopes that readers will recall the Monty Python skit where the pet shop owner assures his customers that the stuffed parrot isn’t dead… merely resting.
The serious issue, though, is that last month a number of lightly armed Russian mercenaries attacked an American position in Syria. Why is not clear. Maybe it was a test of American resolve. Maybe it was an error on the part of their commanders. Whatever the case, the mercs perished in rather distressing numbers. The smart money says at least 300 of them died, more or less instantly.
Zakharova’s remarks have drawn widespread derision from Western and even Russian media sources. Alexey Navalny, the remarkable Russian opposition leader whose Youtube news channel has been the bane of the Muscovite elite, went so far as to call her a liar.
Still, what may be the most remarkable aspect of this story is not what Zakharova said or didn’t say, but that both the Americans and Russians seem to be trying to defuse the situation. They may have excellent reasons for doing so. Neither is eager for WWIII at the moment, and the fact that both have heavily armed forces in Syria makes fatal mistakes all too likely.