This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On The Record

"Russia will factually be the only country to carry out this operation on the legitimate basis of the request of the legitimate government of Syria."
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman

"The atmosphere was entirely one of solidarity. There were no questions that might have influenced this atmosphere [wherein Putin requested official authorization to use force in Syria] on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law."
Oleg Morozov, member, Federation Council

"We are not discussing achieving foreign policy goals or fulfilling the ambitions that our Western partners regularly accuse us of."
"We are exclusively discussing the national interests of the Russian Federation [no ground troops, merely Russian aviation in Syria]."
Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin chief of staff
Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber (file photo)
  Su-24 fighter-bomber aircraft are said to have been involved in the strikes : Russian Defence Ministry

And so, after so generously inviting the U.S.-led coalition to join Russia's noble effort in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime against the maleficently destructive forces of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and by extension the militias associated with the Syrian Free Army which has pointlessly as Syrian Sunni ingrates, caused a civil war, Russia carried out its first bombing raid in Syria.

American Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is of the opinion that the Russian airstrikes were most likely carried out where Islamic State forces "probably" weren't even present, "and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole approach." According to him, the U.S.-led coalition plans to "continue our air operations unimpeded" by Russia's intervention on the scene, critical of the lack of success of the United States.

The only admitted item of real concern between the U.S. and the Russian Federation is to ensure that no "inadvertent incidents" occur, and for that alone there would be meetings between defense officials representing the United States and Russia. Combat sorties flown over Syria by either country must be cleared of the potential for unintended consequences relating to operations at cross purposes. Russia's late entry has complicated the issue.

If it weren't for the issue of saving face, at a juncture where there is little 'face' to be saved, the U.S. and its coalition could politely withdraw from action and leave the field to the Russians. For all its actions to date, admittedly not particularly heroic, the coalition bombings have produced little leverage in harming ISIL's prospects; the group has expanded, if anything. Leaving Russia to do the task might very well result in a scenario reminiscent of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Why prevent that?

Mr. Carter pointed out as well the puzzle of the presence of a "logical contradiction" confounding intelligence, whereby Russia’s stated intention of combating terrorism in Syria makes little sense of its support of the Assad regime. Moreover, the appearance of the Russians "seemingly taking on everyone who is fighting Assad", as opposed to the U.S. approach of specifically targeting the Islamic State and like-minded extremists, leads to a conclusion that the stated agenda stretches verity.

A predictably contradictory statement was issued from Russia’s Defense Ministry which stated that airstrikes were carried out "against positions held by the Islamic State in Syrian territory", inclusive of military vehicles, communications centers, weapons caches, ammunition and fuel depots. The ministry failed to identify the locations where the strikes were carried out. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency identified the western city of Homs as having been targeted to strike the "dens" of ISIL.

On the other hand, information emanating from opposition leader, Hisham Marwah, was rather that the Russian airstrikes "targeted civilians, not ISIS", with the result that at the very least 37 people in the town of Talbiseh in Homs province were killed. "The people of this area are opposed to ISIS", Marwah, vice president of the Syrian National Coalition, stated, speaking by telephone from the United States.

As though to validate that Russia was bypassing opportunities to strike at ISIL targets, Tajamu Alezzah, another rebel source representing a U.S.-supported rebel group in Syria, stated through a Twitter post that it too had come under attack by Russian warplanes in Hama province, north of Homs. Obviously putting the lie to Vladimir Putin's sanctimonious claims of planning to destroy Islamic State for the purpose of restoring peace and the order of good government back to Syria.

Screengrab from video posted online by opposition activist purportedly showing aftermath of Russian air strikes in Talbiseh, Homs province, Syria (30 September 2015)
Syria rebels gathering

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet