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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Unabashedly Leading

"We know that the Syrian army and Syria as a whole are in such a state that they have no time for a second front. They need to save their own State."
"But still, I understand your concerns."
Russian President Vladimir Putin

"It's enough to imagine the alternative -- a dangerous confrontation with Russia, and dealing with these misunderstandings after the fact -- to understand the importance of this visit [setting out Israel's concerns with Moscow equipping Syria with advanced weaponry]."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Putin dismissed Netanyahu's claims that Syria is trying to open a 'second front' against Israel [EPA]
The Israeli prime minister wanted to lay it all out; Israel's concern with advanced weaponry in the hands of Syria, as a conduit of accessibility to Hezbollah and to Hamas as well, brutally uncivilized jihadi terrorist groups whose mandate is the destruction of the Jewish state. Both Iran and Syria have supplied Hezbollah with advanced weaponry in the past, and, according to Mr. Netanyahu are "trying to set up a second terrorist front on the Golan Heights", overlooking Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu's purpose was to stress to his Russian counterpart that Israel remains determined to ensure that such weapons do not reach the hands of Hezbollah; that to prevent that from happening Israel 'would take action'. Situational misunderstandings between Israel and Russia could conceivably be lethal. So they conferred on the imperative to prevent unintended consequences in any confrontation that might arise.

Very amicable, congenial, collegial. A practise run for when President Putin would be meeting President Barack Obama. To offer first hand his country's military services alongside that of the United States. Of course, America would lead from behind, since Russia is determined to lead, period. But the offer is there; the Obama administration could gratefully decline in favour of continuing with its own U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against Islamic State.

And risk the potential for U.S. warplanes coming up hard against the presence of Russian jets, on the same mission. That it is distasteful to Americans to join forces with Russia is hardly debatable; it's one thing to agree to intervention to forestall a conflict they hardly wanted, only threatened in favour of trading chemical weapons for red lines, quite another to step neatly in line behind Russian forces allied with Iran when memories of the bargaining table over nuclear weapons are yet so fresh.

Of a certainty everyone is engaged with the need to destroy the Islamic State's spreading caliphate. The horrors the jihadists have perpetrated on ethnic and religious minorities, abducted Westerners and Muslim 'heretics' offend all decency, but their death count, albeit atrocious, hardly compares to the deaths racked up by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad who appears to relish the destruction of wide swathes of Syrian infrastructure along with the faceless, insignificant Sunni Syrians he targets.

The West, after all, along with a neighbour of Syria, Turkey, is invested in removing Bashar al-Assad from the Syrian helm. Pitting themselves ideologically against the Russia-Iran-Syria-Iraq-Lebanon-Yemen Shiite axis. In the faint yet fond hope that settling the Syrian civil war is integral to the dyke that will hold back the flood of refugees into Europe.

Russia's commitment is clearly seen in the presence of 28 Russian war planes, 22 fighter jets and a dozen close support aircraft at Syria's Latakia airbase. The flow of Russian arms; aircraft, missiles, tanks and allied military equipment to Syria tells its own story. Rumours of direct military intervention by Russia in aid of helping to fend off rebel forces to the north of Damascus are not merely rumours but reality.

Who is even talking about striking ISIL? The Syrian regime has disregarded its presence on Syrian soil, not bothering to strike ISIL headquarters in Raqqa. So the Russian attack planes are meant to mix it up with ISIL just in case at some future date it acquires an air force? In Ukraine it was a shadow Russian military presence backing ethnic Russian Ukrainians; in Syria there is no need for stealth and denials since Russia is an invited guest.

Invited guests do the bidding of their hosts. Unlike those for whom the courtesy of an invitation is withheld on the basis that they plan the discourtesy of imposing exile and perhaps worse on the unwilling host.

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