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.

Thursday, October 08, 2015


"Putin is different [than Obama]. He has two aims in Syria, both utterly realistic: Keep his Tartus base that makes Russia a Mediterranean Great Power (look at the competition) at very low cost, and demonstrate that it really pays to serve Russia. The Americans abruptly dropped Hosni Mubarak like a rotten apple after decades of obedient service because his police shot at some demonstrators: Russia still supports Assad vigorously no matter what. The message resonates with potentates across the region, none of whom happens to be democratically elected (with the exception of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is doing his best to undo his country’s democracy). Side with the Americans and you will be promptly abandoned if troublemakers force the police to shoot. Side with Putin’s Russia and you will be supported no matter what. So it little matters what happens to Assad in the end: Putin has already won the credibility competition, which earns him and Russia real gains."
Edward N. Luttwak, military strategist, senior associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies
A file photo of President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 6, 2015.
Alexei Nikolsky / RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool via APA file photo of President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 6, 2015.

He's a superior strategist, an egotist, a throwback to an earlier time of Soviet-era strongmen, and he is adored by his public. He assures Russians that they are unique, they are Russian. And they lap up his words, and take huge pride in his resolute determination to return glory to the Russian Federation. If former USSR satellites are nervous about all of that, this is their undoing, he will eventually drag them kicking and screaming into compliance.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has given Ukraine a bit of a break from his intense attention, deploying troops from eastern Europe to a little further abroad, to bolster the fortunes of his great good friend the fiendishly bloodthirsty Bashar al-Assad. Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the al-Quds head of the Republic's business in Iraq and Syria, has convinced Mr. Putin that Russia is vulnerable to the very same kind of bloody chaos that now afflicts Syria.

On General Soleimani's trip to Moscow in August he spoke convincingly of the vital necessity that Russia bring its cutting edge military technology to Syria. Russian airstrikes were required there; as an imperative if Russia meant to keep terrorist entities from expanding toward Russia's Caucauses regions. The cause in Syria is also Russia's security cause, and he was sufficiently persuasive to ensure that Mr. Putin ageed.

Maps, surveillance photographs and intelligence all pointed to the Islamic State, at the very least, reaching well beyond the caliphate geography it has already secured. A joint intelligence-sharing centre incorporating Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia would be a prime necessity. This is a winnable war for Islamist Shiites; they have arrived to respond to Assad's cry for strengthening his Alawite military, from Pakistan, from Afghanistan, from Chechyna and elsewhere.

In numbers corresponding to the Sunni Islamists responding to the Islamic State public relations invitation on social media to come along and have the times of their lives, for however long their lives might last in doing the will of Allah. Iraq, dreadfully dissatisfied with American action on their behalf, has sidled ever closer to Iran, their natural allies as Shiites in fact and in spirit. Iraq, like Syria is looking toward a more effective response than the U.S.-led airstrikes.

And so Russian military jets launched their airstrike campaign; their targets, according to Moscow ISIL, their missions, according to reality rebel bases on the front line fighting Syria's military. Russia blandly responds to its critics by reiterating its campaign is meant to stop Islamist militants, oh right, terrorists; the militants are on the Shiite side, defending Assad, the terrorists represent the blighted Sunnis.

The Russian military had the opportunity to test-drive its Kalibr long-range cruise missiles, committing 26 missile strikes from four warships in the Caspian Sea, flying over Iran. A simultaneous ground offensive in central Syria resulting in an air-and-ground assault will wreak predictable damage on al-Nusra, on the rebel groups, on all those aligned against the Syrian regime with a mind to replacing Shiite power with Sunni dominance.

Syria's military has been transformed from spiritless to emboldened, the setbacks in northwestern Syria in the past months all but set aside. Of course, ISIL is not represented in the areas of the ground fighting; all the rebel factions whose purpose it is to remove Vladimir Putin's great good friend Bashar al-Assad, are present there, and absorbing the brunt of the attacks. Which might very well spell their end.

Alexander Kots, Komsomolskaya Pravda / AFP, Getty ImagesAlexander Kots, Komsomolskaya Pravda / AFP, Getty Images   A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian army pilot leaving the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi SU-25 ground attack aircraft at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia

But then, there is always Islamic State to contend with. They have no air power, needless to say, but the strikes by the U.S.-led coalition have done little to dissuade them from their course. Well, of course, the U.S. coalition strikes did take into account the presence of civilians when bombing was undertaken, given their acknowledgement that they had little intelligence on the ground to guide them.

And nor, in fact, does Russia-Iran have reliable intelligence on the ground. But there will be few such scruples from the deadly alliance of Russia-Iran-Hezbollah, fearing for the well-being of the oppressed and terrorized Syrians, however, since they are simply of the incorrect sectarian persuasion.

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