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.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Russian Loyalty To Its Allies : Filling the Vacuum

"There was a real threat of Damascus falling."
"The capture of Damascus would be a huge symbol that would provoke a new burst of extremist activity across the world."
Igor Korotchenko, advisory board member, Russian Defense Ministry

"No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. ...Believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion."
U.S. President Barack Obama, United Nations
Wreckage of buildings are seen at the site of the alleged Russian airstrikes targeting the Jabal al-Zawiya town of Idlib, Syria on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Photographer: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Wreckage of buildings are seen at the site of the alleged Russian airstrikes targeting the Jabal al-Zawiya town of Idlib, Syria on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Photographer: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Damascus and a very small portion of Syria including the area where the Alawites predominate is actually all that is left of Syria. In essence, 80% of the country has been lost to those fighting groups, Sunni Syrian rebels, foreign Sunni fighters, al-Qaeda affiliate al Nusra, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, holding their shares of the now-fragmented country.

Many of the Sunnis who match the Shiite regime's penchant for ferocious blood-letting, terrorize Syrian Druze, Christians, Shiites and Kurds. This is the Middle East in its very finest illustration of tribal, clan and sectarian hatreds leading to vehement threats carried out with the pleasure of inflicting gain through pain.

The 20% of the former Syria remaining in the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was on the verge of falling; Assad had a finite resource of young male Shiite fighters willing to counter the numerical superiority of the Sunnis, both home-grown and foreign in derivation. Even with the considerable fighting aid of Hezbollah, and even with the al-Quds commander dispatched by Iran to guide and strategize for the Syrian army, they were falling back, and in danger of losing Damascus.

Moscow had no wish to lose its only naval base in the Mediterranean. And Iran remains intent on supporting its Shiite crescent, from (Yemen) Iran to Iraq, Lebanon to Syria. And quite possibly, Vladimir Putin takes particular glee in the fact that he is able to manipulate and out-fox the most powerful man on Earth, American President Barack Obama. That adage that three times fooled marks one as the fool the other unprincipled was never so true.

From deflecting Mr. Obama's threat on the use of chemical weapons, to declaring that no Russian troops or weapons were involved in Ukraine losing Crimea, to the most recent event where President Obama met President Putin's declared war on ISIS with approval, the Nobel Laureate once again casts doubt on resolution and fitness to serve in the capacity he has assumed. Can the world wait another 16 months before the miraculous advent of a replacement to solve such ills?

Isolating Russia and creating a diplomatic persona non-grata status for Mr. Putin over Ukraine worked well enough with the convergence of low oil prices and the struggling ruble, until the conniving Mr. Putin hatched his latest plan to restore his former authority, to the relief of western Europe so dependent on energy trade with Russia. While the U.S. cut back its military presence in the Middle East and with it, authority, Russia, despite its penury, invested in its military.

The air campaign that President Putin in his utter contempt for his American counterpart has launched, targeted not the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as he claimed was his intention, to protect the 'legitimate' government of Syria from falling, but the very rebel coalition backed by the U.S., by Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the Jaysh al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), which had proven most effective in countering the Assad regime with their battlefield successes.

Russian ship Moscow in 2009.
Russian ship Moscow

Threatening the areas of Latakia province, they also threatened Russia's nearby naval depot at Tartus, and that signed their death knell. Leading to the current bombing missions, bypassing the opportunity by Russia's combat aircraft to bomb the Islamic State jihadists whom Mr. Putin claimed was the true focus of Russia's involvement in Syria, to safeguard Russia from the jihadists inspired by Islamic State and its Chechen supporters.

Moscow seems prepared to see this conflict through to a conclusion it will deem satisfactory in sustaining the Assad regime over the objections of the West that an unreconstructed mass murderer who sends attack helicopter to barrel bomb his own civilians, destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and the mass infrastructure of the greater parts of the country's towns, villages and cities not held by the regime, as an object lesson in how best to settle an insurrection is beyond the pale.

And so, the marines of Russia's Independent Naval Infantry Brigade are established in the port of Latakia, and 500 of the troops are stationed at the Tartus naval depot from Sevastopol. And housing for an estimated 2000 Russian troops is being put in place, while Moscow dispatches 28 combat aircraft along with attack helicopters, state-of-the-art tanks, surface-to-air missile systems and advanced artillery to keep Bashar al-Assad in power.

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