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, March 15, 2016

Mission (ahem) Accomplished

"Certain positive results have been achieved. A real chance has emerged to put an end to this long-running standoff."
"But it is still early to talk about victory over terrorism. The Russian aviation group has the task to continue carrying out strikes on terrorist facilities."
Nikolai Pankov, Russian Deputy Defence Minister 

"[Messrs Putin and Obama spoke] in a constructive and frank manner. The heads of state noted the importance of full coordination of efforts between representatives of Russia and the United States, including on military matters, to preserve the truce and provide humanitarian assistance to besieged towns, as well as effectively fighting terrorist groups."
Kremlin notes

"[The US president told Putin he] welcomed the much-needed reduction in violence since the beginning of the cessation, but stressed that continuing offensive actions by Syrian regime forces risk undermining both the cessation of hostilities and the UN-led political process."
White House notes

"Hearing is different from seeing things on the ground. We want to see an end not only to Russian troops but all foreign troops. We want to see an end to terrorism in Syria … It is a positive step if they [the Russians] are serious."
Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee
A screengrab from footage of planes flying from Hmeymim airbase to Russia.
A screengrab from footage of planes flying from Hmeymim airbase to Russia. Photograph: Russian ministry of defence/AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin has decided in favour of retiring his warplanes and his forces from Syria, perhaps mindful of the swamp that was left in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, dividing the country in a paroxysm of sectarian conflict, and miring the United States in a zone of tribal and religious conflict it was unable to extricate itself from for years, and finally managed, leaving the country in the shambles that its inner traditional disputes geared it toward.

In the case of Syria, however, that sectarian division and the regime's horrendous response to its majority Sunni population's explicable request for equality with the regime's Alawite Shiite population was already in place, as was a complex and deadly fracturing of the country, much of it in the armed and sinister hands of terrorist Islamists whose atrocities equalled that of the state's. Perhaps in a moment of lucidity, Mr. Putin realized that aligning himself with the Syrian regime had besmirched him.

However, announcing that the tasks that Moscow had set for itself in its support of Bashar al-Assad, the Butcher of Damascus, had been largely fulfilled, that Russian air intervention permitted the Syrian regime's military to "radically" turn the conflict in its favour, when before the arrival of Russian warplanes, the regime's fortunes were decidedly veering in the opposite direction, a timely departure seems wise.

Satisfied that Bashar Assad's army convincingly won key ground to strengthen the government positions ahead of the latest negotiations in Geneva convinced Mr. Putin that five and a half months of Russian air power favouring the Syrian tyrant was enough. The regime could stand on its own feet, given that surge forward. On its own feet, propped on one side by Hezbollah and Shiite militias, and on the other side by the Iranian Republican Guard al-Quds force.

Russia too has made the gains it planned on, and which propelled it toward entering the Syrian conflict. The Hemeimeem airbase in coastal Latakia will remain functionally Russia's to exploit to its continued advantage. Russia would maintain the airbase with its planes and helicopters in numbers satisfactory to its plans to retain a base in the Middle East, now that its credentials as a major player alongside the U.S. had been gained.

"With the tasks set before the Defence Ministry and the military largely fulfilled, I'm ordering the defence minister to start the pullout of the main part of our group of forces from Syria, beginning tomorrow", announced President Putin in a surprise move. Of the more than 50 jets kept busy on frenetic bombing missions and combat sorties, it is unknown how many may remain at the base.

"Personnel are loading equipment, logistics items and inventory into transport aviation aircraft", according to the defence ministry. Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence had ordered deployed elsewhere the "main part" of the Syrian contingent. "We will carry out any command of our commander-in-chief at any point on the planet", commented one returned unnamed pilot. A comment that leaves ample room for speculation.

A Russian SU-34 bomber takes off from the Hmeymim airbase.
A Russian SU-34 takes off from the Hmeymim airbase. Photograph: Russian defence ministry/EPA

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet