Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Take On Russia Launching Air Strikes On Syria

WNU Editor: I was woken up this morning by a friend in Moscow who called me wanting to know what was my take on Russia launching air strikes on rebel positions in Syria. My immediate reaction .... why get involved in a quagmire that will not be severely impacted by such air strikes. After-all .... the U.S. has launched thousands of air strikes on ISIS positions in both Syria and Iraq for a year now .... and the conflict is only getting worse. So how can Russia change that with its limited (and probably not as accurate) air campaign? My guess that it is all about international politics, Russian internal politics, and fulfilling certain national security interests. Unfortunately .... this is only going to make the situation in Syria far worse .... it will prolong the conflict, escalate the flow of jihadists into Syria who now want to fight against the Russians, and exacerbate the Sunni - Shiite conflict in both Iraq and Syria. But my big worry is what would happen if Russian and U.S. air forces end up shooting at each other (deliberately or accidentally) over Syria. There is no coordination between the two powers, and I am even more worried that no back-channels have been set up in the event that everything goes all wrong. To say that we are entering a dangerous time is an understatement.


Publius said...

1. I agree that Russia's intervention increases the danger of conflict with the United States and other Western powers who are also bombing in Syria. I speculate that such danger is manageable, because the rebels do not have air forces, and Assad's air force has not challenged anyone bombing Syria. In other words, Western and Russian pilots won't mistake each other's planes for their respective targets.

2. Russia's intervention decisively backs the Assad/Hezbollah/Iran side. As I have previously said, none of major actors in this war are good guys; the West is more ambivalent which side to support.

3. Russia's intervention is also about getting and keeping naval and air bases in Syria. Russia will keep those bases whether or not Assad falls, and whether or not Syria breaks up into pieces, Lebanon style. Having bases in the Med has been a Russian strategic goal since Tsarist times. It is a measure of Assad's weakness that he has granted the Russians the bases his father always denied them.

4. Russian bases in the Med is a strategic defeat for the West. Russian power to cause trouble in the Eastern Mediterranean region and near the Suez canal is much stronger now. That is a serious potential conflict with the West, more serious (in my view) than the conflict in Syria itself. The United States President almost certainly does not see this danger.

5. I agree with WNU Editor's comments, with one minor quibble: I think that the Syrian war will last years, perhaps decades, regardless of Russia's armed intervention. In other words, Russia's intervention will not lengthen the war.

Bob Huntley said...

Thousands of airstrikes? Are 75% of those planes still coming back with their bombs not dropped?

Anonymous said...

The more they bomb daesh the happier i get. Hope they take out all their training camps

Bob Huntley said...

Maybe I'm media brainwashed but I imagine the Russians might use a bit less caution where bombing might kill civilians.

RRH said...

Russia strikes me as being a bit more serious about destroying the Isalmo fascists as opposed to making noises and appearing to do something. We shouldn't be surprised if we see the logistics train out of Turkey being hit hard. The Jordan route may get some attention as well if the Saudis make a play.

The SAA and friends will mix it up on the ground, fix the terrorists in place, back off, and have the Russians bomb/shell them. We will then see mop up operations and the Mukhhabarat doing its thing in the liberated zones. I'm a bit more opti istic about
things than most of the analysts/commenters we ve been reading.

My friends in Syria have said the mood has definitely changed and that there is a sense of renewed vigour among the population and in the army. They feel a sense of vindication that after five years of fighting they are finally getting straight up support from a major (possibly two) power. People are eager to come to grips with the rebels/ISIS. We should expect an increase in very grisly scenes of (lots of) dead wahhibis coming out of Syria.

They are also keen to "straighten out" things with Turkey, the Saudis, and yes, Israel. A real sore spot is Aleppo where, I've been told, a lot of industrial machinery was stolen and spirited off to Turkey. The Israeli bombings and aid to the Islamo-fascists in the border areas is a big matter of unfinished business. As for the Saudis, "those mother.......", the Syrians will never forget, or forgive.

There is no talk of accepting a "rump state" partition. The only people is hear support for getting their own land/area are the Kurds, who "earned it".

The talk of more Jihadists being sent to Syria and increased radicalization, if realized, will mean more dead Jihadists. The Syrians and other Arabs who have decided to fight, not run, are playing for keeps. They've got the wind to their backs.

This does beg the question: why are the US and friends not calling off the Saudi/Turkish dogs? Is it not time for for a loud public denunciation of support for these fascists? The lack thereof provides a lot more evidence of western intentions and motivations than anything they've been saying in the media.

phill said...


Do you honestly think the the United States of America as any sort of absolute control of either Saudi Arabia or Turkey?

And who are our friends exactly?, I my really my tax money compared to who?

James said...

2,3, and 4. Especially four.

RRH said...

Absolute control? No. Influence? Yes.

RRH said...

I don't know if the US has friends anymore or just clients, vassals, groupies, toadies, and imposters. The Canadians are friends but we're a simple bunch and more of an embarrassment (to you and ourselves) than anything else.

One of my American friends said that he doesnt feel bad about Russia doing what she is and that it's time for the US to take a step back. The world won't fall to pieces without the US managing things. It's been doing an awesome job of that with them intervening.

This isn't to say everything is their fault, which is an oh so convenient excuse for oh so may who have simply failed to do right by their country (goverments and the common people). It is to say, lately especially, they've been doing more harm than good at great expense to themselves and others. There's a role for the US just not a leading one anymore. The sooner it's accepted in Washington and other places, the better.

A positive effect will be that a whole lot of people will have to start taking responsibility for themselves and their problems. They won't have Washington to hide behind anymore.