Putinist Russia is like a bad funhouse mirror for Western politics: many of the same actions, but cruder and without the elaborate justifications. That’s crucial for propping up his corrupt authoritarian regime when Russians are suffering isolation and economic recession.
Finally, Mr. Putin appears to calculate that the image of a strong Russia taking a leading role on international crises will play well domestically. Perhaps, but military involvement in Syria carries big risks: Russia could get pulled into a quagmire, and a recent Levada poll shows that 69 percent of Russians oppose sending troops to Syria.
Putin’s Russia is also an “information-based dictatorship,” which draws its legitimacy from the support of the television-watching public. As intervention in Ukraine has deteriorated into a nasty intractable mess, “The War on ISIL” is meant to be a new popular TV series in which Russia again bravely fights terrorists and outwits the West. As ever with Putin, this looks more like short-term showmanship than long-term strategy.
In Putin’s media world, the United States caused the current “civil” war in Ukraine by supporting the protests there. And he is convinced the Americans supported the nationalist protests in Russia in 2011-2012 and only Putin’s firm hand averted disaster. So there is a deep identification with dictator Assad at play in Syria.
I think it’s worthwhile to remember that, for the Kremlin, Ukraine remains the number one concern. In the short term, Vladimir Putin’s air offensive in Syria will help Bashar al-Assad retain power. But in the long term, it seems Russia’s presence there is a bargaining chip. Putin has already ended Russia’s diplomatic isolation over Ukraine and scored a meeting with Barack Obama. What’s being discussed behind the scenes? Recognition of Russia’s interests in Ukraine? An end date for sanctions, applied as a punishment because of Crimea annexation? It’s all suddenly on the table now.
The soap opera in Ukraine is put on hold. The heroic separatists with communist stripes, their evil Ukrainian fascist foes, and the cynical Western meddlers have been retired. The new entertainment is a thrilling and exotic epic set in Syria, with the Assad regime as the heroic defenders of civilized values, Russian their valiant allies and the West as the defenders of jihadist barbarians.
Like most soap operas, this plot bears little relation to reality. A peace deal in Syria is possible—but Russia cannot broker or enforce it. That won’t happen, so in the meantime Syria bleeds, Europe quails at the seemingly unstoppable influx of migrants, and Mr Putin chuckles.
His second aim is achieved too. For all its military, diplomatic and economic weakness, Russia has re-established itself as an indispensable power, with which the West must deal—and on Russia’s terms.
But you must not misunderstand Mr. Putin’s mindset. He does not worry about Russia’s long-term economic health. He sees politics as a ruthless zero-sum game in which victory goes to the player with the strongest nerves and fastest movements.
President Putin appears to have multiple objectives with his military offensive in Syria. For the last year he has been looking for a possible short victorious war after his war in Donbas turned out to be neither victorious and nor short. He needed a diversionary maneuver to downplay the failure of the war in eastern Ukraine, so that he can let it slow down. After a lot of trial and error, he seems to have settled for Syria, which has many advantages. The United States has no clear policy, and Europe cannot even think of a policy while being flooded with Syrian refugees. Assad is Russia’s oldest and closest ally. Together with Iran, Russia can shore him up. A Russian Shiite alliance with Iraq and Iran embarrasses the United States. Putin can bomb the at least 2,500 Russian citizens that fight with ISIL. Putin can thus push the United States and Europe to closer interaction with Russia.
But this tactic has serious shortcomings.
The central goal of any campaign against terrorism in Syria must be to divide Isil from the country’s Sunni majority. If Sunnis are forced to choose between Isil and the rule of Assad – a foreign-backed Alawite dictator who has committed every possible atrocity, up to and including the gassing of children – then many will make a decision that we might find uncomfortable.
Nothing would be more likely to rally popular support for Isil than helping Assad to reconquer Syria. The vision of an army backed by Shia Iran and Christian Russia bearing down on Sunnis in the Arabian heartland would fulfil the millenarian fantasies of the most ardent Isil zealot. At a stroke its pitiless worldview would seem to be vindicated.
The only answer is what it has always been: Assad’s departure allowing the birth of a united front against Isil. But the half measures of the West have created a vacuum into which Putin has stepped.
In truth, fighting Isil has never been a priority for Assad. A study conducted by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, found that of 982 operations launched by the regime’s forces in 2014, only 6 per cent targeted Isil. This was the year when Isil overran swathes of eastern Syria, seizing valuable oilfields and their de facto capital, Raqqa.
While this was happening, Assad was hurling 94 per cent of his military effort against the other rebel movements. When Isil advanced, they often captured territory not from the regime but from rival insurgents. By using barrel bombs, chlorine gas and strike aircraft against the rebels in Isil’s path, Assad actually helped the terrorists to gain ground.
Assad’s forces have killed at least 11,000 civilians by using helicopters to drop barrels packed with explosives, shrapnel and flammable liquid. French authorities have launched a criminal probe against the Assad regime for alleged war crimes committed between 2011 and 2013, sources told a news agency on Tuesday night.
The weapons that Russia is sending there are not an attempt to settle the conflict. They are there to protect the Assad regime, which is its cause. Moreover, ISIL does not have warplanes: Russia’s air defense missiles are in Syria for a different purpose.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter proclaimed that the Russian strikes “were in areas where there were not ISIL forces.”
Russian jets have bombed targets in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Idlib and Aleppo, in areas where Isis has no presence, and where opposition groups, including some backed by the US and Gulf states, hold sway. A member of the local governing council in Daarat al-Izza, a town in Aleppo thatwas hit on Friday, said they have not had an Isis presence for a year and a half. The attack targeted a communication centre at the edge of the town belonging to one of the opposition factions. Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary war crimes inquiry on September 15, a source close to the case and a diplomatic source said.
Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary war crimes inquiry on September 15, a source close to the case and a diplomatic source said.
Oil prices are the key reason for Russian intervention in Syria.
The Putin's "war on terror" in Syria is a massive fraud based on deception and illusion. Oil prices were the key reason for Putinist Russia to enter into Syrian conflict. Oil and gas sales bring in nearly 50 percent of Russia’s government revenues; they also account for 70% percent of Russia’s export proceeds. Russian nominal GDP due to the fall of oil and gas prices has shrunk more than twice since 2014. Now it is likely that Italy, India, Canada, Spain and Australia and even New York city, are all more economically significant than Russia. Moscow is so dependent on oil sales to keep its economy chugging along that Russia is estimated to lose $2 billion in potential sales for every dollar the price of oil drops.
Before Putin intervened in Syrian conflict, he tried to settle the deal with Saudis. Saudi officials met with Russian bigwigs during August 2015 to settle the deal over Syria and oil prices. No doubt the Saudis offered to boost oil-prices in return for Moscow disavowing Assad. But sides didn’t produce the right outcome for either side. After that, the Saudi King meets with President Obama and announces Saudi support for the Iran nuke deal. Then Moscow begins to fly in Russian tanks and perhaps 1000 troops to Syria, and possibly some leading-edge fighter jets and anti-aircraft missiles. After his plan to reason with Saudis over oil prices failed, Putin desperately needs to create chaos in the Middle East in order to rise the oil prices.
That is why the main target of Russian forces in Syria is not ISIS, the main target is uncompromising and well-armed enemy of Assad - Saudi Arabia.
Now Putin creates a dome of air defense of Syria - certainly not to fight ISIS. This is to ensure that as soon as possible to fill up a couple of the Saudi aircraft in air combat, having lost at least one own and get an excellent casus belli. Then it is easy to guess about retaliation of Syrian (Russian) aviation. And there they will hit?
They'll hit at oil pipes. In the end, oil prices will rise considerably. Russian budget consists on 50% from oil and gas taxes. That is the main reason for intervention. But that is hard variant, because US has military bases there. Much better and safer variant for him is to transfer ISIS terrorist activities to Iraq or Saudi Arabia, where terrorists can hit oil pipes, which in turn will give Russia additional hundreds of billions dollars in potential oil and gas export revenue.
The war in Syria has begun multistage. Goals for Putin set sweeter to one another in the event of achievement. The rise in oil prices, the humiliation of Obama and even the Pentagon with it's fleet and army. Putin also tries tо inspire terrorism in Europe and send there millions of muslim refugees who in short help him to destroy European Union and weaken Nato in Europe. That is a complete reversal of the chessboard with a possibility to restore old Soviet borders in Europe.
Putin has no equal to him on the aspirations of players in this field. Cowardice of western leaders will ruin our world!