Makes "Final" Decision To Send Troops To Syria
February 11, 2016 "Information
As you might
have heard, the opposition in Syria is in serious
Last summer, Bashar al-Assad’s army was on the
ropes, as the SAA fought a multi-front war against a
dizzying array of rebel forces including ISIS. Then
Quds commander Qassem Soleimani went to Russia.
After that, everything changed.
As of September 30 the Russian air force began
flying combat missions from Latakia, rolling back
rebel gains and paving the way for a Hezbollah
ground offensive. Once Moscow had stopped the
bleeding for the SAA (both figuratively and
literally), Iran called up Shiite militias from Iraq
who, alongside Hassan Nasrallah’s forces, pushed
north towards Aleppo.
Now, the city is surrounded and the rebels
are cut off from their supply line to Turkey.
In short: it’s just a matter of time before the
opposition is routed.
So much for
President Obama’s “Russia will get itself into a
The only thing that can save the rebels at this
juncture is a direct intervention by the groups’
Sunni benefactors including Saudi Arabia, the UAE,
Qatar, and Turkey.
That, or an intervention by the US.
Both the Saudis and the Turkey have
hinted at ground invasions over the past two weeks
and just this morning, a
Riyadh's decision to send in troops was "final."
But direct interventions are tricky. Russia has
never denied it intends to bolster Syrian government
forces against the rebels, all of whom Moscow deems
“terrorists.” On the other hand, Washington, Riyadh,
Doha, and Ankara cling to the notion that while they
don’t support Assad, they’re primary goal is to
fight ISIS. Well ISIS is in Raqqa, which is nowhere
near Aleppo, meaning there’s no way to help the
rebels out in their fight against the Russians,
Iranians, and Hezbollah under the guise of battling
Against that backdrop we found it
interesting that Moscow and Washington are now
delivering conflicting accounts of airstrikes in
Aleppo on Wednesday. The Pentagon,
without specifying what time the strikes allegedly
took place, says Russia destroyed the city’s two
Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov notes
that Warren didn’t provide either hospitals’
coordinates, or the time of the airstrikes, or
sources of information. “Absolutely nothing,” he
said, describing Warren’s report.
The Kremlin, on the other hand, says US warplanes
conducted strikes at 1355 Moscow time. “Two U.S. Air
Force A-10 attack aircraft entered Syrian airspace
from Turkish territory,” Konashenkov said in a
statement. “Reaching Aleppo by the most
direct path, they made strikes against objects in
“Only aviation of the anti-ISIS coalition flew over
the city yesterday,” he added.
“When asked on Wednesday whether the U.S.-led
coalition could do more to help rebels in Aleppo or
improve access for humanitarian aid to the city,
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said that
the coalition's focus remained on fighting Islamic
Reuters wrote on Thursday. The group is
"virtually non-existent in that part of Syria,”
Right. Which makes you wonder what two US Air Force
A-10 attack planes were doing bombing in and around
Aleppo. Is the US set to conduct airstrikes in
support of the rebels, thus marking a fresh and
exceptionally dangerous escalation of hostilities in
As for what exactly it was that the US warplanes
struck, Konashenkov will have to get back to us.
He’s too busy winning a war to care right now:
“I’m going to be honest with you: we did not
have enough time to clarify what exactly those
nine objects bombed out by US planes in Aleppo
yesterday were. We will look more carefully."
* * *
excerpts from “Will
Russian Victories In Syria Spark A Regional War?”
by Yaroslav Trofimov as originally published in WSJ
Defying U.S. predictions of a quagmire in Syria,
Russia is achieving strategic victories there with
Aleppo offensive. The question now is whether
this is a turning point that hastens the five-year
war’s end or the trigger for a counter-escalation
that will drag other regional countries into the
Few expect that Moscow’s main target—the moderate
rebels backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the
U.S.—would now be forced settle the conflict on the
Kremlin’s, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s,
“Their victory in Aleppo is not the end of the war.
It’s the beginning of a new war,” said Moncef
Marzouki, who served in 2011-14 as the president of
Tunisia, the nation that kicked off the Arab Spring,
and who recently visited the Turkish-Syrian border.
“Now, everybody would intervene.”
To be sure, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have
few easy options to counter Russian military
might in Syria. But because of national pride—and
internal politics—neither can really afford to have
the rebel cause in which they have invested so much
wiped out by Moscow and its Iranian allies.
While the Obama administration has long been
determined to minimize U.S. involvement there, for
Turkey and Saudi Arabia the prospect of Syria
falling under the sway of Russia and Iran would be a
situation, not just for Turkey but for the entire
Middle East, would be reshaped. The Western
influence will fade away. The question is: Can we
accept Russia, and the Iranians, calling the tune in
the region?” said Umit Pamir, a former Turkish
ambassador to NATO and the United Nations.