1 to 0.1 for Russians, and 0 for westerners. This is the result – at least in this dangerous game it plays in Syria and in this country, which could lead Russia and the United States on the brink of confrontation. On the last day of September, Vladimir Putin attacked. After the creation of an air bridge over Iran and Iraq, in recent weeks, the transfer of South Latakia airport with an impressive Russian army was expected.
Putin’s goal is clear: Bashar al-Assad and his regime were saved by securing the Alawite region, on the edge of the Mediterranean. To build this castle ‘around the Syrian President, the Russians began in two phases. First: From September 30th, they launched a bombing campaign (more than 100 in one week) on ‘terrorist’ sites of the center and northwest of the country. For Americans, 90% of these strikes have targeted moderate rebel groups, some of whom are armed and trained by the CIA and Western alliance (including France), not ISIS jihadists. The second stage: ground attack. It was launched on October 7 by the Syrian army, was backed by Russian bombing and was aimed at recovering lost areas in the center and northwest of the country. On October 8, missiles were launched from Russian corvettes in the Caspian Sea, to support the Syrian army supported by Hezbollah and Shiite militias. “The targets were the targets of the moderate opposition,” the Pentagon said.
Russian strikes are effective
It is very clear that Russian strikes appear to be more effective than Western strikes that have not succeeded in reversing ISIS, despite producing 2,500 in one year. For experts, there are several reasons for this imbalance between the two sides. Westerners only refer to the Islamic State’s military objectives and have no men on the ground (or very few) who are able to provide information. The incredible American plane that was bombed from high altitude. The Russians have, Syrian intelligence. From their keystrokes, to Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast, their ground-attack aircraft, SU-25, and their helicopter gunships do not hesitate to target targets near civilians fleeing northwest Turkey. They are from evil. These days, they have bombed a moderate rebel group near two Sunni cities, Homs and Hama, and the Salafists from Ahrar al-Sham and the Danube Front (enemy of the Syrian Islamic State’s al-Qaeda wing) in the vicinity of Damascus.
Putin’s second goal is equally clear: He wants to leave the Western coalition plane, the Turks and Syrians, the Syrian sky, to create glazing around the system in the center and northwest of the country. This was done. On October 7, the Pentagon announced the “forwarding” of a US aircraft to prevent Russian aircraft. NATO commander in Europe, General Philip Braidlov, also mentioned that Moscow created this type of bubble ‘in the Black Sea after invading Crimea. The Western and Arab coalition led by the United States is, in fact, a button.
Putin’s third goal: to make it clear to the Turks that their dream to create a buffer zone, under their control, to host refugees and control the Kurds, on a portion of Syrian territory on the edge of their borders, has vanished. On two occasions, the Russian MiG violated Turkish airspace and one of them voluntarily reached Ankara on the border, angering Erdogan, the Turkish president who immediately received NATO support, of which his country is a member.
Defeating Bashar Al-Assad will be Putin’s defeat
Why does Putin play if he is big in Syria, with the risk of causing a military incident with the Americans? “He bet on Bashar four years (at the beginning of the Syrian spring) and he has not changed,” says a Russian political scientist. The result: Today, Bashar Al-Assad will be defeated as well. It seems impossible for Syria to always be ‘strategic folder’. Save the Syrian regime. For Russia, it has a pawn in the Middle East to call back. It also allows his country to respond on the international stage, forget about the defeat of Afghanistan, overthrow Gaddafi, abolish the Warsaw Pact in 1991, and the tendency of NATO to extend its influence to the east (Poland), in an attempt to merge Ukraine). It also has the only port that provides facilities in the eastern Mediterranean, Tartus. Not to mention that Putin, obsessed with the jihadist threat, hope, now the Russian presence in Syria, determines any Islamic transgression in countries on the southern edge of Russia, not to mention the danger of ISIS stability on the Mediterranean coast, in an area that has rich deposits of marine gas.
So, last April, the town of Jisr al-Shughur was seized by a rebel opposition coalition that formed a click for Putin. Near the Turkish border in the far northwest of Syria, the Jisr al-Shughur site is a strategic location. Latakia opened its way to the rebels, and perhaps tomorrow ISIS. Moscow did not intend to allow. Officially, he fights terrorism. In fact, he saved Bashar al-Assad’s head. Vladimir Putin is trying to assemble a broad coalition under his leadership that includes not only his Iranian allies and Hezbollah, but also Western alliance countries and Arab states. Last summer, he invited Moscow, the Iranian president, to meet Barack Obama and the Saudis. Failure. Obama rejects his offer, the Saudis and the Gulf countries do not want not to ally with the Iranians or save the Syrian president.
So Putin will play with the Shiites in the region: Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, and their Shiite prime minister. Moscow is installing a “joint cooperation and coordination cell” in Baghdad, sending weapons in Syria and launching its planes to the rebels indiscriminately, on September 30. “The attack is planned to last three months,” he said, to become the de facto leader of the Shiite alliance. We face it, the Westerners, the Americans, who lead the Sunni coalition. Everyone says that they are fighting the terrorists, each of them supports Bashar, while others want his departure. More than one religious war was lost in this Syrian regime.