Who are the real enemies in the Middle East?
Is is ISIS – ransacking, raping and beheading its way across the region to carve out a new Caliphate and threatening terrorism inside U.S. borders – or is it Putin and his gang, cornering American statesmen in a deadly game of chess that could lead at any time to all-out nuclear war?
The answers may be conflicting, but it is clear that Obama has no idea what he is doing, and no way of containing all that confronts U.S. interests overseas. Check.
With Ukraine still boiling in the background, Vladimir Putin has taken things up a notch in Syria, by deploying 28 combat planes to aid Assad’s regime for reasons that don’t exactly rule out offensive attacks, or downplay concerns about Russian aggression..
This is just the latest and most pointed maneuver in the build-up of what has been dubbed “the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union” since its collapse.
AFP reported that the Russia has sent in more than two dozen fighter planes to aid Assad against ISIS:
Russia has deployed 28 combat planes in Syria, US officials said Monday, confirming the latest move in Moscow’s increasing military presence in the war-torn nation.
“There are 28 fighter and bomber aircraft” at an airfield in the western Syrian province of Latakia, one of the officials told AFP… A second official… added there were about 20 Russian combat and transport helicopters at the base. That official also said Russia was operating drones over Syria.
This already complicated proxy war is taking on new dimensions, and arming up for a new phase of conflict.
Russia’s military build-up in Syria has grown to include the shipment of a half-dozen highly sophisticated battle tanks — and more troops — [the] first clear sign of offensive weapons arriving in Syria,” a defense official told Fox News. “This is the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union since the collapse of the USSR.”
The catch, of course, is that Russia is preparing to defend Assad against ISIS – not to pick a fight with the West. But looks could be deceiving, and the schism between East and West cuts too deep to allow for a unified front against terrorism.
The United States has warned that Russian military backing for the Syrian regime only risks sending more extremists to the war-torn country and could further hamper any effort at bringing peace.
Moscow, meanwhile, has been on a diplomatic push to get the coalition of Western and regional powers fighting the Islamic State group to join forces with Assad against the jihadists.
The maneuver is interesting, because evidence continually points towards the covert Western-funding of Islamic State forces, as well as significant overlap between ISIS and anti-Assad rebel forces.
Putin’s latest tact would call the United States on the need to beat back the supposedly-unintentional outgrowth and takeover by the extremist ISIS forces in the region, and prioritize taking out America’s “number one terrorist threat” before belaboring the removal of Bashar al-Assad and empire building in the Middle East.
However, the bulk of United States’ diplomacy so far in the region appears much more concerned with Russia’s overt involvement than with eradicating ISIS forces. Record-sized war games have been acted out by both sides, and many military drills have doubled as stand offs that nearly sparked full-on war, according to reports. Will Putin call their bluff?
And what will it mean for the pending deal with Iran?
There is much, of course, that isn’t being said here, but on the surface, taking ISIS out of the equation would surely be a good thing.
As one commenter stated, “Excellent news. It’s time to get rid of the rebels so Syrians can return home.”
Good idea, only don’t hold your breath.