Due to a stunning turn of events in the Syrian civil war, we’re delighted to step away from the lunacy of America’s 2016 race for the White House.

Announcing an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, Vladimir Putin placed the world on notice, the next phase of his strategy is to intensify efforts for peace at the U.N.-mediated talks in Geneva. Caught totally off guard (at least publicly), Western powers have yet to respond coherently or collectively to Putin’s latest moves.
“The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process,” he said.”I believe that the task put before the defense ministry and Russian armed forces has, on the whole, been fulfilled.” Since Vladimir Putin is essentially saying his military mission in Syria has been accomplished, we thought it’d be a cool idea to analyze what that mission was.
If Russian forces were charged with bombing the hell out of any and everyone not supporting the Bashar al-Assad government, then that mission was a success. If Russian forces were charged with giving the Assad’s government forces enough support to beat back domestic and foreign fighters, then that mission was a success. If Russian forces were charged with forcing all relevant parties to the negotiating table, one would have to conclude this was a success too.
As a result of these undeniable successes, it’ll be clearer going forward to see who’s willing to compromise and who’s willing to keep the fight alive. Thus far, the United States, regional coalition partners, Syrian rebels, as well as a multitude of militant maniacs, are still refusing to accept Bahsar al-Assad as part of Syria’s future in any capacity whatsoever.

Despite United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistrura telling all waring parties there was no “Plan B” other than a full resumption of the conflict, Western hard liners seem wedded to Assad’s demise or departure and the sooner the better. However, with an international refugee crisis expanding by the minute, drawing red lines and establishing non-negotiable positions over anything is probably unwise, considering the mounting death toll and no other viable plans being offered at this time.

Still, Valdimir Putin being Vladimir Putin, he didn’t exactly give a hard timeline as to when all Russian military forces would be out or if this latest move would include a long term cessation of air strikes. Considering Russia will be keeping a contingent of military personnel (size and strength unknown) at an airbase in Syria’s Latakia provence, theoretically he could turn up the heat again if conditions change or the talks collapse.
Those unfamiliar with Putin’s tactics would be wise to review the Russian/Ukraine conflict of 2014. The Russian president recognized a state mired in chaos and corruption and took full advantage of the situation. When Russian speaking Ukrainians claimed they were under siege and being marginalized by the nation’s majority, Putin used that crisis to move in quietly, establish a barely discernible footprint and captured the ground he wanted.
By the time the United States and the European Union realized what Putin was doing, Russia had annexed Crimea and was passing out Russian passports to all their new grateful citizens. And while the West screamed bloody murder in demonizing and sanctioning his actions, Vlaidmir Putin was being hailed as a hero at home. To this day, his domestic approval rating remains the envy of most world leaders.
Bottom line: No matter how this story is spun by the White House, the reality is, Vladimir Putin took control of the Syrian conflict by identifying, targeting and eliminating terrorist threats to Syria’s sovereign government. Ignoring veiled threats from the West to stay out of the fight, Russia stood by its regional ally and turned the United States and other Western powers into sidelined spectators. Where we go from here is a mystery because only Vladimir Putin knows for sure.
The Podcast.