Issues Under Fire: “Mission Accomplished”: Russia Claims Victory in Syria
If you watch too much corporate news, you’re gonna miss the real stories being drowned out by the noise it generates. Now, that’s not to say the latest outing of a sex fiend or the most recent updates of the FBI’s investigation of Donald Trump isn’t interesting. It’s just that, the announcement of Syria’s civil war being won by Russia is huge news. And because it’s so huge on so many levels, it boggles the mind as to why this development isn’t getting more attention. Think about it. Vladimir Putin just informed the world that Russia defeated ISIS in Syria and his troops are returning home. As far as Putin is concerned, his Mission was Accomplished. That’s about as big as Osama bin Laden being taken down after avoiding capture for years.
Since few, if any, can argue the results of Russia’s mission, naturally it made sense to review that mission. And astonishingly enough, after taking a closer look, Putin’s mission was astoundingly simple and straightforward. From day one, Russia’s consistently stated position was to protect Syria’s sovereignty from external forces seeking regime change. If a change was to come, it would be through Syria’s political process, as no amount of external pressure would be tolerated. Unfortunately, that external pressure was coming from the United States and the United States wanted regime change in the worse way. So, of course, the Sh*t hit the fan.
Demanding Bashar al-Assad step-down and face war crimes and crimes against humanity as his only option going forward, the Syrian president reached out to Russia for help. From Assad’s perspective, his country was being overrun by radicalized Islamic opportunists. True, there was a legitimate Syrian opposition, but it quickly became impossible to tell who was fighting to overthrow Assad, who was fighting to establish a caliphate or who was just fighting to get paid and access to U.S. arms. At the height of the conflict, there were so many groups involved in the chaos, there was no way to keep count, let alone maintain control of all the players.
When Bashar al-Assad’s borders finally collapsed, leaving easy entry for global jihadist, U.S. Special Forces and other coalition partners seeking his demise, Putin intervened to restore order. And here’s how he did it. Again, keeping things simple, Putin immediately established who the enemy was. Anyone who was not Syrian and fully committed to the survival of the Syrian government, was a legitimate target for elimination. Russia saw no difference between ISIS, al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, this faction or that faction or even the U.S. backed Syrian Rebels in this fight. If you didn’t support Bashar al-Assad, you didn’t belong in Syria. So, the message was clear. Go home or die here.
When it became evident Russia was in this fight for the long haul, it also became evident the United States was forced to calculate the risk of confronting such a formidable foe. As Russia stepped up, the U.S. stepped down. During the alleged chemical weapons use row, Russia stepped in to guarantee the removal of Syria’s stockpiles. To take total control of Syria’s airspace, Russia brought in its own air defense systems and set up its own de facto No Fly Zones. And since no jihadist group has ever been known to boast having an airforce, one can only conclude those air defenses were meant to dissuade U.S. and coalition partners from interfering with Russia’s mission. They were dissuaded.
Bottom line: All things considered, the outcome of Syria’s civil war appears to be an embarrassment at best for the U.S. and the West. After all the bellicose calls for Bashar al-Assad’s head on a platter and the hundreds of billions in dollars spent to train, arm and equip anyone with a pulse to help make that happen, Assad survives, his nation’s sovereignty remains intact, while Russia established a significant foothold in the Middle East. And although this major geopolitical event is essentially being ignored in the Western press, you can be sure the importance and wide-ranging implications of this story will not be overlooked by the astute observer. Podcast below.