Moscow is becoming the de facto capital of Syria, if not Iran.
Russian cruise missiles bombarded positions of rebels fighting the Assad regime, which is totally dependent on Russia and is virtually owned by it.
Iran also might find itself under the thumb of Russia. USA Today reported Thursday that Tehran pressed President Vladimir Putin to become directly involved in the Syrian civil war, which has left the country disintegrated.
Basher al-Assad has held on to power only through the generous supply of weapons from Russia. Now he has the Russian Air Force pummeling rebel positions.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terrorist army has been fighting alongside Assad’s soldiers but have suffered a huge number of casualties.
The Associated Press reported that the commander of Iran’s special elite forces travelled to Russia in August to convince Putin to join the fray, and the counties now operate an intelligence center in Baghdad.
Russia is the only major power that has had the guts to move into Syria. President Barack Obama backed off his threat earlier this year to intervene after there was proof that Assad was using chemical weapons.
Russia intervened and worked out a sleight-of-hand act by which Assad handed over his chemical and biological stockpile to international inspectors. The Obama administration easily swallowed the tale that Assad handed over all of the weapons, many of which were in Syria courtesy of none other than Russia.
Iraq has been disappointed with the American-led strike force’s inability to pulverize the Islamic State (ISIS), and Russia has used ISIS as the perfect excuse to move into Syria, set up an air force base and stake its presence as the power broker in the region.
Whether or not President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry really believed Putin’s promise that Russian forces are in Syria only in order to wage war on ISIS, their illusion that their words speaker louder than action has left them too paralyzed to do anything about it. It was clear from day one that Moscow’s real objective is to save Assad.
Four Russian warships launched 26 missiles against rebel forces as wells ISIS on Wednesday in addition to aerial attacks that have allowed Assad’s foot soldiers to try to take over more territory.
NATO Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia’s military actions are “troubling escalation” and added:
My concern is that the Russians are not mainly targeting ISIS but they are targeting other opposition groups and they are supporting the (Assad) regime.
It’s a bit late for his concern.
Syrian rebels are firing anti-tank missiles at Assad’s soldiers who have Russian aerial support.
Syrian activist Raed Fares was quoted by AP as saying:
Russia is targeting civilians and the Free Syrian Army brigades that are supported by America. They are not targeting the Islamic State as they claimed. Russia is here to keep Assad in power, so they will strike what Assad strikes.
The rebels, and even ISIS, don’t have much of a chance against the superior Russian firepower.
Regardless of its ulterior motives, Russia is the only country in the world that has taken the initiative to directly confront ISIS.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter thinks that Russia is on the wrong track, despite the failure of 7,000 strikes by the U.S.-led force to seriously damage ISIS.
He said in Rome:
We believe Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. This is a fundamental mistake.
If he is wrong and Russia succeeds, it will decide the future of Syria, if not Iran.