Vladimir Putin has just ordered the withdrawal of the Russian forces in Syria:
“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished. That is why I order to start withdrawal of the main part of our military group from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic starting from tomorrow,” Putin said on Monday during a meeting with Shoigu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“In a short period of time Russia has created a small but very effective military group in Syria. The effective work of our military forces allowed the peace process to begin,” Putin said, adding that “Russian government troops and [Syria’s] patriotic forces have changed the situation in the fight with international terrorism and have seized the initiative.”
The first question which needs to be asked is whether this is correct: have the Russians achieved their objective or not? To answer this question, we need to look at what the initial Russian objectives were. I did that in my article “Week Thirteen of the Russian Intervention in Syria: debunking the lies” where I wrote: (emphasis added)
The key issue here is what criteria to use to measure “success”. And that, in turns, begs the question of what the Russians had hoped to achieve with their intervention in the first place. It turns out that Putin clearly and officially spelled out what the purpose of the Russian intervention was. On October 11th, he declared the following in an interview with Vladimir Soloviev on the TV channel Russia 1:
Our objective is to stabilize the legitimate authority and create conditions for a political compromise
That’s it. He did not say that Russia would single-handedly change the course of the war, much less so win the war. And while some saw the Russian intervention as a total “game changer” which would mark the end of Daesh, I never believed that. Here is what I wrote exactly one day before Putin make the statement above:
Make no mistake here, the Russian force in Syria is a small one, at least for the time being, and it does not even remotely resemble what the rumors had predicted (…) There is no way that the very limited Russian intervention can really change the tide of the war, at least not by itself. Yes, I do insist that the Russian intervention is a very limited one. 12 SU-24M, 12 SU-25SM, 6 SU-34 and 4 SU-30SM are not a big force, not even backed by helicopters and cruise missiles. Yes, the Russian force has been very effective to relieve the pressure on the northwestern front and to allow for a Syrian Army counter-offensive, but that will not, by itself, end the war.
I was harshly criticized at that time for “minimizing” the scope and potential of the Russian operation, but I chose to ignore these criticisms since I knew that time would prove me right.
Today’s declaration finally puts to rest the “most anticipated showdown” and other “game changer” theories. At least I hope so :-)
The Russian intervention is a stunning success, that is indisputable. Vladimir Putin and the Russian military ought to be particularly praised for having set goals fully commensurate with their real capabilities. The Russians went in with a small force and they achieved limited goals: the legitimate authority of the Syrian government has been stabilized and the conditions for a political compromise have been created. That is not an opinion, but the facts on the ground. Not even the worst Putin-haters can dispute that. Today’s declaration shows that the Russians are also sticking to their initial exit strategy and are now confident enough to withdraw their forces. That is nothing short of superb (when is the last time the USA did that?).
Still, this leaves many unanswered questions.
A partition of Syria?
By withdrawing their forces the Russians could be giving the signal to the USA that they are free to have their “little victorious war” against Daesh. But this could also be a trap. If you consider the complete failure of the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, you could wonder why they would suddenly do so much better in Syria, especially considering that besides Daesh they might also come face to face with Iranians and Hezbollah fighters. Furthermore, unlike the Russian Aerospace forces, the Americans will be committing ground forces and these have a much bigger tendency to get bogged down in long counter-insurgency operations. If I was a US military advisor I would caution my commanders against a ground operation in Syria even if the Russians are gone.
Still, what if the Americans are successful? After all, Daesh has taken a bad beating any maybe they can be at least pushed out of Raqqa? Maybe. But if that happens then the question will become whether the Americans will try to achieve a de facto partition of Syria (de jure they cannot, since a UNSC Resolution specifically called for a unitary state).
Partitioning Syria has been, and still is, the longterm Israeli goal. Considering the immense power of the Neocons today (nevermind a Hillary Presidency!) the chances that the US will be trying to partition Syria are immense.
And what if the Americans either fail or don’t even take the bait and stay out of Syria? Does the Russian withdrawal not risk leaving eastern Syria in Daesh hands? Would that not be just another de facto partition of the country? Maybe. Again, this is a real risk.
Finally, if the Turks and their Saudi allies do invade, that would almost certainly result in a partition of Syria as it is doubtful that the Syrian government could take on Daesh and Turkey and the Saudis at the same time. Iran, of course, might, but this would result in a major escalation threatening the entire region.
I think that the risk of a partition of Syria is, alas, very real. However, that being said, I would like to remind everybody that Russia does not have any moral or legal obligation to single-handedly preserve the territorial integrity of Syria. In purely legal terms, this is an obligation of every single country on earth (because of the UN Charter and the recent UNSC Resolution) and in moral terms, this is first and foremost the obligation of the Syrian people themselves. I think that it would be praiseworthy for Russia to do everything she can to prevent a partition of Syria,and I am confident that Russia will do her utmost, but that does not mean that this is a Russian obligation.
Future Russian options and operations?
I want to draw your attention to the following words by Putin: “I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished“. For those unfamiliar with the context (evaluation of a military operation) this might sound like a total approval. It is not. In Russian military terminology “generally accomplished” is better than “satisfactory” and roughly equivalent to “good” but not “excellent”. Putin is not saying that the performance of the Russian forces was less than perfect, but what he is saying is that the goals set out initially have not been fully/perfectly reached. In other words, this leaves the door open for a “objectives completion” operation.
The second interesting moment in today’s statement is that Putin added that “to control the observation of ceasefire agreements in the region, Moscow will keep its Khmeimim airbase in Latakia province and a base at the port of Tartus“.
To me the combination of these two statements points to the high probability that the Russians are keeping their options open. First, they will continue to supply the Syrians with hardware, training, intelligence and special operations and, second, they will retain the option of using military power if/when needed. Not only will Russia retain the capability to strike from the Caspian, the Mediterranean or with her long-range bombers, but she is likely to leave enough pre-positioned supplies and personnel in Tartus, Khmeimim and elsewhere in Syria to be ready to intervene at very short notice (say in case of a Turkish attack towards Latakia, for example).
Finally, I am confident that when speaking to the (newly created) “moderate opposition” the Russians will carefully but regularly drop hints about the need to achieve a negotiated agreement with the Syrian government “lest the war resume again with a new intensity” (or something along these lines). Keep in mind that, unlike their US counterparts, the Russian diplomats and intelligence officers truly understand their counterparts, not only because they are fluent in the local languages and understand the culture, but because the single important quality expected from a Russian diplomat or intelligence officer is the ability to understand the real, profound, motives of the person you are speaking to, to put yourself into his/her shoes. I have had enough personal experience with Russian diplomats and intelligence officers to be sure that they are already patiently talking to all the key figures in positions of power inside the so-called “moderate resistance” to maximize the stake each one of them might have in a negotiated solution. Oh sure, there will be beautiful speeches in the plenary meetings and conferences, but they key effort will be made in informal conversations happening in restaurants, back-rooms and various hotels where the Russians will make darn sure they convey to their interlocutors that he/she have a very personal interest in a successful negotiation. There will be a lot of bargaining involving promises and hinted threats and while some will, of course, resist such “gentle pressures”, the cumulative effect of such informal meetings will be crucial. And if that means preparing 500 different approaches and negotiation techniques for 500 different contacts, the Russians will put the manpower, time and effort to make it happen.
It is way too early right now to give a categorical evaluation of the timing and consequences of the Russian withdrawal from Syria. Let us also keep in mind that there is a lot we don’t know. What we do know is that Sergei Lavrov has had an absolutely crazy schedule over the past month or so and that Russian diplomats have been holding intense negotiations with all the regional powers. I am confident that the Russians planned their withdrawal at least as carefully as the planned their intervention and that they have left as many open options as possible. By the way, the big advantage of a unilateral decision is that, unlike one taken as part of an agreement with other parties, it can be unilaterally rescinded too. It took the Russian just days to launch their initial operation even though they had to execute it all in difficult conditions and under the cloak of secrecy. How long would it take them to move back into Syria if needed?
When all is said and done, I simply trust Vladimir Putin. No, no just because I am a Putin fanboy (which, of course, I am!), but because of his record of being right and taking difficult, even risky, decisions which eventually yielded Russia yet another unforeseen success.
Like any good chess player, Putin knows that one of the key factors in any war is time and so far Putin has timed his every move superbly. Yes, there were times in the past when I got really worried about what looked to me as either too much waiting or as dangerous risk-taking, but every single time my fears ended up being unfounded. And yes, I can easily muster up a long list of potentially catastrophic scenarios for Syria, but I think that this would only make sense if Putin had, like Obama, a long and impressive list of failures, disasters, miscalculations and embarrassing defeats on his record. But he does not. In fact, what I see is an amazing list of successes achieved against very difficult odds. And they key to Putin’s success might well be that he is a hardcore realist.
Russia is still weak. Yes, she is stronger than in the past and she is rising up very fast, but she still is weak, especially in comparison to the still immense AngloZionist Empire whose resources simply dwarf Russia’s in most categories. However, this comparative weakness also forces the Kremlin to be very careful. When an empire is rich and powerful being arrogant and over-estimating your own capabilities is not nearly as bad as when a much weaker country does it. Just look at the USA under Obama: they went from one humiliating and costly defeat to another – yet they are still here and still powerful, almost as powerful as they used to be 10 years ago. While in the long run the kind of hubris and gross incompetence we nowadays observe in US decision-makers will result in the inevitable collapse of the Empire, in the medium to short term there is no truly painful price to pay for failure. Just one example: just think of the US military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are absolute and total failures, abject disasters of incalculable magnitude. They will go down in history as amongst the worst foreign policy failures ever. And yet, walking around in downtown New York or San Fransisco you would never think that you are visiting a country which just lost two major and long wars.
Russia does not have such a “luxury of power”, she has to make every bit count and she has to plan each move with utmost precision. Just like a tightrope walker with no safety harness, Putin knows that a single misstep can have catastrophic consequences.
To withdraw the bulk of the Russian military task force in Syria right now is a gutsy and potentially risky move for sure, but I am confident that it is also the right one. But only time will tell if my confidence is warranted or not.
What’s going on? Is it a withdrawal or a retreat? Has Putin shot himself in the foot? The sane world was expecting at least removing the threats to the Syrian nation. Many people will be disappointed.
>The sane world was expecting at least removing the threats to the Syrian nation.
The sane world..Is that the same world as the west?
What a mind bender this is for the “west”
I can play chess a bit. Could beat the kids until they refused to play with me. Now I just sit and watch.
we will know the significance when Iran announces some kind of response, while air power stabilizes the situation it is the boots on the ground which will determine the peace talks. So far Iran has kept numb, the S-300 appears to be delayed again. Let’s wait and see.
Good analysis Saker.
Wow Putin’s actions have ruffled a few feathers, hit a few soft spots and exposed raw nerves…
Count the number of new commenters and the plethora of ‘annons’ here that are making rather odd ‘know it all’ arm chair warrior and anti-Russia statements.
Australian news threw together a hodge podge of info in 30 seconds they covered – Putin’s withdrawal of troops- images of streams of ‘Syrian’ refugee – and the US coalition helping ‘them’.
Different people will have different opinions of the recent moves by the Russian president Putin. Some will say its a bad move while others will express the opposite view. Whatever view one holds of this recent move one thing is undisputable, president Putin is the grand master of surprise moves.
This latest act has I’m pretty sure caught the “exceptionals” completely by surprise and wrong footed yet again, the latest in a series of such moves by president Putin. He keeps catching them by surprise and never knowing where the rabbit is going to pop up next.
I share the Sakers trust in president Putin. He will never let Syria fall into the hands of the hegemons takfiri proxy dogs, this is something Russia simply cannot afford to do and will never do. If the “one indispensable nation” misinterprets this move by the Russians as showing weakness then more fool them.
Superb! Once again, president Putin makes it clear who’s in charge overall. No comparison with the permanent, pathetic, abysmal counter-performance, everywhere, on the part of the Empire…
Above all, president Putin has acted so splendidly that all Russia’ s enemies involved in the Syrian conflict, with their desperate attempts at regime change, have been unmasked and totally, disastrously discredited for the whole world to see. THAT is no small feat.
Russian professionalism today shines brilliantly. President Putin is clearly supported by a large group of outstanding men and women of stature.
I red Fort-Russ piece on the subject:
It will interesting to see if the airbase is kept idle or still bombing terrorists at the same pace.
Or of if withdrawing, when and how fast. Syrian army is 4km form Palmyra, marching towards Raqqa.
Like everyone else I thought “hell no! ways to early!”
If fortruss is right and if that “‘withdarwal” is only a bargaining chip for forthcoming next round of peacetalks then it means syrian army offensive will proceed unabatted.
I can’t tell future, we’ll see…
agreed-definitely worth being understood in parallel with Sakers article, would inform some doubters here. with ref to
However I would like to know what remains that Rus is active in, obviously the joint Rus-USA monitoring of the ceasefire, presumably the intelligence centre/ with Iran and iraq?
will the Rus Defence Ministry be still announcing any strikes actions against Daesh al-nusrah and any ‘opposition’ that has not signed up to peace process, and what exactly is the USA coalition up to these days, still doing any strikes themselves, which are the active members of this coalition, does the Saudi coalition have any action happening at the moment too……..presumably there will be any reports if Turkish, saudi military make any moves which will be reported back to UNSC
anna -news perspective
“Yesterday, suddenly and unexpectedly Putin said the withdrawal of the Russian VKS from Syria!
What we have:
– a naval base in Tartus and aviation in Hmeymime which will operate in normal mode as a Russian military base.
– All our advisers are on the ground.
– All volunteers, “North wind” remain in place.
– Military-technical assistance in full .
– Six months ago, the United States, Turkey, the European Union and the Saudis refused to even talk about negotiations with Assad and any future Syrian authorities. Today, all fully recognize that Assad and his government are full participants in the negotiating process and without them to achieve peace in Syria is impossible.
– Beginning and goes vnutrisiriysky dialogue, negotiation and partial truce.
– Appointed and will be held parliamentary elections.
– Block threats of military intervention from the outside ( “Saudi” coalition, NATO and the US)
– For the six months released more than five hundred cities, towns and villages. Eliminated main threats – released district of Latakia, reset in the main air bases and garrisons returned to the oil fields of Palmyra (the liberation of the city, a matter of time) goes squeezing the militants out of Aleppo.
– Disturbed supply main Islamic groups
– restored the combat capability of the Syrian army, it enhanced equipment and weapons, at all levels of training it goes our advisors.
– Achieve full defeat of the army LIH and its closest allies.
– Fully take control of the border of Syria and Turkey.
– To clear of militants Aleppo, the suburbs of Damascus and Hama.
– Can the Syrian army in its present form on to defend his country?
With the support of allies – Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, the Kurds – definitely!
– Does this mean that the threat of capture Syria blocked?
No! The threat persists. And all achieved through the joint efforts of six months could be lost.
In this case, it is necessary to be aware.
The alternative conclusion is a full-fledged entry of our troops and the full retraction of the war with the Sunni world with uncertain prospects.
The fact that we did not go for it, he says, that the decision is correct.”
is the daily summary of specific action against terrorists in areas eg Homs Aleppo, Latakia etc etc, progress of reconcilations, ceasefire agreements etc etc
extract “Moscow will support federalization of Syria, if by that favors the people of the Arab republic, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after talks with Foreign Minister of Tunisia Hmayisom al -Dzhhinaui.
“It will be an agreement between the Syrian government and the entire opposition spectrum for future devices of Syria, such an agreement we will support. This follows directly from the MTT solutions (Syria International Support Group). Every form, no matter how it was called – federalization, decentralization, a unitary state – should be subject to the consent of all Syrians. We never tried to solve anything for the Syrian people “, – said the head of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. ‘
note Rus helped format a united group of various minor groups to represent themselves at the peace process, kind of nullifying the saudi backed HNC? Not sure but that is what it seems to be for me………………..note west is putting the onus back on Putin just like they do on Minsk fulfillments, whereas clearly onus is back to UNSC and the peace negotiations being held-international law emphasis. puts the USA in a spot?
“GENEVA, March 15. /TASS/. The delegation of Syria’s patriotic opposition that has been formed at the Khemimim base is expected to come to Geneva “any day,” Russian Permanent Representative to the Office of the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin told reporters on Tuesday.
Kremlin sees its main task in Syria in promoting peace process
“The delegation of the (Syrian) internal patriotic opposition that has been formed at a conference held at Khmeimin is expected to arrive in Geneva any day,” he said.
The diplomat also noted that Russian diplomats in Geneva will hold a meeting with the Syrian government delegation at the intra-Syrian talks on Tuesday.
“Yesterday, here in Geneva, we already held a meeting with representatives of the Syrian opposition Qadri Jamil and Randa Kassis,” he said. “A meeting with the Syrian government delegation led by [Syria’s Ambassador to the UN] Bashar Jaafari is to be held today.”
Russia satisfied by work of Syria task forces
According to Borodavkin, Moscow is satisfied by the work of Syria humanitarian and ceasefire task forces.
“We are satisfied by how these mechanisms work,” Borodavkin said.
Russian diplomats and military are praised for their effort to investigate and prevent cases of ceasefire violations and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian citizens, he added.
GENEVA, March 15. /TASS/. Russia has proposed to the UN Independent Commission on the investigation of possible human rights violations in Syria to prepare a report on crimes committed by terrorist groups, Russian delegation’s representative Alexei Goltyayev said on Tuesday at a session of the UN Human Rights Council.
“We urge the commission to intensify the activity in the sphere of collecting and publication of the data on terrorist groups’ crimes in Syria,” he said. “A separate report on crimes committed by Jabhat al-Nusra and terrorist groups acting in conjunction with Al Qaeda would be quite relevant today.”
Putin informs US leader Obama of Russia’s military pullout from Syria — Kremlin
Truce in Syria enters into third week to give Geneva talks a chance
Humanitarian aid sent to Syrian city partly seized by gunmen
Goltyayev also said that the UN Human Rights Council should promote a truce in Syria and not push the conflict sides towards confrontation. “Unfortunately, a number of countries continue to push UNHCR towards confrontation,” he said. “The draft resolution on Syria circulated by them does not take into account the objective reality, contains false messages and intentionally distorts the situation. This confrontational practice must be stopped,” the official said.
HMEIMIM / Syria /, March 15. / TASS /. Russia’s aviation group in Syria will continue delivering strikes on facilities of terrorists, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said on Tuesday.
“Certain positive results have been reached. A real chance has emerged to bring an end to the long-time conflict and violence. However, it is early to speak about the victory over terrorism now,” Pankov said.
“Russia’s aviation group has the task to continue delivering strikes on the facilities of terrorists,” he told an event marking the accomplishment of tasks in Syria by Russian forces.
MOSCOW, March 15. / TASS /. The leaders of Russia’s political parties and senior lawmakers have welcomed the decision of President Vladimir Putin late on Monday to begin withdrawing a major part of the country’s air group from Syria.
First group of Russian warplanes leaves Syria for Russia – defense ministry
US president hails Russia’s decision on military pullout from Syria – White House
UN Security Council hails Russia’s move on military pullout from Syria
Syrian army commanders praise role of Russian forces in fight against terrorism
Canada to closely follow Russia’s military pullout from Syria – diplomat
UK top diplomat hails Russian forces pullout from Syria
Sergey Mironov, who heads A Just Russia Party, told reporters that the move is “timely.” The Defense Ministry has accomplished major tasks set by the Russian president to fight against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria. “And today there is a need to give way to political agreements,” he said.
BEIRUT, March 15. / TASS /. Moscow “stays true to its commitments on political and military coordination between the leadership of Russia and Syria,” Syrian Information Minister Omran Ahed al-Zoubi said on Tuesday.
Commenting on the agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad to start withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, al-Zoubi said that “this decision was fully coordinated between Moscow and Damascus.” He added that “Russian friends stay true to their commitments on continuing the fight against terrorism.” “Both Russia and Syria clearly observe the resolutions of the international community on fighting against terrorism groups,” the minister noted.
Russia, however, will keep an air flights control center in Syria to monitor the observation of the ceasefire regime.
With the elections in Syria scheduled for April 13th, what is currently happening on the ground is of paramount importance in regards to influencing the outcome of the election. The push by Assad & allies to reclaim Palmyra from the western-backed proxies is an attempt to gain the upper hand at the negotiating table. As a result of the Syrian Army’s success, with the help of the 4+1, Assad’s position at the bargaining table is in very good stead. Consequently, the Syrian opposition have no other choice but use dirty tactics in order to regain some political power, including the twisting of language.
Joaquin Flores explains to PressTV the methods the so called ‘opposition’ are using to strip the Syrian population of their right to self-determination.
Russian Aerospace Forces Commander stated that forces from the Syrian Army, the coalition, and the opposition are sufficient in destroying the Daesh terrorist organization.
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160315/1036312919/syrian-army-opposition-daesh.html#ixzz42yKIvYhM
The High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian opposition wants the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Syria in order to put an end to the bloodshed, according to HNC head Salem Muslit.
GENEVA (Sputnik) – The High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian opposition believes that all foreign troops must be withdrawn from Syrian territory, HNC head Salem Muslit said Tuesday.
“We need to review how this decision [the beginning of withdrawing the main part of Russian groups] will be fulfilled,” Muslit said.
“We want to see changes on the ground and the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Syria in order to put an end to the bloodshed,” Muslit added.
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160315/1036312419/syria-un-russia-military-troops.html#ixzz42yKx6sWv
hmmm-refs to Turkey, but considering the opposition was financed by outsiders, are they inferring that if they don’t get what they want they’ll then be in a stronger armed position to try again their own agenda??????
Thanks for your consolidated comment/post. Keep posting.
Well done that wo/man. Yes let’s focus on what Russia has done. A hell of a lot I would say, in a very confusing situation, alongside some pretty disgusting and turncoat players and in a short amount of time. The one thing Russia could not afford to do is get bogged down here. They need to look after their own interests as well. But I think once again Putin has all the ducks lined up. But Only time will tell. I think Russia has done so well and been very clever. And as Putin himself said no matter what the bear does he will always be attacked. Even if he wants to stay in the Taiga and eat his berries someone will still want to prod him and annoy him. He has made Russian capabilities clear to those who would want to attack Syria, accomplishing all the above and no doubt a myriad of other strategies have been put in place that we don’t hear about. So let soverign countries take control. Russia does not play the role of the paternalistic, forever protector. A peaceful facilitation in is the offing. Let that have a chance to take hold or at least start. If you don’t try you won’t know.
Hmm chess…. Well viewing in that way its quite normal to draw back a pawn to entice the opponent into a trap…..
Viewing it emotionally it feels like a let down. But one must be as cold and calculating as the opponent .
There are many pieces on the board….
Ok, this was unexpected; not only pull back when you’re winning, but leave. The Western way of war was always to fight to the finish whenever possible, and would not have given this outcome the weight as it deserves. As unsuccessful as finishing has been, in recent times, its possibly due to the fact that the cost of war and attendant financialization of war makes it untenable.
The notion that DAESH could be completely eliminated was always fantasy, insofar as all they had to do was withdraw behind the safe borders of colluding neighboring states, regroup, and re-invade. As they have been under the Russian assault.
IS DAESH isolated from the borders and not party to any ceasefire is a crippling loss, provided they are destroyed before they can reconfigure as geurrilla terrorists.
Still, the truce and move to peace seems coloured by cost cutting over strategic reality. Although, it could be said that economics is the greater part of the Long War. Since the oil price crash, Russia has been facing severe fiscal constraints, and the loyalty of the so-called independent Russian Central Bank is not evident in action or structure, unless you call discretely, rather than openly backstabbing Putin and ceding to the West, a sign of loyalty to Russia’s best interests.
Indeed, the Russian Rouble rose 1% against the U.S. dollar immediately after the withdrawal announcement. Its a little obvious negotiations behind closed doors are broader in scope than presented.
The Russian pullout leaves uncertain contingents at Tartous and Khmeimim airbase. Its certainly ‘real’ enough, though there is room for drawdown from the surge enacted from November 2015 through January 2016.
The withdrawal is more meaningful than the U.S. ‘withdrawal’ from Afghanistan, insofar as it draws a line against being drawn into Afghan-esque escalation to quagmire. There is also no indication yet that Russian support will completely evaporate, or that renewed Syrian forces couldn’t somewhat fill the gap.
The Russians may or may not have left condition open for winning the peace, as they have in Ukraine. As in Ukraine, it only takes a tiny minority of intractables to be the fools undoing foolproof plans, whether of NATO or Russia. DAESH are not unlike Kiev/State Department Nazis.
Moral and legal quibbling over obligations are overshadowed by strategic obligations. A unitary Syria not riddled with hotbeds of terrorism covers all three points of concern.
The adversarial Mackinderism of the Neocons demands partition, putatively to keep Eurasia from challenging North America. What this means in practice, is that Israel benefits from playing both Western and Eastern heartlands against one another against reasonable cooperation and accommodation. Israel also enjoys benefits in its immediate imperial periphery, preventing the enforcing of popular sanctions, the BDS movement, because the chaos favours the black market economy.
Russian forces have been exemplary; its the Arabs and Persians on the ground that have been ‘generally accomplished’. The performance of ground forces, was quite good given the relative inexperience with total war, but the inability of Assad’s popular support translate into filling the ranks of the Syrian armed forces and those of the popular militias is telling. The percentage of civilians who ran off to become refugees does not compare to the gold standard set by Russians who stayed to fight the Great Patriotic War (1941-45).
One danger rational people fall into, is thinking reason is unassailable, till its to late to address what pop culture icon Douglas Adams coined, “… the ingenuity of complete fools.” Not by entirely by accident did the Neocons captured the Military, intelligence, and finance industrial complexes of the U.S./West against the realists. The debate was intense, but over before it started.
In Syria, how ready for peace are the armed players on the ground? The combatants are to a man, captagon zombies. The basic rebel position is, Assad must go or die. More of them need to be removed from the equation.
How ready is Syria to save its ‘lost generation’, in the face of massed invasion and the huge potential for perfidy?
The supposed withdrawal comes only days after the Syrian Arab Air Force lost two Mig 31’s to MPADs. How the sponsors of DAESH react to this will be significant. Will they interpret this as a sign of strength or weakness on Russia’s part?
Paul Craig Roberts knows America elitists and the level of hardball needed to deal with them. While certainly his motives, encouraging Russia to break the Deep State for Americans, is understandably a role Russia does not want. After all, its not their responsibility, its America’s. However, America’s problem is being made Russia’s, in Russia.
Hitler, referred to Russians as ‘Redskins’ and so admired the American Indian reservation policy that he use it as the model for a ‘final solution’ against the Reich’s ‘untermeschen’.
America’s Nazis recruited from post WWII Germany and today’s Ukraine are less allies of convenience, but a reunion of like minds, the failed dogs of war returning to the master.
Putin’s legacy could be more akin to Tecumseh or Cochise, not Peter the Great if he doesn’t tame the Russian central bank. The pattern is clear enough; wars that can’t be won by arms are won by economics, and any lingering sense of unfairness justified by psychopathic xenophobia of which the West has no shortage of adherents.
Setting up something similar to Germany’s three-pillars system at least includes public banks. A pure public central bank, though, seems like the best option against Russian buffalo hunter financial compradors.
I keep seeing how the US “lost” the war in Iraq..
1. It poured money into the war industry
2. Western interests got there hands on the oil
3. The Iraq goverment is now irrelevant. Which leading up to the war was selling oil in alternative currencies. Euro i believe..
To say they lost is to take there word that they were trying to help the country and the people.
Or fight for genuine American interests.
It could not have been justified on warm and fuzzy-ness towards the Iraqi people alone.
“I keep seeing how the US “lost” the war in Iraq [..]”
Exactly! No, they didn’t.
We’re seeing a similar phenomenon as we speak, as the pro-Russian pundits try to explain how Russia accomplished her goals in Syria and now it’s pulling, albeit partially, out of Syria.
(And before I get my head bitten-off for saying that… that’s why I’ve said: SIMILAR! Alright?)
Peeps saying the Yanks failed in Iraq (this also includes the pro-Russian talking-heads, btw) are the ones who tend to assume the publicized goals for going into Iraq were the-honest-to-god-we’re-so-not-lying true Yank objectives, aka: remove a corrupt vile dictator, get rid of Al-CIAda cells who were “responsible for 9/11,” find Saddam’s “illegal” stash of WMDs aaaaand bring true democracy to a backwards country! Always a popular one ;-) Right?
No! Their true goals from the get go were: get rid of an unruly leader, who they’ve themselves helped to installed on the first place but who later turned against them (check!) – install a new pro-Hegemon puppet government (check!) – undo all the nationalization of the country’ resources (mostly oil) and give them back to foreign Oil giants [BP, Exxon, Shell, etc] (check!) – destroy as much of the country’ infrastructure and/or anything else that looks remotely man-made as you can and then award corrupt reconstruction deals to your own Yank pals while saddling the indigenous population with the bill (check!) [this counts as a double-whammy because it would make the World Bank, the IMF and banksters in general very wealthy and therefore… very happy] – and because now you have a puppet government… you have a blank cheque to go around the place freely inciting sectarian conflicts that were already there all along, hence creating more death and mayhem that may give you yet another excuse to intervene later-on if needed (check!) – a lawless Iraq can now be used as a safe haven to recruit and train future false-flag MK islamist crazies who can be deployed anywhere and for whatever reason they may be needed (check!)…
…shall I go on?
Exactly the same can be said about the Afghanistan, Libya, Syria (and lord knows where else) that according to half dimwits are supposed to be “all failures.” *eye-roll*
Sure… If those are their “failures” I dread to think what their “successes” look like :/
But the bottom line is… if you’re pandering to the Hegemon elites, and their supporters… of course Iraq and the rest of their interventions were a resounding success.
If you’re pandering to the fleeced average-Joe tax-payer, of course it was an outrageous failure.
What I don’t like about this twisted ‘narrative’ is that the ones who are saying Iraq was an abject failure are not being 100% honest about WHY it was a disaster for those left with the bill. They just say it was a failure/disaster and they just leave it at that with no further elaboration of why…
It sounds mighty dishonest to me. To be perfectly frank.
It seems to me that too many in the West are more interested in the rebels winning, than Syria’s war coming to an end.
Yeah right!..the sky is falling for the resistance to team chaos in Syria cos evil putin early withdrawal?..not exactly but on the contrary evil putin is smart ,for now the job is done and he is giving space for team chaos to leave Syria alone!…if not stage two is to work with Pentagon to clear head choppers owned by team chaos from east of Syria!..west is cleared east needs a different tactics!go putin:-)
I will have to both agree and disagree with The Saker on this one.
His overall analysis is largely to the point, especially in the sense that Russia can opt to unilaterally re-escalate just as it has unilaterally de-escalated.
But the point is about Syria’s partition. It is not in Russia’s geo-strategic interest to have Syria partitioned. Maybe some federal status for the Kurds, but that’s as far as it can go in my opinion. Some kind of federalization may take place as part of a deal with the US (forget about the EU, GCC, Israel and Turkey, Russia only recognizes the US as a partner for negotiations, all the others are merely puppets)
But the issue for Russia is that no pipelines fundamentally detrimental to her economic and strategic position can result out of any Syrian resolution. This is a red line for Russia, and Russia will defend it even with extreme brinkmanship if the situation so requires.
Ivan’s aircraft have burned up a significant percentage of their hours and the large-scale goal is not syria but Russian survival as a sovereign state – looks like scheduled engine swaps and main-base repairs, R & R for crews, and preparation for whatever new situation…then briefings by the experienced pilots as to what they have learned, etc.
Ivan strategy look like classic Russ method, adapted to 4th gen and 5th gen war…this looks like a derivative of the strategy of Byzantine Empire…
They leave flypaper for their opponent to “conquer”…
They demonstrated abilities…
They learned much…
They demonstrated reliability…
They set opponent factions against one-another…
They demonstrated their commitment to law..
and the list goes on…
And they are now conserving essential assets and abilities – in anticipation of next phase of W3…
To judge by the sudden new drift of the Russian media, Syria will most likely be carved up, and that appears to be presented as a good thing now, even though it must be pretty close to the original aim of the anglozionists. But by now we all should have learned that any move made by Putin is a great move, almost by definition, or because it can always be claimed to contain the hidden seeds of a surprise contrary move down the road, when conditions become more propitious, or for any other reason. This kind of analysis has become too predictable to count as an intellectual stimulant. It is what it is.
@ Not great news
All true. My observation also.
Very good evaluation … for the same reasons as mentioned above do I trust President Putin, but will ad one more ‘reason’ … and that is ‘what gives him the power’ to do the right thing at the right time … He has a quality that I have only heard of, but never seen in my lifetime… I will leave it at that….
Although this is a surprising and perhaps disappointing turn of events, in retrospect it seems consistent with previous actions by Putin.
For example, I had been puzzled by the sudden calls for a ceasefire and negotiations seemingly as soon as the Syrian army began to make effective progress.
It may simply be that the insertion of this force into Syria in a combat role, was a significant risk for Putin’s personal political situation in Russia. He may therefore have been constrained to terminate the action as quickly as possible.
“I would like to remind everybody that Russia does not have any moral or legal obligation to single-handedly preserve the territorial integrity of Syria.”
That’s sort of a bizarre statement to make, with which I would have to disagree.
First, since when was Russia involved “single-handedly” in Syria?
Second, you seem to be ignoring Russia’s underlying, more fundamental motive for military intervention in Syria in the first place. What do you think Putin meant when, in a speech at the UN, he said: “We can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world.” Note that he said “the world”; not just “Syria”.
Putin apparently finally saw and appreciated the agenda of the world’s would be conquerors, and he’s telling them that he is going to oppose their agenda. In other words, Russia’s intervention in Syria wasn’t merely about helping an ally under attack, it was about defending Russia and Russia’s legitimate geopolitical interests by standing up in opposition to the Satanic agenda of the corrupt “West”.
Since Russia does have a “moral and legal obligation” to defend itself and its legitimate geopolitical interests, and since it does recognize the Satanic agenda of the West and the threat it poses to Russia, Russia apparently does have an implied “obligation” to “preserve the territorial integrity of Syria”.
Get over it: It’s about the effing gas pipelines business …!
If they run across Syria then Gazprom will be running them.
And who do you think will be a huge reconstruction contract winner in the Syrian re-build?
So, 9/11, “war on terror”, patriot act, Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Libya, subversion in Ukraine, etc., etc., is all about “oil”, or a “pipeline”? ROTFL! You’re entertaining if nothing else.
Exactly, Russia acted in the interest of the international law. How can we forget that? It reasserted the authority of the UNO, obliged it to enforce the principle of national sovereignty under threat from the would be NWO.
A comment on Zerohedge, by “JohninMK”:
The Russians may have only reduced the enemy numbers by a relatively small amount as they were not the prime target as bombing is not particularily good at killing troops that are spread out. The RuAF did have a huge impact on its main targets the fixed assets, command and control bunkers, comms sites, weapons/ammo/food dumps and supply transport and manpower.
Once they were largely eliminated the enemy had real problems co-ordinating and supplying its forces in effect turning the enemy into a type of rabble.
Then of course the RuAF, by actively hitting the oil routes and depriving ISIS of revenue, effectively forced the US to do the same and to take a more proactive stance on actually hitting ISIS.
The situation is completely different now as to what it was 6 months ago. There is no need for bombers optimised for strategic or heavily re-inforced targets as they are probably almost gone now. This is now a war that will be won by keeping the enemy on the back foot and hammering him with artillery, the backbone of any ‘Soviet’ structured army like the Syrian. You just have to see the videos of a recent 5 x Grad salvo (200 rockets) to see the devastation these systems achieve. How ISIS has any morale left is beyond me.
So mission accomplished? Perhaps we need to reevalute what the Rusian mission actually was as opposed to what most of us probably thought it was. It seems to me that the Russian military intervention in Syria had the following purposes –
1) The Russians would have been acutely aware that when Syria was destroyed they would lose their only Mediterranean naval base in Tartus, a huge geopolitical setback, They would very much have not wanted this to happen
2) The Russian bombing campaign provided the Russian military with a fantastic opportunity to test, coordinate and evaluate their naval and airforce abilities in an unprecedented way in a “real” conflict situation from which an incredible amount of data and analysis of effectiveness could be gleaned The Russians will pore over all this data and amend and improve their military accordingly. The operation also had the advantage that Russia faced no military opposition whatsoever and so emerged with – almost – no casualties or loss of planes.. The value of this cannot be overstated.
3) Syria provided the Russians with a much needed opportunity to show the US and NATO what they can do with the aim of deterring would be war mongers in Washington of whom there are many. The use of the Caspian sea forces, the use of long range bombers and missiles from submarines were not necessary in this war but certainly made it clear to the US not to even think about attacking Russia. The Syrian campaign was a warning to the west and it seems to have been taken.
This hidden benefit may have helped avert a major war.
4) Whilst Syrian military forced have received much needed equipment from Russia their problem is and always has been lack of manpower.
They can take towns but cannot hold them. The US backed terrorists have almost infinite resources and will go on as long as it takes.
The 4th purpose then, was to try and stop Isis in Syria before the terrorists could come to Russia and also get recognised at the UN the sovereign rights of nation states to self determine. This is sensible and noble but the problem is the west just ignores international law and always has.
(As an aside what it takes is massive ground forces and interestingly Iran said a week or so ago that what is needed is a huge anti terrorist coalition involving China and India. This useful suggestion was of course completely ignored)
As the editor pointed out Russia doesn’t have an obligation to defend freedom in Syria and elsewhere, nor can it, and it was left to fly alone here which to me is disgraceful
So Russia needed a way out.
The (non existent) peace process and cease fire clearly produced a deal between Russia and the US that the US and it’s proxies would “cool it” for a couple of weeks to give the Russians “cover” to get out. Of course the US knew weeks ago the Russians were leaving.
Does anyone imagine you can pack up an entire military campaign and all it’s equipment weapons and logistics overnight?
And whilst saying that the airforce base at Khmeimim will remain, RT is showing footage of the planes all leaving to go home !
From the Russian perspective the operation has been a huge success.
The real tragedy is that whilst Russia did something, some would say a lot, nobody else did anything. China, India the CSTO countries etc all stayed out of it and the result will be that the US proxies, ie Isis will spread far and wide and are already believed to be in China.
There is a famous saying ” All it needs for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” Well Russia did what it could but nobody else did anything.
Now the west can go back to where it was last September and the war on Syria will resume.
My own thoughts are with the brave people of Syria who have had a holocaust wreaked on them for no reason at all and there can be no reason to celebrate about anything here unless you enjoy looking at pictures of dead Syrian children lying in the rubble of their homes beside their parents.
Instead of cosying up to Kerry and co we – every country of the world – should be denouncing these monsters for their war crimes.
It cannot easily go back to September. (1) Assad was not accepted to Syrian future negotiations back than; now his delegation is in Geneva. (2) US and Russia are parties to a ceasefire arrangement and have an interest to find something appearing orderly and acceptable to electorates at home (3) there is no real hindrance for Russia to increase the number of planes if it so decides, those Russian planes can fly in as easily as out.
If Russia ‘stays’ instead of ‘going’, it could become an internationally leading lighting rod between stiff negotiation positions of Iran and Saudi Arabia (with the West enjoying the show). Perhaps they figured that this would not be such a great idea, after all (?)
summer time is coming. it is hard for me to believe that Empire will waste clear sky and calm sea for not to bomb some “rough” country.
i understand Putin move but i hope that it is not driven by some creeping event behind horizont which will make Syria irrelevant.
“…if that means preparing 500 different approaches and negotiation techniques for 500 different contacts, the Russians will put the manpower, time and effort to make it happen.”
It is better to jaw jaw than to war war.
I thought that Russia was merely withdrawing ground troops. Not air power.
Whether they continue to support Syria or not depends on the outcome of the peace process. It could just be a troop rotation.
Or the situation on the ground could be that bad for Daesh already. We shall see if/when the negotiations collapse and fighting resumes what the Russians are willing to do.
It’s clear they didn’t come to conquer and occupy, but to actually stabilize the government.
A masterful analysis. I happen to know beyond a doubt that US meddling will not stop and that is advancing every single day, no matter any one or all wars of choice, from the basic structure set up generations ago in Europe. The Nazi structure. The entrance of the US finally into WW11 did not occur until after Russia beat the Third Reich on Russian soil. Losing approximately 30 million souls to do it.A win Russia never demanded anything for achieving. America came to fight, many of her sponsors’ reasons being to correct the WW11 ending with the WW later ending closer to US goals, such as Germany’s, the erasure of Russia. If you know what to look for in all these deliberate alarums of the ‘imperial’ world wars of the Bush dynasty, you will find it whole and well and never ending. The American version of Nazi fanaticism is become rather than the myth-like of German fanaticism based on originating German myths, vengefully obsessiveness to the point of a more worse debilitating insanity than the German myths engendered.
The Cold War was the method used by the strengthening USA to continue WW11. A war they never ever ended. Not even now, they just use it to bring about the final end of Russia as without that, the US will never be able to own Asia, all of it. Therefor the one vast Eurasian country must be emptied and cleansed. At this point the US has sent thousands of”intelligence” mercenaries into China to learn the languages and cultures and to begin assassinating key figures en mass. As well as implanting brain chips in the soft skulls of new born infants by the millions to cause an explosion of autistic adults later.Easily manipulated, vulnerable, helpless, humans. They expect obedience will be simple. Using drones and satellites alone.
Suzanne Majo De Kuyper on March 15, 2016 · at 6:51 pm UTC
This is machine generated gobbledygook. I thought there were “moderators” on this site?
DM … somewhat of a ‘nasty’ little comment. I just re-read the comment, it is not machine generated and expresses Suzanne’s interpretation of this period of history. Please be aware of Saker moderation policy rule #3 “Any comment designed to make me angry will make me angry and will be removed in anger.” Future comments of this style will not be posted. … mod-hs
Thanks, Saker, for the analysis of Putin’s statement on the withdrawal. In particular, I appreciated the following:
The second interesting moment in today’s statement is that Putin added that “to control the observation of ceasefire agreements in the region, Moscow will keep its Khmeimim airbase in Latakia province and a base at the port of Tartus“.
This aligns well with the analysis of Alexander Mercouris on the current situation in Ukraine, where the implementation of Minsk II has become a stumbling block to the Europeans with respect to sanctions policies instituted by them. These ceasefire talks may seem to be going nowhere, (and indeed thanks to reports here we know that the east is still under attack) but they have to be the next step towards the implementation of international law.
We know that is important to Putin, and I was struck by the following article for the same reason:
Central to the above article is a paragraph describing how, during the conflict in Libya, repeated attempts to initiate a ceasefire were struck down by the West. Had they the power to do so, they would have prevented a ceasefire in Ukraine, and they would have prevented a ceasefire in Syria. They do, or did, their damage when such ‘niceties’ are not in the offing.
Other countries may give only lip service to the cease fire procedure, but even having it in place is a signal that can only be greeted thankfully because it indicates that they no longer have the power to prevent it. And Putin is doing everything he can to uphold the process.
” would have prevented a ceasefire in Ukraine, and they would have prevented a ceasefire in Syria. ”
I have to respectfully disagree. The only time the USA supports a cease-fire is when their side is loosing, as was the case in the Ukraine, and more recently in Syria. One can also point to the Korean, Vietnam, and the 1973 Yom Kipur wars as further examples of this.
As Diane Johnstone writes in her book QUEEN OF CHAOS,
“In recent years, it has become more frequent to speak of the United States as an “Empire”. Yet it is an empire like no other. The United States has military bases all over the world, but their aim is more to preserve the post-World War II advantage than to expand in the ways previous empires expanded. The former European empires assumed some responsibility for the countries they conquered in order to exploit their riches more effectively. Alongside exploitation of local labor and theft of resources, previous empires built infrastructure and introduced certain beneficial measures to make their colonies run smoothly. The United States is an irresponsible empire. It devastates countries and leaves them in shambles, with no compensation. Its actions are increasingly destructive because the purpose is not in reality to build an empire, but to destroy real or potential rivals and so maintain the position of superiority gained in World War II.”
Johnstone, Diana (2015-10-12). Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (Kindle Locations 102-109). CounterPunch. Kindle Edition.
As SouthFront Notes
“According to the information received by SouthFront from a source close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia in international relations is continuing to show a fundamentally different approach than the US and the West. The decision on the partial withdrawal of its military from Syria is a move that clearly shows the commitment of the Russian leadership to the sequence of actions aimed at a comprehensive settlement of the crisis by peaceful means. Russia is not looking for an opportunity to gain a colonial resource-rich territory or create puppet regimes, but only provides the necessary and sufficient assistance in the fight against terrorism and extremism seeking to avoid escalation of the conflict and to minimize civilian casualties.”
Which approach do readers think will guarantee success–in the long run?
im going to stick my neck out a little here:-) These aircraft have been working very hard since September, the crews as well. Its hard to keep up on routine maintenance away from base (and im sure that those responsible for that task have been doing an excellent job). Time for heavy maintenance/ engine change back at base, back at home, time to rest crews. Keeping tired aircraft and crew aloft risks both crew and airframe. Have to say, of them all Putin looks more and more the master.
I disagree. Russia almost certainly can rotate fresh planes and crews into Syria. So there are good reasons for the pullout, but fatigue is probably not one of them.
anonymous beat me to it! Read his post. Yes of course they can rotate aircraft, aircrew? Yes, but then again it takes time to retrain new aircrew to the terrain and mission. Ground crew out number aircrew by many times, logistically, keeping this machine going is expensive and where are the gains for the increased cost? One aspect of the art of war is to bog your opponent down until he drowns, look at Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan (both Russian and US forces) what did they achieve? Go in and out quickly and you limit this issue. The Russian crew are home safely (they can come and go as they please)the aircraft are being stripped down and bought back to new as we sit here speculating, Also understand that the airframers will now have realtime data to assess the performance of their aircraft. They can rotate back at any time they want to, who will challenge them? Confidence is the name of the game and the Russians are now sitting on top of a huge pile of it. I think in the game of chess it is called check, now its your move. Where will you go?
“…walking around in downtown New York or San Fransisco you would never think that you are visiting a country which just lost two major and long wars.”
Take a turn down some alleys, and see the poor rooting through the garbage bins. Or, try walking around the country’s heartland, those “fly-over” states where unemployment is high and prospects dim. These wars have been costly, and the realization there is no winning, not for the hoi polloi is sinking in to the American psyche.
The new weekly Cohen/Batchelor is a very interesting take on the withdrawal. Worth a listening. http://johnbatchelorshow.com/ (right column under podcasts What Putin risks in Syria)
The best analysis so far. Very interesting.
Apparently , Russia has only tactical objectives .
They need to read up on their recent history to understand the strategic .
Stalin understood that World War II must be continued until Hitler’s Germany was totally defeated.
According to the podcast so there has already been held a meeting in Ankara, Turkey , regarding how the war will continue and Assad be overthrown . The US has ” observer status ” .
A very sound observation. My heart agrees with it even if my head does not.
The Axis powers were mostly Hitlers Reich, and could be ended by defeating the German Nazis. To what extent Stalin understood that he and his people were, literally to Hitler, subhuman ‘Redskins’ in the North American mode of conquest is unclear, but the Americans were sort-of an ally, if only because Hitler bit the hands that fed him.
Like the Nazis, the DAESH are become so toxic in the West, that existence of DAESH sympathizers in the West is a substantially reduced threat. Regardless, then as now, there’s no way and no reason to overtly go after them save through legit ‘anti-terrorism’ cooperation initiatives with the West.
There was little that could be done about the Nazi resurgence in the West; it wasn’t NATO official public official policy, but a thing of the Deep State. The DAESH may or may not retain similar long-term capability of resurgence.
The whole point of proxy war is to avoid a great power confrontation. A true finish would mean taking on NATO and the GCC, which is strategically, operationally, and tactically untenable.
As much as it was really, really enjoyable to see the neocon’s totalitarian army of psycho head choppers go down under Russian bombs en masse without restriction, it had to stop eventually.
The great success of the Russian Air Force, would also have the effect of diminishing the number of clear available targets. Drawdown, at least, was inevitable even as the DAESH retained combat capability.
The DAESH lost five years of gains and billions of dollars in stockpiled materiale, the propaganda puffery of invincibility, and surfeit of cannon fodder to back that up. The DAESH are responding by seeking cover among civilians and fight geurrilla, making it harder for Russia to avoid civilian casualties with a formal military force. The human and cash expense of war in the short term, would hamper Russian long term efforts to defuse the Pentagon’s Long War.
The major win was the truth, in that the extent of Western collusion and culpability in the DAESH phenomenon is common knowledge and the truth becomes more widespread and accepted every day. Putin’s diplomacy-fu overshadows the concurrent and important military victories.
What is concerning is an oversimplified ‘job done’ mentality, when its more like, crisis stabilized against steep ongoing odds.
It places Russian foreign policy appearances in a less flexible position should the Obama doctrine of “Don’t do stupid stuff”, is again ignored by neocons who don’t respect his intelligence. The neocons would very much like to launch some half-baked bloody-minded plan with the ingenuity only complete fools such as they could muster.
“… And yet, walking around in downtown New York or San Fransisco you would never think that you are visiting a country which just lost two major and long wars….” Those are big cities and Democrat leaning enclaves. But talk to those in the rural areas, and they’ll tell you they are sick and tried of what goes on in Washington. Many have sent their family members to die in these wars. You don’t hear from them because they are still grieving their loss. But they are deeply upset of the contempt their congressmen show to them.
Canadian pundits (on CBCTV) are calling this a pullout due to high $cost$.
Uh, yeah, Canadians would know all about military $costS.
For a country not even fighting a war, the Canadian military has absorbed some punishing and permanent operational losses theoretical adversaries could only and should only be able to dream of inflicting.
I think Putin’sa withdrawal from Syria mean that Ukraine better duck or prepare for an all-out assault NOW!
Please check Saker moderation policy on ‘no use of caps’. All ‘cap’ comment removed …. mod-hs
Nice piece of a reality check here Saker. The only thing that I might add as being not an insignificant “measure” of Russia’s accomplishments and it’s many “success’s” to date (and one by which I’m dully impressed) which is that by the signings a multitude of local ceasefire treaty agreements between the Syrian army and the “opposition” forces, Putin has achieved two things in one move, first being having short circuited any US excuse’s for not playing along because Russia was targeting only the “legitimate opposition’ to Assad and the second being having now ingeniously pitting all the rats against each other.
As witnessed by all the recent defections and infighting between many of the rival groupings. I would guess in order to secure and maintain their US funding and try to gain a seat at the bargaining table at the peace talks in Geneva. Not that I ever believed that any “moderate opposition” has ever actually existed, being how I can’t for the life of me distinguish the difference between a liver eating terrorist or a head chopping one. And being how whatever they happen to call themselves and all of the names and flags under which they butcher the indigenous population, they’re all of the same US/CIA creation and serve it’s insatiable hegemonic interests as mercenary proxies and to an extent also those of Turkey, Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and most of the smaller Gulf States.
Nevertheless it appears to be a brilliant tactical move and a classical example of applying the old tried and true rule of a “divide and conquer” strategy against one’s enemies. Let’s just hope that they do a hell of a good job of eliminating each other and thus lighten the task of all the mopping up that’s still left to be done by the brave souls of the (thus far) indomitable Syrian Arab army and it’s regional allies still on the ground.
I’m sure that there are a lot things going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about and can’t yet see, that play into the considerations and the calculus Putin takes whenever he makes and unexpected move on the grand chessboard of the empires geopolitical game. But one thing’s for certain is that he consistently takes the high road and acts with integrity and decisively whatever his next move may be.
By applying a strategy that accepts a loss with dignity and endures short term pain in exchange for long term gains while displaying an unshakable confidence that in the end he will win. And ultimately succeed in his mission and the task of restoring Russia’s rightful place in the ‘Community of Nations’ in respect and recognition of the dignified role Russians have been playing for the benefit of all of humanity. Godspeed.
Latest news update from RT :
For all the gnashing of teeth here and those saying Putin’s betrayed Assad and the Syrian people.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as just told his armed forces that he will “redeploy” them back to Syrian bases within a matter of “hours” should they “be needed” there and if the “peace” process breaks down.
He said all the bases left behind are being “fully protected”.
Just as I thought… “don’t advance an inch on the ground and step one foot back from your opponents” has been Putin’s strategy all along. And that his “pull back” was just a gesture of “good faith” while the peace talks in Geneva commence, but essentially a meaningless bluff and an empty one should any of his adversaries be delusional enough to think that they are now free to pull a fast one on Russia and Syria, he’s just now abused them of any delusional fantasizes they might have had.
Played just like a true chess-master and a master of the martial arts that he is.
Can’t wait for the shrill howls of betrayal emanating thru the mainstream media at any moment now.
Bravo! Long live Putin, Russia and Syria!
Admirable Saker….You hit the nail again !!
Multiply Flint Michigan by 500 and you have a clearer picture of how much these wars have cost America. OF course, to the people of America such cases are presented as individual local anomalies rather than the systemic failures that they are. Infrastructure rating of D-minus should wipe the fog from your glasses.
sure it makes no different to me because puttin first time violated the law of territorial sovereignty. by sending this troops to syria, what interest was he having first. we can term objective accomplished if syria now could have stable government but does it have? for me think puttin objective was to sale this old weabon to asad and he accomplished that.
I agree with your astute analysis. Putin is a great, great man and a genius. He is also a good man, something very rare in today’s world. He constantly thinks about his people, something no politician does in America.
I would say that Russia is more advanced than America on several essential points: Putin’s belief in God as well as most Russians; (2) Putin’s devotion to food–giving people 2 to 6 acres of land, tax free, to grow fruits and vegs, chickens and livestock, all gmo free. (He has banned Monsanto from Russia) I believe he remembers people starving to death. He wants the soil and water to be pure. USA–look at Detroit and Flint, and my home state of North Dakota where the fracking has ruined western half, unfit to live there) (3) Russia has stronger economy because it is sound, whereas US is totally QE’ed in a huge capitalist morass.
I do not propose to know the mind of the leader of the Russian Federation, but to even mention the word “weak” to quantify power as ones ability to remain a global threat to the aspirations of others even in repeated military failures to me amounts to setting oneself up for the so-called weaker opponents to take the much bigger opponent out in case of a confrontation.
The U.S. loses precisely because it brings in enormous resources to a fight that shouldn’t be started in the first place, and then it starts more fights because it is addicted profits its brings to certain sectors of the economy, but leaves vast shortages in the majority and that my friend is the menu of a failing empire of eventual collapse or one where it must contract-out it violent nature to sadist like ISIS or the Ukrainian Right-Sector or the Gulf Monarch’s of religious fascist disposition who are now going broke trying to save the dying vile thing called empire.
Russia’s success is simple and morally grounded, which is to bring closure to the warring sides and allow itself the opportunity to test its various combat innovations that includes its diplomatic license tradecraft as it would in a larger conflict and its does so with no financing gain in its plan accept to be part of the reconstruction process after the violence is resolved.
And, to me this is what makes Russia so great and powerful and capable of fighting and winning against a bigger and bulkier bulling threat.
I would have to disagree with America losing the war in Afghanistan, the only reason it was invaded was resources and drugs, more so the drug industry, and since the invasion drug export has grown by leaps and bounds, so mission accomplished on that one.
Paul, you are so right about the reason for invasion.
…”walking around in downtown New York or San Fransisco you would never think that you are visiting a country which just lost two major and long wars.”
Because the people walking around are young and, unlike some earlier generations, know nothing because they do not know nor care about history as long as they have the I-phone for pictures and “news” about what celebrity is doing what with whom…
Sad but true. The old old in US are worried; the middle-aged boomers, not much, the kids, are you kidding?
Love your analysis.
why isn’t the Kurdish population of all four countries joining together to chalange Turkey and Saudi military with Iran syeria’s help!
The three together have nothing to loose! and can expect help from Iraq’s sheites in bagdad and southern provences