Thursday, March 17, 2016

Russia To Continue Airstrikes In Syria - Can Ramp Up To Full Strength Quickly If Needed

Russia make Syria comeback within hours according to Putin

Vladimir Putin said Russia’s military success in Syria had allowed him to order a partial draw down of forces, but stressed the Kremlin could scale up its presence again within hours and would continue to carry out air strikes there.
Speaking in the Kremlin three days after he ordered Russian forces to partially withdraw from Syria, the Russian president said the smaller strike force he had left behind in his closest Middle East ally was big enough to help forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad keep advancing.
“I’m sure that we will see new and serious successes in the near future,” Putin told an audience of over 700 servicemen and military officers at the Kremlin ceremony. In particular, he said he hoped that Palmyra would soon fall to Assad.
Russian forces would continue to carry out air strikes against Islamic State, Al Nusra and other terrorist groups, he added, and would keep providing a wide range of aid to Syrian government forces.
Although he said his preference was for a negotiated diplomatic solution to the conflict with those opposition groups who had signed up to a ceasefire, he made clear Russia could easily scale up its forces again.
“If necessary, literally within a few hours, Russia can build up its contingent in the region to a size proportionate to the situation developing there and use the entire arsenal of capabilities at our disposal,” said Putin.
He sought to dampen any speculation of a rift with Damascus, saying Moscow’s partial withdrawal from Syria had been agreed with Assad.
Putin on Monday ordered the bulk of the Russian military contingent in Syria to be pulled out after five months of air strikes, saying the Kremlin had achieved most of its objectives.
Russia would finish withdrawing most of its Syria aviation strike force “any day now” and no later than by the end of this week, Viktor Bondarev, the head of the Russian air force, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.
That tallies with an updated Reuters calculation based on state TV and other footage, which shows that as of Thursday morning 18 or half of Russia’s estimated 36 fixed-wing military jets had flown out of Syria in the past three days.
On Thursday, the Rossiya 24 channel showed three Su-24 bombers landing at their home bases in the Urals.

He always seems to be one step ahead of the US, and his actions often come as a complete surprise to Western governments. He keeps his cards close, and allegedly, even many of his closest advisers are not aware of his long-term plans. In addition to this, his history as a spy with KGB taught him a thing or two on counter-intelligence and misdirection, and he is hyper aware of the fact that what he says could telegraph his intentions. In short, Putin is one tough cookie to crack.

Obviously this worries most people in the US intelligence community, such as Gregory Treverton, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council. As far as world figures go, he views Putin as the most difficult person to unravel.

Just as the West was blindsided by Russia’s move into Syria, they were equally shocked to hear that he was pulling out.

Meanwhile, the Western media is still scrambling to figure out why this is happening.

They keep saying that Russia is trying to stifle Assad’s hubris, or that they’re afraid the Syrian war is going to turn into a quagmire, or some nonsense like that. So what’s the real reason Putin ordered this surprising withdrawal? In a sense, it’s a demonstration of Russia’s power and newfound political clout. According to Paul Craig Roberts:

With ISIS beat down, there is less danger of Washington using a peace-seeking ceasefire to resurrect the Islamic State’s military capability. Therefore, the risk Putin is taking by trusting Washington is worth the payoff if the result is to enhance Russian diplomacy and elevate it above Washington’s reliance on threats, coercion, and violence. 
What Putin is really aiming for is to make Europeans realize that by serving as Washington’s vassals European governments are supporting violence over peace and may themselves be swept by the neoconservatives into a deadly conflict with Russia that would ensure Europe’s destruction.

Putin has also demonstrated that, unlike Washington, Russia is able to achieve decisive military results in a short time without Russian casualties and to withdraw without becoming a permanent occupying force. This very impressive performance is causing the world to rethink which country is really the superpower.

Does anyone else get the sense that while Washington is playing checkers, Putin is playing chess? I sure do.

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