“They now control land greater in size than the United Kingdom and are supported by an almost ecstatic enthusiasm the like of which I’ve never encountered before in a war zone. Every day hundreds of willing fighters from all over the world come. They are the most brutal and most dangerous enemy I have ever seen in my life. I don’t see anyone who has a real chance to stop them. Only Arabs can stop IS. I came back very pessimistic.”
With the ink not yet dry on the “Iran nuclear deal,” Middle Eastern states opposed to Persian domination of the region now are actively pursuing a nuclear weapons capability of their own. President Obama’s deal could literally mean an arms race that could lead to nuclear devastation as Saudi Arabia and others look to get the bomb as well to counter Iran. With more countries obtaining nukes, the greater the possibility terrorists could obtain a weapon, which could be used to attack Israel or the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday admonished those who supported democratic revolutions in the Middle East, telling the United Nations they led to the rise of a globally ambitious Islamic State.
Putin warned that international policy toward the region has led to an Islamic State with plans that “go further” than simply dominating the Middle East. And citing recent data about failures in successfully recruiting “moderate” Syrian opposition, Putin said countries opposed to Assad are simply worsening the situation.
“We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but hazardous. This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions,” the Russian leader said….
The upper chamber of the Russian parliament has unanimously given a formal consent to President Putin to use the nation’s military in Syria to fight terrorism at a request from the Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Consent was necessary for use of the country's military for foreign combat missions under the Russian constitution.
The request for use of force was sent by the president after considering the large number of citizens of Russia and neighboring countries, who went to join terrorist groups fighting in Syria, head of the presidential administration Sergey Ivanov told media. There are thousands of them, and Russia’s national security would be under threat, should they return home, he added.
“This is not about reaching for some foreign policy goals, satisfying ambitions, which our Western partners regularly accuse us of. It’s only about the national interest of the Russian Federation,” the official said.
Russia would use its warplanes to hit terrorist targets when requested by the Syrian government. He stressed that unlike the US-led coalition of countries that bombs militant troops in Syria, Russia was invited to do so by the legal authorities of Syria and thus follows international law.
“The military goal of the operation is strictly to provide air support for the [Syrian] government forces in their fight against Islamic State,” he said.
Military engagement in Syria would not result in Russia being mired in conflict, Konstantin Kosachev, head of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, said commenting on the news.
“We would not risk getting stuck in a long conflict and threaten the lives of our troops. The operation is aerial only. Certainly, in coordination with the ground operation of the Syrian army,” he told the Rossiya 24 news channel.
The developement comes after Moscow has intensified involvement in Syria, establishing an Iraqi-based military communications center with Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.
It also happened just days after President Putin called for an international anti-terrorist effort in Syria that would include the government of President Assad at the UN General Assembly. Western nations have been seeking to oust Assad since 2011, but several key nations such as Germany, France, Britain and the US have confirmed they would not be opposed to Assad staying in power for a transitional period, which would include defeating the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group.
Iraq's decision to sign an intelligence-sharing accord with Syria, Iran and Russia has US Defense Department officials worried about what intelligence the Iraq government is going to share with its allies against terror, and the information it may contain regarding the US armed forces.
Surprised US defense officials are concerned about the decision by Iraq's Joint Operations Command to share intelligence with Syria, Iran and Russia in an effort to coordinate action against the Islamic State.
"We were caught by surprise that Iraq entered into this agreement with Syria, Iran and Russia. Obviously, we are not going to share intelligence with either Syria, or Russia, or Iran," Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked by Senator Ernst about the implications of the information sharing agreement, and also "the broader implications of Russia emerging as a leader in the Middle East while we seem to be frittering away our opportunity with ISIL."
Senator Ernst concluded the hearing by telling those present, "I am very concerned that we have abdicated our role in the Middle East as, and in so many other areas, as has been pointed out earlier."
"First and, probably, the most important, we are talking about Syria alone, and we are not talking about reaching some foreign policy goals, satisfying some ambitions which our western partners accuse us of, we are talking about Russia's national interests alone," Ivanov told journalists.
“In regard to the timeline, the Russian Air Force operation, of course, cannot last forever and has a definite time period, but what the time period is, for example, in regard to the number of days as well as telling you how many aircraft will be used and which armament will be used by our Air Force, I cannot say right now for obvious reasons,” Ivanov said.
"As you all know very well, the United States… is launching airstrikes on the territory of Syria and Iraq, and maybe other Middle Eastern States. Recently France has joined the same analogous actions, Australia and a number of other coutnries are talking about the same thing.. I would like to note one principal moment — these actions are being carried out in circumvention of international law," Ivanov told the press.
According to Fox News quoting a high-ranking US official, Russia has demanded that US airplanes immediately leave Syria.
However, US military sources told Fox News that U.S. planes would not comply with the Russian demand. "There is nothing to indicate that we are changing operations over Syria," a senior defense official said, as quoted by the Fox News website.
Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria have recently created an information center in Baghdad in order to coordinate the fight against the Islamic State. The information center’s main goals are to provide reconnaissance on the number of IS militants, their weapons, and their movements.
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