“… taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by Obama’s passivity …”
Russia just made another big move in Syria that shows President Vladimir Putin has aspirations beyond saving the Bashar al-Assad regime and becoming a dominant player in the Middle East.
More than half a year after Putin falsely claimed he would pull the Russian military out of Syria while leaving behind many ultra-modern fighter jets and the S-400 missile air defense system, the Russian army will start to use the S-300V4 air defense system in the country.
The system is designed to defend very large battle fields in a ground war and controls and defends these territories against the most advanced militaries in the world.
The Russians, of course, say that the S-300V4 is needed to fight “terrorists” in Syria.
However, the reason the system has been deployed now appeared to have more to do with the further crumbling U.S. influence in the region after a crisis erupted between Moscow and the United States when Secretary of State John Kerry unsuccessfully tried to get a new ceasefire in place in the war-torn country.
That “cessation of hostilities” was blown to smithereens after Russian and Syria warplanes bombed a U.N. humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo, killing 20 aid workers, and U.S. warplanes mistakenly hit a Syrian army base near Deir al-Zur in eastern Syria in mid-September.
Since then, relations between the Obama administration and the Russian government have deteriorated to the point that one could speak of a full-blown crisis.
On Tuesday, the administration suspended the negotiation track with Russia over a cessation of hostilities in Syria and blamed Russia again for the collapse of the ceasefire that in reality never existed.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that patience with Russia had run out and made clear that the Russians had never joined the fight against the Islamic State in the last seven months.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly. The United States spared no effort in negotiating and attempting to implement an arrangement with Russia aimed at reducing violence, providing unhindered humanitarian access, and degrading terrorist organizations operating in Syria, including Daesh and al-Qaida in Syria,” read a statement by State Department spokesman John Kirby, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
“Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments — including its obligations under international humanitarian law and UNSCR 2254 — and was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed,” Kirby wrote, referring to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254.
“Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, inconsistent with the Cessation of Hostilities, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need, including through the September 19 attack on a humanitarian aid convoy,” read the statement, making it clear that communication about counterterrorism in Syria will continue.
The American announcement was preceded by an unprecedented move by Putin, who pulled out of a nuclear agreement with the U.S. that required both countries to dispose of 34 tons of plutonium used for producing nuclear weapons.
The deployment of the S-300V4 system in Syria is Putin’s brazen reaction to Obama’s “warning” that Russia is finding itself in a quagmire in Syria.
Russia will now be able to control airspace from Iraq, central Israel and Jordan to the eastern Mediterranean. But that’s not all, as military affairs expert Jennifer Dyer explained in an analysis for Liberty Unyielding.
“Putin is taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by Obama’s passivity to realize a dream of Russian strongmen before him that is more than 300 years old: to hold territory with which to flank Europe in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Dyer wrote.
“That territory also gives him a slice right through the Middle East, and a potentially dominating position over the Suez Canal and Red Sea chokepoints. Russia can do far more from Syria than merely flank Turkey and Southeastern Europe,” she concluded.
A day after Western Journalism published an analysis that predicted that Russia’s ascent in the Middle East could spark a war that would make look the Syrian war like child’s play, Putin made a huge move that shifted the balance of power not only in the Middle East but in major waterways such as the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf as well.
The Obama administration should be very alarmed.