Putin marches, Obama watches
Bashar al-Assad, Syrian dictator and destroyer, was summoned to the Kremlin who is now Vladimir Putin’s newest pet. After four years in Damascus, Assad was summoned to Russia to bend a knee to Putin, to show the world that today Middle East questions get settled not in Washington but in Moscow, and officially bless the Russian-led four-nation takeover of Syria now underway.
Does the bewildered Obama administration finally understand what Russia is up to?
President Obama says Russia is doomed to fail in the Syrian quagmire. But Russia is not trying to reconquer the country for Assad. It is consolidating a rump Syrian state in the roughly 20 percent of the country he now controls, the Alawite areas stretching north and west from Damascus through Latakia and encompassing the Russian naval base at Tartus.It’s a partition. It will leave the Islamic State in control in the interior north and east.
Putin’s larger strategy is also obvious. He is not reconstructing the old Soviet empire. That’s too large a task. But he is rebuilding and reasserting Russia’s ability to project power beyond its borders.
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