Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/27/2015 20:35 -0500
One of the most amusing things about Russia’s headlong plunge into Syria’s five-year conflict is the extent to which it effectively represented Moscow calling time on Washington’s strategy of seeking to bring about regime change in the Mid-East by intentionally destabilizing otherwise strong (if not always benign) governments.
Until September 30 – which is the day a three star Russian general strolled into the US embassy in Baghdad and informed the staff that airstrikes in Syria begin “in one hour” – Washington, Riyadh, Ankara, and Doha seemed perfectly content to simply wait around for one group of rebels or another to finally succeed in taking Damascus. In the meantime, the US embarked on what one might call a “containment” strategy as it related to ISIS – the idea, basically, was to keep Frankenstein confined to the lab, but not to hit the monster hard enough to render it ineffectual in the fight to destabilize the Assad government.
Once Assad fell, the US would march in and “liberate” the country before promptly installing a puppet government – with the help of the Saudis of course.
All of that changed when the Russians arrived in Latakia.
Once Moscow’s warplanes began to turn the tide in favor of the SAA with the help of Hezbollah ground forces and the IRGC, Putin promptly moved to blow the whole charade wide open by asking (loudly) why the US wouldn’t partner with Russia in the war on terror. He of course knew the answer, but the point was to make the general public question why, if ISIS really is the greatest threat to humanity since the Reich, Washington was unwilling to partner with Moscow and also with Tehran. Between that and the seemingly endless stream of Russian MoD clips depicting hundreds upon hundreds of airstrikes against terrorist targets, The Kremlin made the White House look as though the US was not serious about eradicating the very groups the Western media were holding up as public enemy number one.
Since around mid-October, the US has embarked on a desperate attempt to counter the notion that maybe – just maybe – there’s a nefarious explanation for America’s perceived disinterest in eradicating terror. First, Washington released helmet cam footage of a raid on an ISIS prison which resulted in the first US combat death in Iraq since 2011. Next, the White House announced SpecOps would be sent to Syria. The Pentagon followed up by offering to send Apache helicopters and their crews to assist Baghdad in retaking Ramadi (assistance which PM Haider Abadi, under pressure from Shiite lawmakers and Iran to rollback American influence in the country, refused). Finally, the US began hitting ISIS oil tankers.
Previously, the US claimed it didn’t destroy the oil convoys because The Pentagon was concerned about collateral damage. Once Putin blew the whistle on the Turkey-ISIS oil connection and began posting video clips of oil tanker trucks streaming across the border with apparent impunity, Washington was forced to drop the “collateral damage” excuse and start bombing the trucks (although Russia will tell you that there’s not much bombing going on from the US side of things). All in all, this reinforces the notion that Washington has no strategy. Actually, that’s not true. There’s probably a strategy, but it doesn’t involve an all out effort to degrade and defeat ISIS and so, the narrative needs to be spun in way that makes sense to an increasingly incredulous public.