Moscow’s Military Action in Syria a ‘Gift’ to Washington (An Nahar, Lebanon)
In Syria, is Moscow changing traditional post-Cold War roles with the United States? For Lebanon’s An Nahar, columnist Ali Hamada writes that the downing of a Turkish Air Force jet by Russia weapons – if not personnel – shows that Russia, instead of taking advantage of the consequences and mistakes of American intervention, is now likely to be the one taken advantage of by Washington.
Whatever the truth behind the downing of a Turkish military aircraft off the Syrian coast; whether it was for purely technical reasons, it was shot down by the regime or it was brought down by Russian missiles mounted on battleships off the coast, what is certain is that the Syria conflict has taken a turn much more serious than ever before.
The Russian position is firm, and suggests that Moscow will go to even greater lengths to protect Bashar al-Assad’s regime and prevent its downfall. As for the regime and its main regional supporter Iran, they are willing to murder tens of thousands of Syrian citizens beyond the 15,000 already killed, and wouldn’t hesitate to use the Samson Option, making al-Assad’s downfall synonymous with the downfall of the entire region, plunging it into political chaos and insecurity.
[The Sampson Option is Israel’s alleged deterrence strategy of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons as a “last resort” against nations whose military attacks threaten its existence].
With Moscow raising the pace and magnitude of its direct military support to the point that it is clear it wants all concerned to understand that Russia is fighting for Syria, the situation has become complicated beyond what we have seen. The transport and shipment of weapons of every description, the mobilization of warships to Tartus and the presence of commando forces on the ground, all under the pretence of protecting Russian nationals in Syria, confirms the extent of the Kremlin’s involvement in the battle for Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Sooner or later, Russian advisers will become legitimate targets for the rebels.
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