Sunday, October 04, 2015

What Russia is Doing in Syria

The number of strange opinion pieces, trial balloons and general ponderings about what Russia is doing in Syria and what we should do about it has gotten to a silly point.

If you are looking for the executive summary: first of all, we are way past the point we can really "do" anything about it. Second, the Russians are simply stepping in to put down a marker that they will defend an ally - as it is their desire to do so, it is their pleasure

I don't know what their chosen Course of Action is, how the define their Phases, what their Decisive Points are, etc. In their own Russian way they will follow good military fundamentals.

As such, let's go with what little we know. From the valuable work by ISW, let's look at the map.

Ignore what the Russians say - watch what they do.

With a very modest force and with their own goals - of course they are not reaching all the way to the Islamic State. They have some lines to clean up first.

Before they and most of the Syrian forces could engage IS proper, they need to get rid of the other rebel groups nearby and in their rear. Hey, sucks to be you - but you picked your hill to die on, not the Russians.

Like they have done in eastern Ukraine, the Russians are going to clean up their lines, take critical logistics hubs, and see how much they can get away with for as little effort as possible.

Here is what they also know.
- The USA will do nothing. The Americans will talk a lot and posture, but will do nothing. Their government has no stomach for any of this, and the American people are trying to find their Halloween decorations in the attic.
- The Europeans are too occupied with the hoards of Orcs at their gates and living in their garden. Even if they had the desire, they don't have the ability.
- Iran & China will be helpful, because Russia is humiliating the USA.
- Russia will secure Assad in power in a way that best suits Russia, then they will worry about other things.
- The sun is shining; Russia will make hay.

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