Sunday, 3 January 2016
Russia is clearing the decks for Assad
"Russia is ostensibly pushing for a political settlement between the Assad government and the non-ISIS opposition. On the ground, Russia is assassinating the leaders of the non-ISIS opposition and working to dismantle their militias. In other words, Putin is not only looking to torpedo the Vienna process, but also trying to change the facts on the ground so Assad is the only show in town so when it comes to any ceasefire or peace deal. And the only thing that could stand against ISIS in the final instance. That way, Putin will leave the West no option but to come on board with him and Assad if they want to fight ISIS.
The de facto military détente between Assad and ISIS continues, the trade in oil and gas continues (despite heavy American bombardment of the transport convoys), and all under the watch of Putin’s “fight against terrorists”. There should be no doubt, however, as to what Putin’s priorities are: to keep a genocidal maniac in power by using the pretext of fighting against terrorism to target any opposition to Assad except for the terrorists themselves. And once again, our Western leaders have no strategic response to this, and no real desire to do anything other than throw bombs at the problem and hope for the best."