The appearance of the Russian Air Force in Syria as part of the air regiment and escort services radically changed the situation in the region. In principle, it was possible to expect something else: external observers, apparently, believed that Moscow would act according to the Soviet scenario there.
That is, accusing the West of all sins, it will deploy a bulky military machine that can be simply attacked with the hidden (or overt) support of Islamists, like the one that Senator McCain currently requires them to lend. It is curious whether the West will deliver modern MANPADS to terrorist groups after everything that has happened between them since the mega terrorist attack 11 of September. Since the fact that they will fire at any aircraft, helicopters and UAVs, starting with the US, is more than clear. And Russia will not leave such an answer without an answer.
Where did the lads have Syrian sadness?
Unlike all forecasts, Russia acted covertly, quickly and efficiently. What, in principle, could be expected by analyzing its actions in Ossetia and the Crimea. She was extremely polite and constructive, but firmly offered everyone to cooperate on her terms or leave the road and not interfere with her to fight with terrorist groups there and in such a way as she considered necessary. At the same time, the legitimacy of its actions in Syria by the Assad government was ensured. And let us add: in the event of a decision being taken by the Russian leadership, his hands are untied for military action in Iraq, since the government of that country invited Russia to such actions. Fortunately, a center in Baghdad, called to coordinate the counter-terrorist actions of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia, has been created.
The last is a slap in the face for President Obama, whose cumbersome coalition of 62 members has been operating in the Iraqi sky for more than a year without significant success. Which partly explains his predictions of the failure of Russian actions in Syria, while Putin, in relation to the United States and Obama himself, speaks more correctly. With ground support in the face of the Syrian army, Kurdish and Druze units, Shiite troops and Iranians, and in Iraq, if the Islamic State (IG) is to be finished there, the Iraqi army, Iranians and local Kurds and Shiites will be better than the US Air Force and their allies by two orders of magnitude. However, in the end, no one except for the confusion created by themselves in the goals, objectives and allies did not interfere with the necessary communication with the Americans.
At the same time, the communication line between the Pentagon and the Russian Ministry of Defense, which did not maintain contact for a long time on the initiative of the United States, is open and successfully operating. A similar communication line between Russia and Israel also operates. The Americans and Israelis have no problems with communicating with the Russians in order to avoid collisions in the Syrian sky. Both the military and politicians admit it. It is clear that Israel’s concerns about the possibility of Hezbollah’s falling into the hands of Israel are on the agenda, and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards in charge of it remains its number one enemy. But the IG, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Sunni Islamist groups are no less dangerous for him, at least considering the experience of his confrontation with Hamas.
For Turkey, the fact of actions in Syria in the style chosen by Russia after the recent visit to Moscow of President Erdogan to the opening of the Cathedral Mosque was a surprise. The Saudis were greatly discouraged by the fact that the dialogue with them of the Russian Foreign Ministry on the situation in Syria and their “generous” proposals turned out to be nothing more than a prelude to a strike on the Islamists of the Russian Air Force supported by them. What was thought and thought about what is happening in Qatar is difficult to judge, since anti-Russian rhetoric in the Doha-controlled media is a constant factor. Fortunately, Qatar, while financing the "Emirate of the Caucasus", has not yet directly organized resonant terrorist attacks in Russia, unlike Saudi Arabia, possibly introducing this restriction after the liquidation of Yandarbiyev on its territory.
Significantly appeared on the website of the Turkish Foreign Ministry "statement of seven", requiring the withdrawal of Russia from Syria. First, the composition of the signatories. Secondly, by the very fact that this document was made public by the Turks, despite the fact that all countries indicated in this paper have their own Ministries of Foreign Affairs, each of which has its own website. Assuming that the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia suddenly decided to entrust the foreign policy functions of Turkey, it is highly strange, most likely we have sanctioned by the top Turkish leadership “plums” of the relevant document, it is possible that it is raw. That in itself can not mean anything except Turkey’s aspiration to spur development of events in the right direction for it.
As for the composition of the countries listed as authors of the statement, the troika of “regionals” is the customers of the civil war in Syria and the overthrow of Assad. The three western “killers” are states whose political elite have long been bought by the Salafi tandem, whose air force (for the reluctance of those after Afghanistan and Iraq to use the sun as a whole) they use to redraw the Middle East and crack down on their rivals: authoritarian secular leaders, be it Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, or Bashar Assad (in the latter case, without any special results). The appearance of Germany on this list, with its traditionally neutral “Arab Spring” with respect to the Middle Eastern adventures, may be the result of an agreement to suspend the flow of refugees sent to this country by Turkey with the financial support of Qatari and Saudi foundations or another evidence of the surprising influence that the Chancellor has Merkel President Obama.
Consider some aspects of the Syrian policy of Russia and the possible implications of this policy, based on materials prepared for the Institute of the Middle East Yu. B. Shcheglovin. Characterized by the responses of foreign media in relation to the results of the first airstrikes of the Russian Air Force on the positions of the IG and other terrorist groups in Syria. Moreover, it is clear that their beginning has opened a new phase of diplomatic struggle between Russia and the West. The first round has already taken place during a meeting of the UN General Assembly and in the negotiation process of the Russian and American presidents. He won Moscow. The harder will be the second round, which is visible to the naked eye. Although it is not too clear how the US and its allies translate a long-term bloody crusade against international terrorism onto the rails of geopolitical confrontation familiar to the Western establishment with the new reincarnation of the “evil empire” into which Russia has been transformed since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine.
The main motive of all Western publications is Russian aviation bombs non-neigil targets. This is partly true - blows near Homs were inflicted on pro-Saudi and pro-Turkish groups. They turned from the Idlib bridgehead to this city, realizing that after the Russians arrived in Latakia, the direction to it became unpromising. But this does not mean that there are no IS supporters in the area: they tried several times to advance to Homs from under Palmyra, conducting distracting attacks to stop the attack of Damascus forces on this city. Assad’s opponents suffered more than tangible damage from the first Russian air raids by the Secretary of State Kerry and the hysteria of the Saudi leadership - from the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN inclusively. This reaction is indicative: Moscow is destroying the conglomerate of Islamist groups that was hardly created by Riyadh. Russian pilots, unlike the Syrians, do not pursue a group of 20-30 militants, but hit underground tunnels, headquarters, arsenals and factories for the production of mined cars. So, from September 30 to October 1, Russian aviation attacked the headquarters and fortified points of the Islamists in Idlib, in the territory controlled by the pro-Saudi groups, Jaish al-Fatah.
The viability of the Syrian army gave superiority in the air. It allowed government forces, with a shortage of personnel, to resist Islamist groups. Hence the endless demands of the "friends of Syria" in the face of Turkey and the Arabian monarchies to declare a no-fly zone over Syria. After the seizure of a number of key Air Force bases and the withdrawal of most aircraft from service, the Assadists were able to seize the initiative, but not for long. Since the Russian Air Force, in contrast to the "coalition" forces, are in contact with the Syrian army, they have relevant intelligence information and the ability to locate aircraft navigators on the front lines of confrontation. As for the use of aviation not only against the IG, it is used where it is necessary to restore the front line, regardless of how the Islamists call themselves. The goal is to stabilize the situation in critical areas and deploy a counter-offensive.
It will be humiliated in every way and played up in the West, but mainly through the media. It is ridiculous to express concern publicly at the official level that they are bombing "not those" Islamists. “Jabhat an-Nusru” from the black list of terrorist groups of the US State Department no one removed. The concern of Americans is the fact of the bombing of Islamist groups, which they secretly use for their own purposes. This is primarily "Ahrar al-Sham" and "Junud al-Sham." In this regard, the theme of “injured civilians” is being discussed, although no one can document it. Note that the maximum task in Syria today is to stabilize the front and create optimal conditions for the advance of the Assad army and the Kurds on Raqqa. The capture of the Syrian capital of the IG, through which the smuggled oil goes to Turkey, will lead to the extinction of the military activity of the IG in Syria and Iraq. It is more important than knocking out militants from the Palestinian Yarmuk camp or stripping Aleppo.
The project "antiAsad" was blown away
The United States believes that behind Russia's actions there is a desire to declare oneself as a global player, get out of the sanctions regime and disavow the Ukrainian topic or freeze it. In fact, besides the protection of national interests, this step was due to a clear demonstration of the beginning of the end of the monopolar world, which took shape after the collapse of the USSR. Moreover, in the Saudi-Iranian confrontation, Russian policy made a serious step towards Iran. The dreams of lobbyists of the Arabian monarchies about bringing Russia closer to them and the ideas about Saudi investments will, apparently, remain dreams. At the same time, Moscow has noticeably advanced in winning the sympathies of the Western public, which prefers politicians who are ready to act effectively and politically incorrectly. Russia's actions in Syria are clear to her. However, the more severe will be the reaction of official Washington and Brussels, since it is not so much about Syria, as about a new decision-making model at the world level.
The initiatives of Russia regarding the intensification of the fight against IG have given rise to a number of political scientists of concerns about the possibility of IG expansion in Russia. Scheme: in retaliation for the Russian position on Syria, the IG will launch a terrorist war in Russia. It is clear that the position of Moscow on Syria has troubled Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey as sponsors of the “Syrian resistance,” its radicalization and Islamization. This happened because the Europeans and Americans closed their eyes to this and took a neutral position. Riyadh and Doha planted jihadism in Syria using unlimited financial infusions and logistics. This allowed them to saturate the resistance of Assad with foreign "volunteers" and create a counterweight to government forces to minimize the influence of Iran in Syria and Lebanon. If it were not for their sponsorship of the Islamists, the Syrian conflict would quickly pass the acute stage, although the mine-explosive war and the negative attitude of the Sunni population towards the government would remain.
As far as can be judged, the project of President Putin, which he schematically presented to the UN, is to maintain the presence of official Damascus in the political field of the country as the only guarantee against its transformation into a “failed state”. Once Assad’s opponents and their sponsors are aware of the pathos of the situation, it will be possible to move on to incorporating the Sunni elite into the economic and political life of Syria, as happened with the Chechen elite in Russia. It is clear that there was no interfaith confrontation in Chechnya. In Syria, it is, but the fact that the incorporation of Sunnis is possible proves the experience of the state apparatus of Assad Sr., who created a viable system of management and distribution of wealth. How this incorporation will take place - with the younger Assad at the head or not, is not so important. As evidenced by his own words.
In Saudi Arabia, they do not want to understand this. They call for the immediate withdrawal of Assad. Against the background of the failure of efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear deal and ineffective actions in Yemen, only success in Syria can support the status of Saudi Arabia as a regional power. But the kingdom cannot finance the militants for the Yemeni, Syrian and Iraqi fronts indefinitely. His budget in the face of a crisis in oil prices is experiencing problems. While maintaining the dynamics of spending the gold and currency reserves of the kingdom on global projects, it will be enough for two to three years. About a year later, Riyadh will begin to feel pressure in the region from Iran due to the growth of Tehran’s financial capabilities as the sanctions relax. So, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the medium term are unlikely to have enough strength and resources to organize large-scale jihadism in the North Caucasus. They will be able to pay for the resonant terrorist attacks, but they will not raise the confusion of the 90-x scale. And the situation in the North Caucasian republics has changed. In particular, Chechnya has experience of war on its territory, which no one wants to repeat. So talking about the expansion of the IG or "Jabhat al-Nusra" in the North Caucasus is possible only in theory.
In addition, the Russian military presence in Syria "binds" the forces of jihadists on its territory. With continued hostilities and maintaining the stability of the Syrian regime, the likelihood of jihad hotbeds in the North Caucasus is minimized. For this, there is no main condition - money, since the financial flows of the Arabian monarchies are directed to Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and Qatari more to Libya and Sinai. There are also thinning streams of "volunteers". An attempt to transfer the IG to self-financing in case of cutting off funds obtained from the smuggling of oil, grain and flour, archaeological artifacts, as well as ransom for hostages from Turkey, is doomed to failure. The understanding that there is no war without money has recently led the United States to announce a reward for information on the channels of IG financing. However, this is a more propaganda step. Firstly, they already know everything (why they do not take any actions against Turkish banks and companies cooperating with the IG, a special topic), and secondly, special services pay agents, not “outsiders”.
Curious are the processes taking place after the creation by Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq of a joint Information Center in Baghdad to coordinate the fight against IS. The decision on this, in the opinion of the United States, created a “new reality”, forcing one to try to understand the meaning of Moscow’s plans. According to the Wall Street Journal: “The security pact of four countries ... took US officials by surprise, who admitted that they barely understand the long-term strategy of the Russian Federation in the region." It was noted that Secretary Kerry had left open the possibility of coordination, if not the interaction of the White House and the Kremlin in the fight against IS. In fact, the creation of the center, which the Western press called the joint general headquarters of the four countries, means that Baghdad has “liaison officers” who monitor the situation on the fronts of Syria and Iraq and report joint recommendations to their capitals. The purpose of this center, besides the exchange of information, is political. No wonder its creation was officially announced on the eve of the program speech of the Russian president at the UN General Assembly.
The Russian president at the UN indicated the possibility of creating an alternative coalition to combat the IG on the eve of a meeting with the US president, “staked out” those who were previously denied by Washington, especially Iran and Syria, to participate in this alliance. In this case, the US interaction with Iran is carried out, as it was during the transfer of Iranian weapons US transport aircraft from Erbil to the Kobani enclave. Moscow proposed to legalize this process and make it legally fixed, but Washington could not take this step. Including because it would aggravate US relations with the Arabian monarchies, mainly with Riyadh. The same goes for Damascus. The most optimistic outcome of the Russian-American consultations could be the separation of coalition responsibilities and the establishment of contacts with the aim of avoiding random strikes against each other and overall coordination of actions. More realistic - when each of the coalitions will act on its own, putting up "red flags" and coordinating its activities with each other in fact.
We note in conclusion that the actions of the Russian Air Force in Syria and the diplomatic breakthrough in Iraq, among other things, allowed it to “return the face” lost in post-Soviet times. In the Middle East, only strong and independent people are respected. Fortunately, Moscow shows a lot more caution than in the old days, as evidenced by the level of coordination proposed by it with the Israelis and the Americans, and it follows the rules of the game accepted in the region much better than Washington. And this is undoubtedly a big plus. Does this situation carry risks for Russia? Of course. But without her intervention in Syria at the critical moment in the minimum amount that we observe, these risks would be much greater. What clearly does not take into account the critics of the actions of the domestic leadership, especially domestic ...