RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin could launch an all-out assault on Syria while the world is watching the US Presidential election, intelligence sources have suggested. Russia has recently moved three submarines armed with cruise missiles along with an aircraft carrier towards Syria amid preparations for a final assault designed to shore up victory for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces in Aleppo, The Times reports. “We think that the Russians are on the brink of a major military assault on Aleppo,” an intelligence source told the paper. “There could be significant humanitarian consequences.”
The Soviet-era ship was loaded with fighter jets, helicopters and missiles in preparation for what humanitarian groups fear could be intended for a devastating final assault on the city. Aid workers fear it could prove devastating for nearly 300,000 people trapped inside. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Kelin denied that was the intention and said it was “absurd” to think the country planned an assault as it had always had ships in the Mediterranean.
“In war, truth is the first casualty”. ~Aeschylus
Formal statements by any government official from the Russian Federation have become can’t-miss comedy. I particularly enjoyed the manner in which Mr. Kelin brushed off any suggestion of using the floating weaponized city for a military purpose as “absurd”. Unfortunately, the reason why Putin & Co. are actually getting away with murder is because of…a lot of different reasons, not the least of which is the sordid state of American foreign policy. The ongoing conflict in Syria and its neighboring “nations”* has brought a lot of American diplomatic issues to light (I will spare you my thoughts on this topic, it requires its own novel). Now, compound this systematic foreign policy problem with a brutally contentious election between a couple American heart-throbs (*slits own throat*) and Russia has unilateral freedom that would make Kevin McAllister blush.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has the unencumbered ability to utilize his armed forces as he pleases with no fear of any actual military response from the West. Unsurprisingly, actively engaging Russians on the field of battle does not play well on the campaign trail. The reality is that Russians have skin in the game and the United States of America does not. The Assad regime is their best ally in the region (*cough*loyal customer*cough*), the Russian naval base at Tartus is crucial to their Mediterranean presence, and Putin needs the war to help distract from his domestic failures. Russia is acutely aware that all levels of American government are focused on the polling booth, and no American wants to see anymore US troops dying on foreign soil.
The sickest part is: what leg does Uncle Sam have to stand on? That quote inserted at the top? It goes both ways, truth has no “sides”. The United States sells advanced military equipment & weapons to the Bahrani government (Bahrain is home to the HQ of the US Navy’s Fifth fleet), a political authority that crushed a popular uprising during the Arab Spring while committing systematic state torture of leftist opposition members**. This American support for the House of Khalifa (less black & yellow, more repression & oil) is only one example of the many repressive strongmen propped up by the US over the years (The Shah, Pinochet, House of Saud, to name a few). Make no mistake, everybody knows where that carrier is going and what it is going to do when it gets there. The Russian Federation will continue to prop up the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, the United States will continue to deal with its own issues, and the world will keep on spinning.
The next time that you see a gut-wrenching image of a war-weary Syrian child, remember the truth: allocating blame may not be as one-dimensional as you are led to believe.
*Most of these nation-states consist of varying ethno-religious groups that were pushed into statehood with one another. Forcing these populations to co-exist under one government was the work of western powers, spoils of war contrived by the victors of WWI. The mistakes made while carving up the carcass of the Ottoman Empire sowed the seeds of the Middle-East instability seen today. The interesting part is that the weakening Ottoman Empire was somehow keeping the whole op relatively stable until the Great War. Fantastic background for anyone interested: “A Peace to End All Peace” – David Fromkin
**(Rosenberg) – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-18642032
Another great article from The Atlantic (Hof): http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/09/aleppo-russia-kerry-syria/501821/