Political op-ed writer Mike Whitney believes Russia is going to throw itself into the path of any future attempt by the US and its allies to remove President al-Assad from power in Syria.
The US can't figure out what the Russians' intentions in Syria are, and are hoping that US military escalation of the air war over Syria from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey will result in the collapse of Bashar al-Assad's government, Whitney theorizes. At the same time, the Russians may be increasing their presence in the country, strengthening lines of supply to Assad, and setting up extremely advanced new air defenses in the besieged country.
A 14 September Reuters report on Russia positioning T-90 tanks at a strategic airfield in Syria accompanies similar sensational reports of Russian fighter jets landing at Syrian airfields, Russia's latest air defenses being deployed in the country to deter US aggression, and the latest Russian armored personnel carriers being handed over to the Syrian Arab Army. Videos already exist of the Syrian Army operating fully upgraded T-90 tanks, which (until the Armata platform was unveiled in 2015) were Russia's most advanced battle tanks.
Sensing a growing barrier to their attempts to remove Assad from power, Washington has groveled before Moscow by restoring the same military talks that it had earlier closed over Russia's alleged role in the Ukraine crisis. With sanctions already on Moscow over other issues such as the Ukraine War and Russia's support of US dissident Edward Snowden, the US regime has no diplomatic or economic options to persuade Russia to disengage from Damascus or change course. Refusal to cooperate with Russia has severely inhibited the aggressive US regime's attempts to interfere in Syria and increased the incentives for Russia to sabotage and block US policy in the country.
A weak attempt was made to close off European airspace to Russian transports heading to Syria, but Russia quickly found routes around the areas and drastically increased its cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran to support Syria. Evidence seems to suggest an imminent new round of confrontation between the West and Russia like the Ukraine crisis, this time over Syria, with the West again acting as a blatant aggressor trying to redraw the map of the world with military force.
Writing at Counterpunch, Whitney offered the conclusion that the US may succeed in weakening Syria and creating areas that remain under terrorist control, but that Russia will inhibit any effort to remove Assad from power. Meanwhile, the US war machine cannot be turned off. It is likely that the US regime's despotic leaders will continue hurtling towards a confrontation in Syria until they suffer severe military losses and further political and diplomatic defeats at the hands of Putin.
US President Barack Obama's fate in Syria, Whitney concludes, is in the hands of Vladimir Putin. If we consider how hostile and threatening the US has become to Russia, Obama will be eviscerated. According to Business Insider, Obama's "rebel" army in Syria, created to rule Syria after Assad, now only consists of four men. One White House official tried to distance the President from the defeat, shifting the blame by implying that Senator John McCain is to blame for recommending the failed strategy.