Quick hits

Busy day today, with real life intruding into blogging time. Sorry. Still, in line with thoughts on ISIS and US intervention there, and Russian intervention in Syria, two links. First, Strategy Page says there is hope that support for fundamentalism is waning in much of the Arab world.

Second, War on the Rocks looks at the historical background between the Soviet Union’s 1979 Afghanistan invasion, and its parallels to Putin’s Syrian intervention.

I’ve argued with Spill and a few others that Putin had no desire to intervene in Syria, as Russia is already focused on operations in Ukraine, and with its eyes on the Baltics. But the stalemate in Syria was not going to last, and there was a very real probability that the Assad regime, arguably on of Russia’s best allies, was on the cusp of collapse. That simply could not be allowed to happen. That Putin knew there was little Obama would or could do to stop him was a bonus, not a prime motivation. I’m of the opinion that Putin is still focused primarily on extending his influence not so much in the Middle East, but along Russia’s western borders.

2 thoughts on “Quick hits”

  1. I’d argue that intervention in Syria is vital to his goals along Russia’s western border. This is a perfect opportunity to goad an extremely touchy NATO member into doing something stupid and get the other members into the habit of politely declining screams for help under article 5.

  2. Tsar Putin probably won’t do much in Ukraine for awhile. He doesn’t have the wherewithal to do all the things he supposedly wants to do. He doesn’t even have the strength to carry out a full up invasion of Ukraine. He’s going to have to make a choice, and he may have to make in the face of EU sanctions.

    At present a financial clock is running against him. If EU sanctions stay on, he will run out of money to keep Russia functioning without military operations.

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