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Originally published September 30 2015

Russia bombs Syria as Obama fails to make progress in Middle East

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Decades before the first American soldier set foot in Afghanistan, the Red Army was there.

In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded its much smaller neighbor to install a Moscow-backed regime. Over the next 10 years, Afghanistan would become a Vietnam-like quagmire for Moscow. According to The Atlantic, "an estimated one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers," and in the end, Soviet troops unceremoniously withdrew back to Russian soil, having accomplished little of what the Kremlin initially hoped to accomplish.

The U.S., of course, would engage in its own Afghan adventure less than 20 years later. And Russian forces would begin to see action once more too, in places like Georgia in 2008 and the Ukraine in 2014 (not to mention its struggles combating separatist violence, particularly in Chechnya). But now it appears as though President Vladimir Putin, who was a budding KGB officer during the Soviet–Afghan War, may be rushing headlong into another multi-year quagmire for which no real political solution is possible.

As reported by Breitbart News and other media in recent days, Russian warplanes have made their first combat sorties in civil-war-torn Syria, in defense of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and in defiance of the Obama Administration, which has engaged in a half-hearted air campaign targeting Syrian rebels and factions tied to the Islamic State while openly calling for the removal of President al-Assad.

As has been the case throughout the Obama presidency, U.S. action and reaction has been confusing, disorganized and wholly inappropriate.

Haphazard, confusing and ineffective

Prior to its first mission, Russia essentially told the Obama Administration to get American warplanes out of Syria – an indication that some sort of military action was impending. However, one official told Fox News that there was "nothing to indicate" that the U.S. was complying with that demand, Breitbart reported.

It gets even more confusing from there, the news site notes:

Another defense official said, "We have had every indication in recent weeks that (the Russians) were going to do something given the build-up." That's an interesting claim, because just a few days ago, Secretary of State John Kerry was saying Russia's long-term intentions were unclear, and he thought their buildup of air power in Syria was merely for "force protection."

That's pretty much par for the course for an Obama-run Pentagon that has to lie about how ineffective the president's strategy has been.

The array of weaponry deployed to Syria by Russia is also telling – that is, perhaps to everyone except Kerry. In the weeks before its first Syrian bombing mission, Russia moved tanks and troops into the country but also advanced air supremacy fighters and surface-to-air missiles, which is odd indeed given that ISIS (the Islamic State) is incapable of fielding an air force (but they do operate tanks).

Also, as Breitbart notes, the aircraft were essentially smuggled into Syria "using clever subterfuge designed to defeat satellite surveillance, which is something else no element of the Syrian rebellion has."

Filling a power vacuum

The Kremlin's insistence that American planes stay out of Syria has precedence.

"The Russian demand also mirrors one made by Turkey this past July, when Ankara asked U.S. planes to fly only in airspace south of Mosul, Iraq. In that case, 24 Turkish jets bombed Kurdish positions, catching the U.S. off guard," Fox News reported, as quoted by Breitbart.

Meanwhile, the Obama strategy for dealing with ISIS in Syria and Iraq is in shambles. Fighters that the U.S. is training as part of a $500 million program are instantly deserting and turning their American-provided weapons over to Syrian rebel militias run by al Qaeda and ISIS. And worse, as reported by The Daily Beast, which published an account of the betrayal, the Pentagon spent days essentially denying that the incident had happened – only to belatedly, clumsily and without credibility, sort of, kind of finally admit to it.

Russia may be getting itself into another prolonged Middle East quagmire, even as the U.S. attempts to extract itself from one. But the Russian action can also be viewed in the context of one great power moving quickly and decisively to fill a power vacuum left by another retreating great power.


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