Russia Starts Bombing ISIS: China Sends Troops, Warships to Syria
October 4, 2015 Patrick Cockburn / The Independent & WhatDoesItMean
Russian military jets have carried out air strikes in Syria for the first time. The strikes were launched hours after the Russian parliament gave their seal of approval. (Note: The US Congress has not exercised its Constitutional mandate to approve the growing US war in Syria.) China has now joined the Russians to fight inside Syria. With support from Iranian forces and Hezb'allah, Assad's troops now have the kind of force projection previously match only the US.
Additional bombing of targets in Syria: October 1, 2015
Why Russia Started Bombing Syria --
And What It Hopes to Achieve Patrick Cockburn / The Independent
(September 30, 2015) -- Russian military jets have carried out air strikes in Syria for the first time, targeting what Moscow said were ISIS positions. The strikes were launched hours after the Russian parliament gave their seal of approval on Wednesday morning.
However, a US official has cast doubt on the claim that the Kremlin is targeting ISIS, saying the Russians appeared to be attacking opposition groups fighting Syrian government forces. And on the ground, video footage has emerged of Russian planes flying over anti-Assad rebel groups in Hama.
President Vladimir Putin sought to portray the airstrikes as a pre-emptive attack against the Islamic militants who have taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq. Here's what we know about why Russia would want to target ISIS groups:
1. Why has Russia moved now?
ISIS holds more than 50 per cent of Syria according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and has been advancing towards a strategically important road linking Damascus to the north. Its forces are now only 22 miles from this highway and President Assad's army is on the retreat after four years of war and heavy casualties.
Russia's key aim, therefore, is to prevent collapse -- unlikely -- or the significant weakening of the Assad regime. The US is not bombing ISIS in Syria in areas the jihadist group is fighting the Syrian army.
Russia has also decided to move now following the failure of Mr Putin to reach any agreement with the US at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York where the threat of ISIS has been high on the agenda.
2. What is Russia's plan -- to defeat ISIS or save Assad?
Their priority is to defeat ISIS and then save the Assad regime in Damascus. Despite all the controversy over whether Assad should stay or go, the war would carry on in either case. This is very much a civil war with committed supporters on either side. In the short term Russia wants to stop ISIS, and if possible defeat it -- though this not likely to happen.
3. Is this a proxy war between Russia and the US?
No -- they are both on same side against ISIS and al-Qaeda clones. They are wholly divided, however, on how power should be shared in a post-ISIS Syria, so there is a rivalry there.
4. How might Obama respond?
It is difficult for Obama to have any influence since he has a complete vacuum of policy in Syria. In theory he wishes to contain and defeat the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) but has failed to do either. The Russians have now filled that vacuum but with uncertain long-term results.
* This is an alarmist website but it frequently contains links to important, under-reported news stories.
(September 30, 2015) -- The [Russian] Ministry of Defense (MoD) is now reporting that for the first time in 24 years since its establishment in 1991 (following the collapse of the Soviet Union), the Russian Federation has followed correctly its constitutional order when earlier today the 162 members of the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly, Council of Federation, unanimously approved a Declaration of War requested by President Putin against the terrorist forces operating in the Levant known as the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and has begun combat operations.
To how powerful the combined Russian-Chinese forces now are in being able to defeat ISIS/ISIL, this report says, has been noticed by many in the West, including former Obama regime official James Lewis, who is a senior fellow and program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and who yesterday stated:
Of the greatest "fears/concerns" facing Russian and Chinese forces as they battle ISIS/ISIL, this report warns, is the Obama regime and its allies, most notably Britain, siding with these terrorists and their Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabian and Gulf State financial backers [see below reports for further context] which if occurred, would begin World War III.
The United Kingdom though, this report continues, has as yet failed to respond to Russia's warning to stop supporting ISIS/ISIL financial backers Saudi Arabia causing President Putin to issue to them a "direct warning" of potential combat should the British continue their already failed efforts.
With Britain continuing their massive shipments of weapons to Saudi Arabia, this report explains, the Saudis "military option" threat earlier today to send forces and arms into Syria and Iraq to support ISIS/ISIL against Russian forces constitutes a grave threat of relations between Russia and the United Kingdom.
With Saudi Arabia, also, collapsing into turmoil, this report says, new reports are now emerging stating that some members of the royal family are now calling for a coup -- which, should that occur, would mean Russian and Chinese forces could very well likely come into direct confrontation with them.
As more information is released in the Kremlin relating to this September War we will continue to update you.
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