InoPressa. What is behind the «Syrian surprise» Putin

Putin «is willing to throw Assad to the mercy of fate», «forced to save» for military presence in Syria or actually comes out of the «quagmire» the winner, having achieved their goals? — analyze mass media the decision on the partial withdrawal of Russian troops. «The fight against ISIL is now the USA and their allies,» I believe the American Newspapers. Syrian rebels fear that the lost territories they did not return.

«Within five years, President Obama has steadily denied that the U.S. is capable of, without getting bogged down in a protracted war, to intervene in the events in Syria and change the balance of forces on the battlefield. But it now seems to have done President Putin,» says a columnist for the New York Times Marc Lendler.

U.S. officials still have doubts that Putin really withdraw its troops from Syria, but believes that he has grounds for it. Putin has tied his reputation to the current armistice and the inter-Syrian negotiations. «He wants to resolve tensions with the EU because of the migration crisis, in which Europeans partly blame Putin. It also annoys Assad,» reads the article.

According to the United States, a tipping point, when the political costs for the continuation of Putin’s Syrian campaign would exceed the benefits that it brings. In addition, Russia had largely achieved its main goal: keeping Assad in power and has cemented his place in the negotiations on a political settlement.

Lendler also believes that the withdrawal of Russian troops will ease the situation Obama: it’s not so vigorously require the extension of U.S. support for the Syrian moderate opposition.

Some experts say that Putin’s operation has exposed a bug in the case of Obama.

«Putin has demonstrated that it is possible to intervene pobombit, to introduce ground troops and still come out of the conflict. In fact, Russia has changed the situation on the ground and prevented the fall of the regime,» says Andrew J. Tabler (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).

«It seems that Putin has again surprised the Obama administration — this time by the unexpected announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Syria, says an editorial in The Washington Post. In September, Obama ridiculed the hasty accession of Russia into the war, calling it a right step in a «quagmire». However, in Syria Putin has accomplished quite a bit, and at the expense of American interests and objectives.»

The authors note that the humanitarian consequences of the Russian intervention very difficult: human rights activists and independent observers time and again spoke about the application of Russian aviation attacks on civilians, including the use of prohibited cluster bombs. «Russia never paid for these crimes,» reads the article.

«The withdrawal of troops can reduce the force a fair wind in the sails of Assad, who boasted that’ll conquer the whole of Syria. It is also suitable to Putin», — writes the edition. Syria, like Ukraine with Georgia, the Russian President is more useful as a frozen conflict in which Russia can defend its interests in a divided country and to veto any final solution to the problem, avoiding long-term military intervention.

As regards the fight against «Islamic state», now it «will remain the United States and its allies, and the survival of the Assad regime will make it much more difficult», says the author.

Russian military intervention changed the course of the civil war in Syria, but has not implemented all tasks set by the Kremlin, the journalist writes The Financial Times, Sam Jones.

Russia has managed to keep Assad in power and strengthen its control in the province of Latakia that, if reconciliation fails, it could be capable of create a «mini-state».

«One senior intelligence official from Europe said that Russia had originally planned to lead a swift military campaign, so a few months Assad’s forces withdrew to the Turkish border, regained firm control over Aleppo and paralyzed the moderate opposition so that Washington, guided by pragmatism, has ceased its support and joined Russia and its partners in the fight against ISIS,» writes the correspondent.

«However, more violent than expected, the resistance of the rebels in the fighting, a tense confrontation with Turkey, the overvoltage of the Iranian army and the prospect that world oil prices will remain within $ 40 a barrel, severely limited the effect of the military expedition of Moscow», — said in the article.

Then «Russia attempted to implement a political plan under the leadership of their chief of intelligence, in order to remove Assad and secure his control over the political transition period. But Assad refused to resign, and Russia was forced to increase military support to Damascus. Now this support is also reached my limit».

And yet, the author believes, the Russian military resources will not lose their fundamental role for the future of Syria.

The evaluation of a certain officer of NATO for defense purposes the Assad regime with only a dozen aircraft on the basis Hanim. Probably in Syria will remain and the strength of the Russian Navy. And «eternal trump card» for Russia will be air defense system «S-400» is capable of «no-fly zone» in a radius of 400 km.

The decision of Vladimir Putin on the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria has several meanings, I am sure Bernardo Valli, the author of the article in Italian La Repubblica.

It can mean that the operation that started on 30 September last year, led to positive results and an opportunity to reduce military presence.

Six months ago it seemed that Bashar Assad is over, but Russia’s intervention in September last year dramatically changed the situation, writes the author. The Damascus regime has been strengthened. Prior to the announcement of the ceasefire, he was one step away from the final victory: with the decisive support of the Russian aviation, he returned complete control over Aleppo.

«Anxiety-related reluctance to get bogged down too deeply in the middle East crisis, continues valley, — caused the United States Barack Obama not to overemphasize the shameless behavior of Putin’s Russia, with which it was necessary, and now need to reach an agreement to try to resolve the conflict. This is probably happening right now for not too secret-the-scenes diplomacy.»

«The announcement of a partial withdrawal of Russian troops for Assad wasn’t supposed to sound reassuring. On this important point of Putin’s intentions remain unclear, says the author. — The Russians can come back at any time. However, the decision to reduce Russian military presence in the moment in Geneva are attempts to start negotiations, is perceived as a warning to Assad. Encouraged by the strengthening of the stability of the regime, Assad has caused irritation of the Kremlin. He was careless or behaved provocatively. He was caught off guard by his great ally and Savior, when he announced the imminent parliamentary elections and ruled out the possibility of confirming its mandate through the presidential elections.» The outcome would be negative for Assad, the article says. Finally, if in Geneva will begin the real dialogue, the question arises about the division of the country, and Assad is against it.

Probably, the Russian side sent a signal that Assad has restricted their demands. If so, then between Russians and Americans really reached agreement in an effort to resolve the Syrian conflict. And the fate of Assad was at the center of this undeclared agreement.

«The Syrian conflict has returned Russia to the middle East through the first major operation beyond national borders since the collapse of the Soviet Empire, writes the valley. — The Russian President is now negotiating with the President of the superpower, and after the announcement of the withdrawal of Russian troops to the negotiations between Putin and Obama are of great importance».

«Meanwhile, the Western sanctions hurt Russia, which both hit hard the fall in oil prices. Hence another interpretation of Putin’s decision: daily price military presence in Syria amounts to 3 million dollars. And this price needs to be reduced,» concludes the author.

«The Western powers believe that as part of the agreement to end the conflict in Syria, Putin is ready to «jettison» of President Bashar Assad,» writes The Independent. After the surprise announcement from Putin that Russian military intervention is reached, diplomats sure: Moscow is ready to put pressure on Assad to allow political transition.

«We understand that Putin is not associated with Assad are inseparable,» — said in an interview with an unnamed diplomat.

Putin remains great room for maneuver. The Deputy defense Minister Nikolai Pankov stated that the Russian aircraft will still be to attack «targets for terrorists». «The term Russia is used to justify attacks on more moderate opposition forces, and civilian objects such as schools and hospitals,» — says the author Laura Pitel.

«But the optimists point out that Putin may seriously wants to put an end to the hostilities», — said in the article. According to them, the truce is saved «due to the strong pressure by world powers on their clients in Syria.»

Western diplomats say that Assad could play a role in the political transition process, and then to resign under pressure from Moscow. The opposition will tolerate this arrangement if they receive a firm guarantee of the resignation of Assad, the journalist concludes.

«Fighters from the ranks of the Syrian opposition and refugees here, — writes the correspondent of The Wall Street Journal from the Turkish city on the border with Syria, with unobtrusive has been welcomed Moscow’s decision to start withdrawing the majority of its forces from Syria.»

As many Syrians (both supporters and opponents of Assad), they believe that the fate of their country now is wholly dependent on critical negotiations between world powers — Russia and the United States.

«The Russian intervention actually changed the balance of forces on the ground, and perhaps permanently,» says the native of Latakia Waleed Rahal Rahal.

Russian bombing has created a cover for peresadovka forces completely ousted the rebels from Latakia. By January the Assad regime and his Iranian-supported allies conquered the main strongholds of the opposition in the region — Rabia and Salma, the article says.

«It was impossible to believe. I never in my life been so afraid,» recalls 27-year-old rebel from Lattakia , Mohammad Wallo, participated in the defense of Salma. Valo and others believe that the regime will do everything possible to keep the area reclaimed with the help of Russia in Latakia, as they are part of the coastal centre of the ruling Alawite minority.

«The fact that the regime captured in Latakia, greatly increases the chances of the subsequent separation of Syria,» says the native of the province of Alaa Ala.

A decision on the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria «was as much a surprise to the Russian public, as the news of the beginning of the military campaign at the end of September 2015», says the observer of the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau Victor Funk. Russian military journalist Arkady Babchenko sarcastically wrote: «Where he fought… What goals reached… How many killed… Who killed… Many lost… Fig was to… go Fig… who the hell knows».

However, political analysts and journalists, soberly examining the news, propose explanations. So, according to Russian political scientist Andrei Kortunov, «cannot be ruled out that Assad was too stubborn, some of his statements called into question the continuation of the Geneva process».

«Kommersant» also suggested that the Syrian army was to a higher standard and to insist that the Russians did more. «But this, apparently, was not in the plans of Moscow. Moreover, the return of control over the entire territory of Syria could take several years». Perhaps the fact that «Moscow got involved in the conflict in Syria to use it as a test bed for new weapons».

The liberal dozhd TV channel, believes that Moscow simply took advantage of the best opportunity for a withdrawal of troops: «If the decision about the withdrawal of troops was made during the fighting, it looked like the rout and defeat. If you go during the peace talks, which partially organized you’re, to some extent, you can look like a winner.»

Translation InoPressa




InoPressa. What is behind the «Syrian surprise» Putin 16.03.2016

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