Over the course of the last several weeks, Europe’s worsening migrant crisis and Russia’s stepped up military support for Bashar al-Assad’s forces at Latakia have conspired to wake the entire world up to Syria’s protracted civil war.
The interesting thing about Russia’s involvement is the extent to which Moscow’s approach to the conflict differs from The Kremlin’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine.
Whereas Putin has steadfastly refused to admit the scope of Russia’s support for the separatists at Donetsk, he’s made no secret of Moscow’s intentions in Syria.
Note the extent to which that assessment differs from Washington’s official line. While the US insists (loudly) that it cannot discern what Russia’s intentions in Syria are, The Kremlin has been remarkably (and uncharacteristically) clear. Put simply, Russia intends to bolster the army of its ally Bashar al-Assad against any and all anti-regime elements operating inside Syria and because some of those anti-regime elements happen to be extremists, Russia is effectively waging a war on terror by default. No mystery there.
However, because the US needs to buy time to figure out the best way to navigate an impossibly complex situation whereby Washington will either need to join its two fiercest foreign policy critics (Russia and Iran) in destroying Syrian rebels that in some cases were trained and supported by the Pentagon or else stand aside as the Russians do in a matter of months what the US air force has failed to achieve over the course of more than a year, The White House pretends to be completely confused about Putin’s intentions. This charade has piqued the public’s interest in Russia’s “mysterious” military buildup.
Having said all of that, one should of course approach any and all "evidence" of Russia's maneuvers with an appropriate amount of skepticism because, as we noted earlier this month, things like satellite images purporting to show just what Russia is doing and where in Syria "are the modern equivalent of Colin Powell's vial of WMDs presented to the United Nations in 2003 to justify the war with Iraq."
It's with all of the above in mind that we present the latest images that allegedly show the extent to which Russia is preparing for war from Bashar al-Assad's seaside stronghold.