Russia's Military Withdrawal Will Prompt President Assad To "Compromise"

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

Russia has every right to withdraw most of its Aerospace Forces from Syria following Daesh’s defeat, with one of the most immediate consequences of this move being that it will prompt President Assad into a “political compromise” with the “opposition”.

President Putin’s surprise visit to Syria saw the Russian leader announce the large-scale withdrawal of his country’s Aerospace Forces from the Arab Republic, signifying that Moscow truly believes that Daesh is defeated and that its original mission in Syria has been accomplished. It needs to be reminded that Russia’s 2015 anti-terrorist intervention was initiated by the need to destroy this international terrorist threat, although other more locally active terrorist organizations were also targeted for elimination in the course of events as well.

Contrary to some of the expectations and misleading inferences shared across a few Alt-Media platforms since that time, Russia did not get involved in Syria in order to “save Assad”, but to protect the constitutional order of the state and prevent its Libyan-like fall to terrorists. To this end, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov even once remarked that “Assad is not our ally, by the way. Yes, we support him in the fight against terrorism and in preserving the Syrian state. But he is not an ally like Turkey is the ally of the United States”, further driving home this point in an unforgettable way.

Now that Daesh is defeated, there’s no “official” reason for Russia’s military forces to remain actively deployed in Syria, although President Putin was clear that they’ll still continue to remain hosted in the two bases that Moscow has in the country and won’t hesitate to act if the terrorists suddenly return. It’s at this point where it’s important to clarify what Russia means by “terrorists”; unlike Damascus, Moscow’s interpretation of this term doesn’t extend to the armed “moderate opposition rebels” that are partaking in the parallel international peace processes of Astana and Geneva.

This is a crucial difference in understanding because it determines the legitimate scope of Russia’s anti-terrorist assistance to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). Although Daesh is defeated, the whole northeast of the country beyond the Euphrates is under the control of the Kurdish-led “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) who are stubbornly intent on “federalizing” the remaining two-thirds of the country with American support. Likewise, there are already four “de-escalation zones” (DEZ) active in the rest of Syria, which essentially function to separate the SAA from the armed “opposition” in these places.

President Assad once famously promised to liberate “every inch” of Syria, but there’s no way that he’ll be able to free those parts of the country now unless he “compromises” with his opponents. In hindsight, this might be why President Putin said during last month’s Sochi Summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts that “It is obvious that the process of reform will not be easy and will require compromises and concessions from all participants, including of course the government of Syria.” Russia won’t ever target the “moderate opposition rebels” that it signed DEZ deals with and invited to Astana, so Damascus will be compelled to “compromise” with them if it wants to reassert its authority over the territory that they presently occupy.

The same situation applies for the PYD-YPG Kurds, too. The 2000 US troops in northeastern Syria and 10 American bases there make it impossible for the SAA to militarily reintegrate this region, thus necessitating some sort of “decentralization” deal likely modelled off of the one that’s included in the Russian-written “draft constitution” and possibly seeing DEZs (which the Kurdish-controlled third of the country might eventually be designated) transformed into “decentralization” units. The SAA’s Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah allies won’t be of much help in any forthcoming liberation operation that Damascus might secretly be planning in these regions because they lack the pivotal airpower of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, which was responsible for turning the tide of war in the first place in late 2015.

They’d also be violating the DEZs that Moscow worked so hard to establish, likely earning each of them a sharp rebuke from Russia behind closed doors or even in public if the situation was serious enough to “warrant” it. President Putin is adamant that the War on Syria begins transitioning from the military theater to the political one, using his proposed “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” as the template for proceeding to the next step, and he will do whatever is reasonably possible within his and his country’s power to ensure that this happens.

The refusal of Russia to get militarily involved in what it officially views as the “civil war” dimension of the conflict between Damascus and the armed “moderate opposition rebels” following its victory in the international one between the SAA and Daesh suggests that Moscow will now intensify all of its diplomatic efforts towards reaching a “political solution”. There are a few reasons behind all of this, but they can broadly be categorized by domestic and international imperatives that share a common pragmatism.

On the home front, President Putin is delivering on the promise that he made to his countrymen to win their War on Terror, having done so in only a third of his term (~2 years) and without dragging it on indefinitely like the US has done for over 8 times as long. Neither he nor his voters want to see Russia embroiled in what they always fear could become an Afghan-like quagmire by continuing military operations during what they believe to now be a solely “civil war” context. In addition, downscaling Russia’s involvement in Syria could allow the federal government to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars to domestic projects during President Putin’s expected fourth term, which boosts his populist credentials during this election season.

The other reason behind why Russia will probably focus mostly on diplomatic initiatives at this time is because of the role that this intricate process can play in promoting Moscow’s 21st-century “balancing” act in becoming the supreme stabilizing force in the Eurasian supercontinent. By withdrawing most of Russia’s Aerospace Forces from Syria and thereby creating the conditions whereby President Assad is prompted into making “political compromises” as a result, Russia expects to enhance its strategic relations with Turkey, the Kurds, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, all with an eye on furthering the prospects of the emerging Multipolar World Order in this pivotal location at the tri-continental crossroads of Afro-Eurasia.

Furthermore, by withdrawing right after accusing the US of provocative in-air maneuvers over Syria, Russia is extending an “olive branch” of “goodwill” to its Great Power rival and signaling that it’s eager as always to normalize relations if Washington is ready to reciprocate. The much-sought-after and so-called “New Détente” could finally make progress if Russia and the US reach a “gentlemen’s agreement” with one another over the fate of the Syrian Kurdish “federalists”, as appears to already somewhat be the case with both of them encouraging their on-the-ground partners of the SAA and SDF respectively to refrain from crossing the Euphrates River border between them.

Bearing all of the above in mind, the implications of Russia’s announced military withdrawal from Syria are much larger than simply signifying Daesh’s defeat, but point to a thought-out and far-reaching plan to prompt President Assad into making “political concessions” to the “opposition” as a means of enhancing Russia’s overall “balancing” role in the Mideast, all for the “greater good” of multipolarity. While there’s hope that this process could also yield a breakthrough in relations with the US, such expectations should understandably be tempered by the reality of the “deep state’s” War on Trump, though the prospects of “constructive” US-Russian interaction via the Syrian Kurds – particularly in the event that they succeed in “institutionalizing” their self-declared “federation” in northeastern Syria – shouldn’t be overlooked.


HowdyDoody svayambhu108 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:25 Permalink

Very few of their assets will leave, just the very small number of troops serving on the front line. Russia has sealed 50 year deals for the use of Tartus as a full naval base (up from refueling station only) and the use of Hymeim air base. The naval, aviation, military police and humanitarian aid forces are not going anywhere.

The air force assets will probably change composition from ground attack to area denial, e.g. the recent deployment of the iL-22PP airborne jammer aircraft.

In reply to by svayambhu108

Blankone HowdyDoody Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:52 Permalink

Here is a quote for an article on RT's front page.

"The majority of Russian forces operating in Syria, including Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and the Beriev A-50 AWACS plane, are arriving back home"

Putin is cutting and running. As I have long said, when Putin did not have the balls to declare a no-fly zone over Syria he doomed the effort, unless all he ever wanted was to secure a base for Russia on Syria's west coast.

In reply to by HowdyDoody

Tom Angle Ted19731950 Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:28 Permalink

Asma al-Assad is the First Lady of Syria. Born in London to Syrian parents, she is married to the 19th and current President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. WikipediaBorn: August 11, 1975 (age 42), London, United KingdomHeight: 5? 7?SpouseBashar al-Assad (m. 2000)ChildrenZein al-AssadKarim al-AssadHafez al-AssadNationality: British, SyrianParentsFawaz AkhrasSahar Akhras

In reply to by Ted19731950

ebworthen Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:13 Permalink

No, no, no.This is Putin presenting the West a chance to not be such dopes about the modern Crusades.If we don't accept the olive branch, he can say "We tried" and put the troops right back where they belong.Putin is the only leader of the Western World defending Christianity.  The U.S. is there for oil and poppy fields.

Theosebes Goodfellow wildbad Tue, 12/12/2017 - 05:06 Permalink

~"he is the only person standing between us and a world thoroughly dominated..."~ What's this "us" stuff, pilgrim? Putin may be no genius, but he does know when to spike the ball, call it a game and get on home.For Putin and the Russians there is no more "win" to be had in Syria. All that is left is quagmire, body counts and petty squabbles for which Russia has no dog in the hunt. They successfully stopped the House of Saud from running a pipeline to the Mediterranean. That's their victory.Their monopoly on shipping Europe gas is intact. That's why he's packing his toys up and going home. There is nothing more to stay for.

In reply to by wildbad

BOPOH wildbad Tue, 12/12/2017 - 16:11 Permalink

You are mistaken, you are fooling yourself my distant American friend. Come to rural Russia and you will see everything for yourself. Native Russian population is dying out.Chabbad coming in masses. Putin works for the tribe. Putin and his old friend Berel Lazar are preparing mother Russia to be a paradise for God's choosen people.  They alredy own and control everything in Russia.…

In reply to by wildbad

Blankone ebworthen Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:38 Permalink

Lets talk about what Putin just did. He just cut and ran, he just betrayed an ally (Russia's best expertise), he set up Assad.

The US has already defied Putin and built at least 11 known bases IN Syria and expanding. US special forces are running all over NE and SE Syria. The US killed a Russia general at Dier. Recently a US fighter jet got aggressive with two Russian jets to give another signal. Result - Putin is running. Well, there are other reasons, Trump and the zionists are setting up an expanded war with Hezbollah in Lebanon and with Iran. Hamas is on the menu as well.

All Putin wanted was to take a part of the Syrian western coast for Russia. He is going to backup to his bases there and try to keep it. Putin is providing the S400 to the Saudis and to Turkey (Assad's enemies) but has refused to provide to Assad.

From the article:
Russia did not get involved in Syria in order to “save Assad”, but to protect the constitutional order of the state and prevent its Libyan-like fall to terrorists.

What BS!!! The SDF has Raqqa, the US has occupied NE Syria and is expanding, the US is bringing in new killers and rebranding ISIS as "coalition forces" and giving direct air suppor. How is that "constitutional order". Libya did not fall to vague "terrorists" Libya fell due to US and EU air attacks, sanctions and no-fly zone. If Putin wanted to avoid another Libya he would have declared a no-fly zone over Syria and kept the US out of it.

Bottom line - Putin/Russia did not/does not have the balls to do the real job, Putin let the US take Syria and now Russia is running. Putin will do the same to Iran.

Putin and the Bear got poked, and ran.

In reply to by ebworthen

DarthVaderMentor Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:16 Permalink

I don't think so. Maybe in Obama's wet dreams or that of the globalist followers.Putin proved and delivered for the world to see that which we can't deliver.....solid support our allies.

Ace006 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:15 Permalink

A precipitous move to match earlier rushes to the exit. Putin leaves Assad hanging at a time when there are still significant problems. And ISIS is not polite enogh to slink away. They are still there and there are thousands of Uighursand other foreign scum in Idlib. Way to go Vladimir! This sends precisely the wrong signal. And you're not going to shame the US to leave too.

BobEore Ace006 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 03:19 Permalink

A precipitous analysis - to match earlier precipitous predictions of the Syrian Endgame.You Must wait ... until the final pronouncements coming in the wake of the current Ankara visit by Vlad... to see what he has up his sleeve, this time. I'm not, by the way, knocking the core truths contained in your comment - but they can only be employed analytically once the data is in on whether the Turks are given a free hand to invade Afrin,,, and restart the whole mess.Of course, it seems unilikely that would occur... but the entire course of this travesty has been the strnging together of unlikeihoods with falsitudes atop of towering deceptions - so - nothing is 'off the table' ... until the table has been overturned.And IF the US and Moscow DO get together some kind of joint plan regarding the Kurdish cantons and the 'federalization' of northern Syria... you can be SURE THAT THE HAND OF tel aviv with be right there guiding any such arrangement. This is all about dividing up the spoils of Syrian-Iraqi petro-patches, as a prelude to the emerging Sraeli=led Eurasian energy cartel which will ring Europe with a monolithic monopoly from which there is no escape.Drumpf... having handed in his LAST diplomatic TRUMP card... in giving over Jerusalem to the millennialist maniacs... is merely on hand now to provide convenient cover for the real negotiations going on between competing factions of the Russo-talmudic mafiyas' ONE RING WHICH BINDS THEM.

In reply to by Ace006

great_scot Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:25 Permalink

Assad doesn't need to compromise, he has already won. And Vlad knows what he's doing. I'm sure there will be a 'few' special forces left behind.

HowdyDoody great_scot Tue, 12/12/2017 - 05:35 Permalink

There are Russian troops in Syria, Russian PMCs, Russian trainers, Russian aircrew, Russian naval personel, Russian military police, Russian humanitarian aid protection teams. Russia has also got a 50 year lease on the use of Tartus as a full naval base (rather than refueling access) and 50 years for Hymeim as an airbase. The Russian troops are only a small part of the Russian forces and were used to provide strategic and tactical advise in the major battles. This move gets the most exposed personnel out of the way leaving Hezbollah and the Iranians to take on the US. But the US aircraft will protect the illegal US ground forces? Well Russia recently flew in one of its Il-22PP jammer aircraft. This is designed to jam the comms of air-to-air missiles, cruise missiles and specifically the Link16 network comms of all modern US aircraft right up to the F-35.

The Il-22PP will be protected by the Su-35.

In reply to by great_scot

JohninMK HowdyDoody Tue, 12/12/2017 - 06:30 Permalink

Pretty much, no mention of the Russian Mi-24/35 Hind attack helicopters moving out, nor their artillery troops.As much as anything this move by the Russians reflects the fact that most of the fighting now going on is relatively close to their airbase, not hundreds of miles away in the east so they waste less time transiting. Also, as they are now operating so far away from the US 'fly zone' they shouldn't need to provide as much fighter escorts to protect their strike planes and those strike planes don't need to be long range ones either.Still it makes really good PR. 

In reply to by HowdyDoody

Blankone HowdyDoody Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:36 Permalink

Here is a quote for an article on RT's front page.

"The majority of Russian forces operating in Syria, including Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and the Beriev A-50 AWACS plane, are arriving back home"

Putin is cutting and running. As I have long said, when Putin did not have the balls to declare a no-fly zone over Syria he doomed the effort, unless all he ever wanted was to secure a base for Russia on Syria's west coast.

In reply to by HowdyDoody

Lost in translation Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:33 Permalink

Who knows what’s really going on...

This much is certain:

Any agreements made with the US, Israel, KSA, or their assorted proxies are worth less than zero.

So, withdrawing in the hope/belief the anti-Assad faction will choose to do the right thing is stupid.

Is Putin stupid? I tend to doubt it...

lakecity55 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 03:20 Permalink

It is also in Russia's interest to keep the crazies from getting into Russia.Russia has said all along that Assad would have to compromise down the road with the opposition, but you do it through negotiations, not at the end of a gun held by the al-CIA-duh.

MuffDiver69 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 03:21 Permalink

Nice thoughts, but there is a reason this entire rgion is FUBAR well beyond the stupid crap we did the past 16 years!,,,,There must be thousands of dead despots from region over the millennia chuckling... and soon enough it goes back to hell in a hand basket..Nice to dream though..