Western media predicted that the Russian military campaign in Syria would end in ‘failure’. That – presumably – has been achieved. Now follows a push of diplomatic efforts to settle the war.
In September 2015 the “west” prepared for an open military aggression on Syria. The purported aim was to fight ISIS and to stop the migrant flow into Europe. The real aim was “regime change”. Russia stepped in by sending its cavalry to Syria:
The U.S., Britain, France and others announced to enter Syrian skies to “fight the terror” of the Islamic State. Russia will use the same claim to justify its presence and its air operations flying from Latakia. Simply by being there it will make sure that others will not be able to use their capabilities for more nefarious means. Additional intelligence from Russian air assets will also be helpful for Syrian ground operations.
The Obama administration was surprised by the Russian (and Iranian) intervention. It had no sensible means to counter it. The administration and the U.S. commentariat tried to hide this impotence by predicting that the Russian campaign would fail.
Obama himself led the pack:
“An attempt by Russia and Iran to prop up Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire and it won’t work,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference at the White House on Friday …
As reminder, and for your amusement, an incomplete list of the then published “Russia fails” nonsense:
- Obama: Russia’s strategy in Syria ‘doomed to fail’ – Al Jazeerah, September 11 2015
- Could Syria be Putin’s Afghanistan? – Al Jazeerah, September 14 2015
- Why Iran’s Plan in Syria Will Fail – Aawsad, September 15 2015
- U.S. to Putin: Welcome to the ISIS ‘Quagmire’ – The Daily Beast, September 29 2015
- Secretary of Defense: Russia ‘Doomed to Fail’ in Syria – September 30, 2015
- Saudi official says Russia will fail to save Syria’s Assad – USA Today, September 30 2015
- Why Putin is doomed to fail in Syria – Vox.com, October 1 2015
- Obama: Russia heading for ‘quagmire’ in Syria – CNN, October 2 2015
- Obama Sees Russia Failing in Syria Effort – NY Times, October 2, 2015
- Like Brezhnev in Afghanistan, Putin will Fail in Syria – Palestinian Chronicla, October 5 2015
- Putin will fail in Syria: The West must take a step back – CityAM, October 5 2015
- DOD: Russia ‘Doomed to Fail’ in Syria – CNS news, October 6 2015
- Don’t Chase Putin Out of Syria – Let Him Fail On His Own – GMF-US, October 9 2015
- Echoes of Afghanistan in Syria – National Interest, October 9 2015
- Russian army in Syria: A failure foretold – Ynet News, October 10 2015
- Russia’s ‘quagmire’ destroys all hope of defeating ISIS – The Hill, October 16 2015
- Russians support airstrikes in Syria, despite haunting memories of quagmire in Afghanistan – Foxnew, October 20 2015
- Russia risks Syrian quagmire -U.S. deputy secretary of state – Reuters, October 31 2015
- The Syrian quagmire – Daily Times (Pakistan), November 3 2015
- Putin is in a quagmire in Syria – and Russians deserve better – Chicago Tribune, November 11 2015
- Is Russia’s Syria Intervention Doomed to Fail? – RUSI, November 20 2015
- Russia’s Failed Adventure in Syria – Gatestone Institute, December 1 2015
- Putin risks a new Afghanistan, Obama warns – Politico, December 1 2015
- Putin’s Quagmire in Syria Proves Obama Prescient – Bloomberg, December 9 2015
- Putin bogging down in Syria – December 10, 2015
- Putin’s Middle East Misadventures – U.S. News, December 11 2015
- Is Syria Already A Quagmire For Putin? – Outside the Beltway, December 12 2015
- The Danger of Putin Losing in Syria – The Atlantic, January 11 2016
- Russia will ‘fail to save’ Syria’s Assad: Saudi Foreign Minister – Daily Mail, February 14 2016
- Putin is making a mistake in Syria – and Russia will pay the price – WaPo, September 26 2016
- The Latest: Tillerson says Russia has ‘failed’ in Syria – Fox, April 6 2017
- Russia is at a dead-end in Syria – Al Jazeerah, June 25 2015
- Putin is drowning in Syria – Israel National News, June 28 2017
In October 2015, in the mid of the above propaganda onslaught, the presidents of Russia and Syria met in Moscow. It was a warm meeting despite the NY Times groundless efforts to portrait it as “chilly“. The plans were laid for the military efforts to regain the country. They were successfully implemented. Russia’s “quagmire” in Syria turned out to be A Well Designed Campaign.
The U.S. tried its best to hinder Syrian and Russian progress in the war. But despite Obama’s unrelenting efforts, the Syrian alliance managed to regain control over Aleppo, Palmyra, Deir Ezzor and most of the south-east. The borders to Lebanon and Iraq are open and secured. Russian pressure turned Turkey around. Local ceasefires were arranged in over 2,500 towns and hamlets. The Islamic State is defeated. The Syrian army is again fully equipped and a fearsome force.
Yesterday the Syrian President Bashar al Assad again met President Putin. Assad remarked:
I am very glad to have this opportunity to meet with you two years and several weeks after Russia launched a very successful operation.
Over this period, we have achieved major success both on the battlefield and on the political track. Many regions in Syria have been liberated from the terrorists, and the Syrians who had to flee from these regions can now return there.
After several hours of talk Putin introduced Assad to Russia’s military leaders. He noted:
As you know, we will hold a trilateral meeting here in Sochi. However, I would like to say that conditions for a political process could not have been created without the armed forces, without your efforts and the efforts and heroism of your subordinates. This goal has been achieved thanks to the Russian Armed Forces and our Syrian friends on the battlefield. Thank you for this.
Since 1945 the U.S. military has, arguabley, won no war. (No, Grenada does not count.) Russia demonstrated in Syria how it can be done. This must be food for thought to “western” staffs.
Yesterday’s meeting was the launch event for the main diplomatic campaign to end the war. Today Putin held phone conservation with U.S. President Trump, the Saudi King and the Emir of Qatar. Tomorrow he will meet President Rouhani of Iran and President Erdogan of Turkey. Syria’s will to fight, the reliability of its allies and Russian military competence have turned the war around. The meeting in Sochi sets the foundations for a lasting peace.
There are remaining challenges: Al-Qaeda still controls Idleb governate, Israel protects Jihadi groups along the Golan heights, the U.S. and its Kurdish proxies try to establish themselves in north-east Syria. It will take another year or two, and require more fighting, to overcome these issues. But the conditions to solve the remaining problems are now clearly in place. The diplomatic push by Russia and Syria will find solutions for many or most of the unsettled problems.
The U.S. commentariat was wrong in predicting a failure of the Russian military campaign. It will continue to sow doubt over Russia’s diplomatic efforts. It will try to hinder and denigrate Syria’s progress in regaining full sovereignty over its land and people.
No longer should anyone fall for such bullshitting.