September 3, 2015
The Unz Review

Russia and Syria: The Die Is Cast

by Israel Shamir

Despite doubts and denials, Russia is about to embark on an ambitious expansion of its Syrian presence, likely to change the game in the war-torn country. Russia's small and dated naval repair facility in Tartous will be enlarged, while Jableh near Latakia (Laodicea of old) will become the Russian Air Force base and a full-blown Russian Navy base in the Eastern Mediterranean, beyond the narrow Bosphorus straits. The jihadi multitudes besetting Damascus are likely to be beaten into obedience and compliance, and the government of President Assad relieved from danger and siege. The war with Da'esh (ISIS) is to provide the cover for this operation. This is the first report of this fateful development, based on confidential and usually reliable Russian sources in Moscow.

The knowledgeable and Damascus-based French investigative journalist and dissident Thierry Meyssan noted the arrival of many Russian advisers. Russians began to share satellite imagery in real time with their Syrian allies, he added. An Israeli news site said "Russia has begun its military intervention in Syria" and predicted that "in the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria". Russians promptly denied that.

President Bashar al Assad hinted at that a few days ago expressing his full confidence of Russian support for Damascus. First six MiG-31 fighter jets landed in Damascus a couple of weeks ago, as reported in the official RG newspaper. Michael Weiss in the far-right Daily Beast presented a flesh-creeping picture of a Russian penetration of Syria. Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper referred to Jableh as the second-base location.

Now we can confirm that to the best of our knowledge, despite denials (remember Crimea?) Russia has cast its lot and made a very important decision to enter the Syrian war. This decision may yet save Syria from total collapse and incidentally save Europe, too, from being swept by refugee waves. The Russian air force will ostensibly fight Da'esh, but probably (as Michael Weiss guessed) they will also bomb not just Da'esh but the US-allied opposition of al-Nusra (formerly al-Qaeda) and other non-Da'esh Islamic extremists for the simple reason that they can't be distinguished from Da'esh. . . .

For the Europeans, this is the chance to wean themselves from blind support of the US policies, to return millions of refugees home from European railway stations and hostels.

If it will work, this Putin's initiative in Syria will count with his greatest achievements. He is playing his hand keeping cards very close to his chest, and this report is the first emanating from his vicinity.


Paul Craig Roberts, "Obama's Syria Moment: Another Western War Crime In The Making," Counterpunch, August 27, 2013

"NATO vs ISIS? Insulting Our Intelligence," The Wisdom Fund, September 24, 2014

Tyler Durden, "Flashpoint: White House Confirms Russian Presence In Syria, Warns It Is 'Destabilizing',", September 3, 2015

[Elvira Nabiulina, Washington's choice to head the Russian central bank . . . is essentially a servant of Washington--Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson, "Can Russia Learn From Brazil's Fate?,", September 30, 2016]

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