Fighting ISIS: It is better to meet the enemy on its territory
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the support will be carried out by Russian Air Force without ground forces participation, adding that it will be limited for the duration of the Syrian army offensive movement.
Senior Researcher of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations PhD Victor Nadein-Rajewski said that the dangerous situation in the fight against "Islamic state" in Syria was in need of Russia's participation. "It's still too early to say anything about Russian Air Force effectiveness in Syria, however, it seems a lot better to meet the enemy outside your country, than to fight them on your soil when they will come for you. First of all, we are talking about a Russian air base in Syria, which would require equipment, maintenance and security," - said the expert.
Nadein-Rajewski said that Russia's support in coordinating Assad's ground forces efforts is designed to address deficiencies in US coalition "effort" especially that of bombing ISIS positions for more than a year without much success.
In addition, government forces suffer difficulties in holding ISIS offensive on their own. "The Syrian army is the only organized forces that actually fights terrorists. Kurd troops are few and poorly armed. Despite that the Syrian military fights hard, they are in a difficult situation. The front is stretched, ISIS groups are dispersed and well equipped. Assad's troops lack technical equipment, ammunition, and sometimes human resources," - the expert explained. - Accordingly, the Syrian army needs primarily military-technical support: modern types of weapons and aviation to strike main enemy bases."
Nadein-Rajewski drew special attention to the fact that ISIS terrorist crisis affects not only the Middle East region. "The militants of "Taliban" movement captured the city of Kunduz in Afghanistan. This is not such a small thing as it might seem at first glance, - said the scientist. - This town is in immediate vicinity of Taliban enemies' main bases, and only 50 km away from the Russian 201 second base in Tajikistan. A large number of fighters are concentrated on Afghanistan border. Thus the enemy's plans are no longer a secret. They do not just want Syria. Where they would turn their guns later, we can only guess, and these assumptions do not inspire optimism. That is why the situation is more complicated than it seems."
Russia's intention to maintain Assad government and fight terrorists in cooperation with partners in the information center in Baghdad could lead to a clash with Saudi Arabia and its allies. The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Adel al-Dzhubeyr already rejected Russia's proposal to form an international coalition and said that Assad should leave his post, or else he will be overthrown by military means.
Nadein-Rajewski does not rule out such a scenario, noting that "Riyadh has not lost desire to continue a war, which it in fact began. Tries to overthrow Assad were taken eventually for the past four years. Where did ISIS and Syrian militants come from? Those are men who recieved proper training in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries at Saudi Arabia and Qatar's expense. Today thousands of militants are fighting in ISIS ranks and not thirty thousand, as the Western media say."
According to the expert, the situation in Syria is also complicated because of Russia's need to find allies. "We are entering the fight too late, we had to support Assad since the beginning, regardless of the Western counterparts' position. They have their interests, which, incidentally, led to the emergence and strengthening of ISIS, so it is not always necessary to listen to Western recommendations. Russia's aspirations are aimed at preserving existing Syrian secular system, multi-religious and multicultural, so untypical for the Middle East nowadays. It is good or bad from American point of view - is another question. In any case, the Assad government has shown its resilience" - summed Nadein-Rajewski.