Saturday, March 22, 2014

russia a patron of true believers

rsn |  ussian President Vladimir Putin is on a geopolitical roll these days, despite US and EU sanctions against some of his closest associates. On Monday he recognized Crimea in the wake of its referendum on secession from the Ukraine, despite Western warnings not to do so, and despite severe questions about the accuracy of the statistics put out by Crimea’s rump authorities concerning the alleged turnout and supposed overwhelming vote in favor of seceding.

Less noticed was the advance on Sunday of Hizbullah fighters and Syrian troops into Yabroud, the last territory that had been held by rebel forces on the Lebanon border. The rebels in that part of Syria have now been cut off from supply lines in Lebanon, a major victory for the regime. From Yabroud, fighters had been able to infiltrate Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, but that tactic has now been forestalled. Increasingly also in control of Homs, the Syrian army appears to be gradually extending its control north toward Hama and then Aleppo. There is no early prospect of victory by the regime, which is stretched thin, but it has inflicted a series of heavy blows on rebel forces in the past 8 months. Some of the comeback of the Bashar al-Assad regime, which seemed doomed only a year ago, derives from money and weapons supplied by Putin.

In the current Sunni-Shiite struggles in the east of the Arab world, Putin has in essence made Russia a patron of the Shiites just as it is a patron of the Eastern Orthodox Christians.


Vic78 said...

I believe the US has the upper hand for at least the next ten maybe twenty years.

CNu said...

It's all a question of scale brah. I don't get overly excited by an economy around the size of Norway or Holland showing out, no matter how many nuclear weapons they have. At the end of the day, and notwithstanding the perfidy of the 20th century in which Churchill and Roosevelt ROYALLY screwed over Stalin - Russia is more fundamentally a western culture and will NOT take existential sides with the Han. France and Germany have a rough patch just beyond that signpost up ahead, but France is already hand in glove with the U.S. in its Africom operations, and Germany and the U.S. swapped DNA a looooong time ago.

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