Expanded Syria Presence Would Carry Big Risks for Russia

(Wall Street Journal) Michael Singh and Jeffrey White - U.S. military officials said Tuesday that Russia has moved new personnel, planes and equipment into Syria in recent days. The involvement of Russian forces on the side of the regime would complicate any American military action against Assad, including a no-fly zone. Like the impending sale of the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran, it has the effect of limiting U.S. options and influence at a time when Moscow may calculate that Washington is unlikely to respond sharply. However, expanded Russian military involvement in Syria seems likely to be a lose-lose proposition for the U.S. and Russia. For Washington, it would seriously complicate any contemplated military pressure on the Syrian regime, and lend Assad renewed confidence that would make more remote any diplomatic settlement. Russia, meanwhile, will be further yoked to a vulnerable and needy ally. An increased Russian presence may itself become a target for Syrian opposition and jihadist elements, with resulting Russian casualties. Michael Singh, managing director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, worked on Middle East issues at the National Security Council (2005-2008). Jeffrey White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute, is a former senior defense intelligence officer.

2015-09-10 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive