The Illusion of Russian Power

(MEMRI) Yigal Carmon - Russia is now claiming victory over ISIS in Syria in order to flaunt its role as a global power on the world stage, but that victory is a sham. Russia and its allies in Damascus and Tehran did not bear the brunt of the fight against ISIS. It was American planes in the air, and the U.S.-equipped and advised Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground, which defeated ISIS in Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul, Kobani and Raqqa. Meanwhile, Russia, Syria, Iran, and Hizbullah spent much of their time fighting everyone but ISIS. While Russia may visualize itself as a global power, it is nothing of the sort. To cite retired Russian General Staff Col. Mikhail Khodarenok: "We have 200 warplanes while NATO has 3,800; we have 1,600 armored vehicles and APCs while NATO has more than 20,000; and the situation is similar in all other domains." In the naval arena, the U.S. has 19 aircraft carriers, 10 of which are Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarriers, while Russia has one smoke-belching old carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov. Russia lacks the staying power to impose any solution in Syria, and Turkey and Iran are not allies but rivals when it comes to Syria's future. Moreover, it is in Europe - not in the Middle East swamp - that Russia wishes to restore its bygone glory. IDF Col. (ret.) Yigal Carmon, former counter-terrorism advisor to two Israeli prime ministers, is President of MEMRI.

2017-12-01 00:00:00

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