Monday, 5 October 2015

Putin Bombs Jihadis - And We're Not Happy About It

Russia is engaged in "classic asymmetric warfare" in Syria by using its military clout to "prop up" President Bashar al-Assad while saying it is attacking Islamic State militants, Britain's foreign minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.

Russia last week began striking targets in Syria - a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in the civil war which has been criticized by Western leaders as an attempt to prop up Assad, rather than its purported aim of attacking Islamic State.

Barack Obama agrees, calling Russia's involvement a "recipe for disaster", and telling reporters that Russia “doesn’t distinguish between (IS) and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr Assad go.”

There are several problems with the stance our esteemed leaders have been taking towards Putin's approach. One is that Russia really is attacking Islamic State - Russian airstrikes over the weekend destroyed an Islamic State command post near Raqqa as well as an underground bunker, and they have also hit several other provinces since Wednesday, including Aleppo in the north, Idlib in the northwest and Hama in central Syria, all known jihadist hotbeds, as well as six IS targets on Friday.

What's more, they have been attacking other jihadis, too, including al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front.

The other major problem with the West's approach is its reliance on the chimeric "moderate Sunni opposition" which it thinks we should be supporting, despite there being no evidence of its existence. In fact, we know that Pentagon-trained "rebels" have already betrayed the US and handed weapons over to al-Qaeda immediately after entering Syria. We also know that despite a huge investment in creating programmes to train "moderate" opposition to Assad, they have been able to find hardly any such moderates, and as of July, were only training 60 (yes, SIXTY) Syrian fighters.

The fact is that while Assad is undeniably a bad man, whoever replaces him is likely to be much, much worse. Russia appears to recognise this and is rightfully bombing Western "allies" into the mud, knowing that they aren't the liberal democrats that Philip Hammond and Barack Obama seem to think they are.

You know that we're well and truly screwed when Vladimir Putin ends up becoming the leader of the free world.

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