Russian air strikes have destroyed the main weapons depots of a U.S.-trained rebel group in Syria, their commander said on Wednesday, in an expansion of Russian attacks on insurgents backed by foreign enemies of President Bashar al-Assad.
The strikes were conducted in:
areas of western and northern Syria ... where the Islamic State group - the stated target of the Russian air raids - has no significant presence.
And where Liwa Suqour, whose depots were the targets of Russian strikes:
... is one of a number of Syrian rebel groups deemed moderate by the United States which have received training as part of an ostensibly covert CIA program. That program is separate to one set up by the Pentagon to train and equip Syrian insurgents to fight Islamic State.
The group has been supplied with guided anti-tank missiles by states that oppose Assad. These missiles have had a significant impact on the battlefield.
Which, no doubt, accounts for why the Russians took them out.
President Barack Obama talked about Hillary Clinton's recent disagreements with his Syria policy by saying "there's a difference between running for president and being president."
"Hillary Clinton is not half-baked in terms of her approach to these problems--she was obviously my secretary of state," said Obama. "But I also think that there's a difference between running for president and being president."
By any objective measure, Russia has made a strategic decision to challenge America for dominance in the Middle East. Despite depressed global oil prices and economic sanctions intended to curb his Ukraine adventurism, Vladimir Putin is pursuing an undisguised effort to expand Moscow’s military power, political heft, and economic influence in a region long under Washington’s sway. Barack Obama has made no effective response, and none seems in prospect. The recent Obama-Putin meeting at the United Nations did not change that underlying reality.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest compared Vladimir Putin's bombing in Syria to George W. Bush's "military solution in Iraq in the last decade." Earnest made the comparison at the daily White House press briefing.
Unlike American presidential doctrines, Russian doctrines tend to go unnoticed by the western media or are often dismissed as propaganda. This is curious, as the Russians, and before this the Soviets, are not known for hyperbole in geopolitics as they are in the ideological arena. For example, the Brezhnev Doctrine, which condemned Eastern Europe to Soviet domination was brutally enforced by the Soviet military and KGB.
The latest official report of a drone in the possession of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is tucked in an August 3rd press release from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the overseers of the air campaign in Syria and Iraq against the terrorist organization.
Even now with the Russians on the verge of combat operations in Syria, the White House still says it believes that they’re there to fight ISIS. John Kerry says that his Russian counterpart told him that the Russians are “only interested in fighting” the Islamic State. Other administration officials hold out hope for a grand U.S.-Russia coalition against ISIS. But that’s nonsense: Vladimir Putin landed troops in order to protect his investment in Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise.
While their fireworks have earned Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump the most attention after Wednesday night’s Republican debate in California, the winner for the most detailed and substantive performance may go to Marco Rubio.
Senator Marco Rubio explained foreign policy in Russia and Syria concisely during Wednesday's Republican Debate. Putin is "trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East and this president is allowing it." Watch the full clip here: