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Putin orders Russian troops to begin withdrawal from Syria

Putin orders Russian troops to begin withdrawal from Syria

Proclaiming victory for show, but civil war goes on.

This is actually a big deal, if for real.

The Russian air force and associated troops manning the airfield and anti-aircraft systems have been responsible for many of the recent gains by Syrian, Hezbollah, and Iranian-backed foreign militias fighting to keep Assad in power.

Russia Today, generally perceived as pro-Putin, reports:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to start the withdrawal of forces from Syria starting Tuesday.
“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished. That is why I order to start withdrawal of the main part of our military group from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic starting from tomorrow,” Putin said on Monday during a meeting with Shoigu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

To control the observation of ceasefire agreements in the region, Moscow will keep its Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province, Putin said.

The Guardian quotes Western diplomats as questioning how far this will go:

The news, relayed to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, personally, followed a meeting in the Kremlin with Putin’s defence and foreign ministers. He said the pullout, reducing an intervention that began at the end of September, is due to start from Tuesday.

Western diplomatic sources said “we will have to wait and see what this represents. It is Putin. He has announced similar concessions in the past and nothing materialised”….

The Russian president said the country’s airbase in Hemeimeem in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia and a naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus will continue to operate.

Syrian opposition sources said they had no prior information of Putin’s plan and said they will wait to see if it emerges to be true or a political manoeuvre. Diplomatic sources suggested Putin would be speaking to US president Barack Obama to explain his move, which will give Washington an opportunity to assess how serious the Russian withdrawal is likely to be.

While Russian air power, which has killed hundreds if not thousands of civilians, has helped Assad, it has not been able to break the back of numerous rebel groups, including those associated with ISIS.

Rebels just recently shot down a Syrian MIG 21 figher with a handheld anti-aircraft missile, perhaps signalling a new and more dangerous phase for Russian fighter jets.

Putin didn’t achieve the quick and overwhelming victory he sought, so he’s declaring victory and leaving rather than get further bogged down.


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Putin expected a Short Victorious War. He should have known better. Between the casualties and the sheer cost, I’ll bet he wished he had a time machine able to send a letter back to himself before he got into this mess. The letter would read, “Don’t!”

“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished.”

… but ISIL survives

American Human | March 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Me-Thinks Gospodin Putin is running out of $$$$$. When I spent a lot of time in Russia, the exchange rate was 30 Rubles to the dollar, now it is on the order of 70 Rubles to the dollar. Gas prices are low, no one is working for very much in Russia so income tax collections are low, Foreign investment is down because there is no economic stability.
He’s just plain running out of money. Sort of how Mrs. Thatcher predicted.

Syria would be a more peaceful place if they had more diversity.

    n.n in reply to wukong. | March 14, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Over 22 million people is diverse. Perhaps you’re thinking of [class] diversity (e.g. racism) advocated by anti-native factions including the pro-choice cult.

    We could ship them a few thousand of our Diversity advocates. We’d never miss them. Heck, just take the whole ‘studies’ departments up out of all of our public universities and ship ’em over. I think the US would survive. And as a bonus prize, they would learn about real socialism.

Millions less than the regional and global humanitarian disaster caused by Obama, Clinton, and the social justice (e.g. “Arab Spring”) charade, or perhaps parade.

With NATO and American-backed terrorist forces in opposition, the Russian coalition must be concerned about sparking World War III. I think they would prefer to leave that honor to the Nobel Luareate.

I think the most recent air war that achieved a measure of victory was waged against the Serbs in order to establish an Islamic state in Europe. Clinton directed a war that destroyed the infrastructure and disrupted civil services, forcing the native population into submission. We have since progressed to backing coups for real and imagined social justice causes and special and peculiar interests in particular.

Maybe we could reciprocate by stop arming ISIS?

Obama orders American troops to begin withdrawal from Iraq.

Hopefully, there is a transition plan in Syria.

This looks like Russia learned the lesson of Afghanistan, if you are not willing to wage unconditional war with all the collateral damage then go in and beat up on the enemy enough to get their attention, declare victory and leave. By the time you(Russia) may have to come back the world will have forgotten the details of the previous excursion. If Russia is lucky Assad may actually win the civil war in the intervening time.

    forksdad in reply to OldNuc. | March 15, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Now that they’ve kicked ISIS and the other Islamist rebels back on their heels maybe they can withdraw and keep Obama and Erdogan from starting WWIII.

    Putin has shown himself to have remarkable restraint in all our provocations. Thank God we have a sane man there. How would we have responded to China overthrowing the elected governement of Canada, installing a nazi government then giving their vice president’s son a chunk of the Canadian oil industry? Probably not as well as Putin did with the Ukraine.

      OldNuc in reply to forksdad. | March 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      It speaks volumes regarding the U.S. foreign policy over the last 7 1/2 years that V. Putin looks like the only adult in the room.

Putin accomplished more in a matter of months than obama has in years. There never was a legitimate reason for the US to be involved in regime change especially since no one had a good alternative. If obama had his way it would be another failed state like Libya.