Staunton, April 12 – In any armed conflict, the actions of the sides reflect the goals of each or even more important the goals of one as perceived by the other. In Syria today, Vladimir Mukhin says, the United States wants to oust Bashar Asad and the Russian Federation will do anything to keep the Syrian leader in office.
And because Moscow defines the situation in that way, the Nezavisimaya gazeta commentator says, the Russian government “together with Damascus and Teheran is demonstrating its readiness not only to respond to any strikes against Syria but to save its leader and his entourage from physical destruction” (ng.ru/world/2018-04-12/1_7211_asad.html).
To that end, Mukhin says, Moscow has dispatched a unique “living shield” consisting of parliamentarians and oncologists to surround Asad and his closest allies in order to convince the US that any attack on Asad or them directly is likely to result in Russian casualties and a massive Russian response.
In addition to its political and diplomatic moves, the commentator continues, “the leadership of the Russian Federation is organizing military measures in order to minimize losses from possible US strikes in Syria,” creating safe havens in and around Russian troop concentrations for Syrians by installing anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.
Moreover, he says, “certain Iranian sources report that the Russian defense ministry has apparently turned to Teheran with a request to place on the territory of this country long-range strategic aviation” including both strategic bombers of various kinds, with cruise missiles, and tankers to refuel them and others.
All this activity shows that “Moscow has devoted significant material, political and military efforts to oppose Trump’s plans;” and Mukhin suggests that Washington is now digesting all this and that may be a major reason why no American attack has been launched up to now.
“Judging by everything,” Mukhin says, “the US is still conducting only a hybrid war, the main goal of which is to show the greatness of that country and to wear down Russia in a military and economic way. But possible strikes against Syria which fears a major war disturb not only Moscow but the entire world.”
And he concludes: “Despite significant financial costs, Russia will not surrender its positions in Syria,” positions that include in the first instance blocking regime change but not necessarily in any other way defending Russian national interests or helping the Russian people to improve their lives.