Friday, October 9, 2015

Putin’s Syrian Gambit Slipping Out of Control, Shevtsova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 9 – In Syria, Russian analyst Liliya Shevtsova argues, the world is confronted with a situation in which those behind these events have lost control of them and when each new step by Vladimir Putin “is leading to new consequences” which neither the Kremlin leader nor the West have been able to absorb.

            It seems unlikely, she continues, that few in the Kremlin foresaw that Putin’s “Syrian gambit” would put Russia on a collision course with Sunni Muslims, who form 90 percent of the world of Islam (

            But Putin is not the only one who has failed to consider the consequences of his actions, Shevtsova says.  US President Barack Obama clearly failed to see that “his lack of a clear position on Asad would lead to the Syrian tragedy” and that a tragedy there could have even more serious consequences.

            Now, things are getting worse. “The Kremlin is escalating the situation in order to force the West to accept its rules of the game – or at least to give the impression that it accepts its rules,” an effort at blackmail and intimidation which points to “confrontation with the most destructive consequences.”

            That is because, Shevtsova points out, “no one knows where the red line is” – or whether “perhaps, it has already been crossed?”

            One senses that Putin feels himself caught and is “trying to camouflage this by [further] demonstrations of force and decisiveness.” That in turn can lead to “the worst of all possible scenarios, when each improvisation leads to the need to correct the consequences of the previous improvisation.”

            “Neither the Kremlin nor the West wants a deepening of the confrontation between the two. But blackmail and experiments with force create the threat of clashes,” Shevtsova says. And “this is a situation when an attempt to use military resources for political goals can lead to one in which the military resource leads to something beyond repair.”

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