Now that Syria is back in the news with the refugee crisis, Russia appears poised to raise another round of alarm bells about the prospect of wider war.
The pending deal with Iran could be broken at any time by all sides, including a preemptive nuclear strike by its enemies. The tensions over Syria – triangulated between Assad’s forces, ISIS terrorists and Western-backed “rebels” – are equally likely to boil over, as the attempts to oust Assad have been stymied.
The attempts to condemn Assad in international public opinion have largely failed, as the accusations of a chemical weapons attack did not stick or even carry credible evidence. Likewise, Russia has stuck up for the Syrian regime, and vowed to oppose a Western agenda to overrun it without proper justification.
However, the announcement of tank shipments from Russia takes it to a whole new level. Via Fox News:
Russia’s military build-up in Syria has grown to include the shipment of a half-dozen highly sophisticated battle tanks — and more troops — a defense official told Fox News, in what the source called the “first clear sign of offensive weapons arriving in Syria.”
The Pentagon has now tracked a total of 15 Russian Antonov-124 Condor flights into Syria, reflecting a steady stream of military cargo into Syria. According to the latest intelligence, this also includes the arrival of two more Russian cargo ships, containing the tanks.
The cargo is for Russian soldiers, not Syrian government forces, but is seen as a build-up to aid Bashar Assad’s embattled regime.
The defense official, briefed on the latest satellite photos of the Syrian coastline, said: “This is the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union since the collapse of the USSR.”
[…]Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters on Monday that the activities “suggest the establishment of a forward air operating base.”
The arrival of Russian tanks arguably goes beyond the purely ‘defensive’ equipment that Putin has delivered in the past, giving clear reasons to believe that hostilities have deepened to the point of a wider war and an all out conflict.
For those on all sides of the conflict looking for an excuse to bring in outside troops – from the U.S., NATO, Russia or other armies located in the region, it would seem that the pretext has arrived.
With these new factors trigger a larger and renewed conflict? And would toppling Assad now be only the beginning of wars to come?
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to pass… and that World War III remains only the dismal fantasy of observers and critics.