On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country’s increased military presence in Syria is aimed at fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists.
During a security conference of former Soviet states in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Putin said a strong Syrian army is required to fight ISIS. He also said Bashar al-Assad is open to a political settlement in the conflict, a solution previously rejected by the United States.
Considering the proxy war against al-Assad is fought predominately if not exclusively by jihadist groups, Putin’s statements may be taken to mean Russia will assist Syria in its war against the U.S.-supported “rebels.”
Virtually All Fighters in Syria Have Joined al-Nusra and ISIS
While the corporate media insists “moderate” mercenary groups and even al-Qaeda have fought pitched battles against the Islamic State in Syria, distracting from the larger goal of unseating al-Assad, the truth is a number of jihadi groups have either joined or are collaborating with ISIS.
Significantly, the al-Qaeda based group Jabhat al-Nusra pledged allegiance to ISIS in Albu Kamal on the Syria-Iraq border in 2014 and is now working closely with the terror army, most notably in the Qualamoun, the mountainous region along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Part of the agreement between the two groups stipulates that ISIS will not interfere with al-Nusra’s self-declared emirate in Idlib.
In November Harakat Hazam and the Syrian Revolutionary Front handed over bases and weapons to al-Nusra in the Idlib province, a development that dealt a serious blow to the fiction there is a secular, non-jihadi element fighting against al-Assad.
Harakat Hazam, previously described as moderate, was trained by the U.S. military in Qatar under the direction of the CIA, which also provided the group with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles. It is fair to assume the weapons provided by the U.S. are now in the hands of al-Nusra and its partner, ISIS.
In late August retired Gen. David Petraeus put to rest the fiction the U.S. is opposed to working with terrorist groups in the ongoing effort to take down al-Assad.
Petraeus said the United States should work with what he described as more “moderate” members of al-Nusra in the largely fictional effort to combat ISIS.
“How precisely the U.S. would separate moderate fighters from core members and leaders of al Nusra is unclear, and Petraeus has yet to fully detail any recommendations he might have,” The Daily Beast reported.
Prior to Petraeus’ remarks a declassified U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency document from 2012 revealed the United States and its partners in the Gulf states and Turkey supported the Islamic State and planned to establish a Salafist principality in Syria.
In September General Thomas McInerney admitted the United States “helped build ISIS” as a result of the Obama administration backing “some of the wrong people” in Syria and also said “weapons from Benghazi (ended) up in the hands of ISIS.”
The same year the DIA document was crafted it was discovered that the US, Turkey and Jordan were jointly operating a Special Forces command training base for Syrian rebels out of the Jordanian town of Safawi. According to Aaron Klein of WND, many of the rebels were “future ISIS members.”
U.S.-Russian Collision Course in Syria
The increased Russian involvement in Syria, described as “provocative” by the corporate media, will complicate the effort by the United States to unseat al-Assad and, as the DIA document states, establish a Wahhabist caliphate in the country.
The Pentagon admits the Russian military is building a forward air base in Latakia, Syria, a move that “could complicate U.S. and coalition effort to mount daily airstrikes against Islamic State militants,” the Air Force Times reports.
In addition, the Russians have delivered six T-90 tanks and officials believe Moscow is preparing to bring in Russian fighter jets that will conduct airstrikes against ISIS, al-Nusra and their jihadist allies.
The Pentagon is concerned the Russian presence will result in de-confliction, a military term indicating a change in the flight path of bombing sorties.
As the Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz noted, the “realm of uncertainty” and the fog of war make it likely there will be an escalation in hostility and a possible military confrontation as the U.S. and Russia step up their efforts on opposing sides in the war against the government of Bashar al-Assad.