The withdrawal of the United States from Iraq and points elsewhere around the Middle East has created a vacuum that has been filled by forces hostile to the United States. Syria is representative. ISIS has moved into Syria from Iraq. Iran and Hezbollah have both moved into Syria to defend the Assad regime from ISIS.
The Obama administration has taken a sort of Stalinist tack. Obama has concentrated on building socialism in one country (i.e,, the United States) rather than protecting the national interests of the United States abroad in a difficult foreign theater, especially insofar as doing so might complicate Obama’s dreams of an entente with Iran.
Last week brought a new round of Syria related stories. At the Weekly Standard, Lee Smith noted “Obama’s Syria doctrine.” Obama disclaims responsibility even for his own pathetically failed approach:
In the wake of last week’s embarrassing revelation that only four or five U.S.-trained rebels are currently engaged in fighting the Islamic State, the White House was scrambling to deflect blame. It wasn’t Obama’s fault, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. The president never wanted to back the rebels in the first place. His hand was forced by administration figures and Republican lawmakers who wanted to aid the rebels. It’s time, said Earnest for “our critics to fess up in this regard as well. They were wrong.”
Enter Russia. Barbara Starr & Ross Levitt report for CNN: Russian fighter jets enter Syria with transponders off”
Lucas Tomlinson & Jennifer Griffin report for FOX News “Russians, Syrians and Iranians setting up military cooperation cell in Baghdad”. Tomlinson and Griffin note:
Russian, Syrian and Iranian military commanders have set up a coordination cell in Baghdad in recent days to try to begin working with Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting the Islamic State, Fox News has learned.
Western intelligence sources say the coordination cell includes low-level Russian generals. U.S. officials say it is not clear whether the Iraqi government is involved at the moment.
Describing the arrival of Russian military personnel in Baghdad, one senior U.S. official said, “They are popping up everywhere.”
The Wall Street Journal published two important stories last week. Dion Nissenbaum & Carol Lee report: “Russians expand military presence in Syria, satellite photos show.” Jay Solomon & Sam Dagher report: “Russia, Iran seen coordinating seen coordinating of Assad regime in Syria.”
And Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Moscow with two members of the IDF General Staff to meet with Putin about Russia’s moves in Syria. “In Moscow,” the Times of Israel reported, “presence of generals sends a message of military urgency.” President Obama, however, is taking the long view. A couple of weeks ago Obama declared Russia’s Syrian adventure to be “doomed to failure.” Obama’s judgment represents a striking case of projection.