"Vasily Kashin, a Moscow-based analyst, said the war is not financially stressing Russia.
"'All the available data shows us that the current level of military effort is completely insignificant for the Russian economy and Russian budget,' said Kashin, of the Center for Analyses of Strategies and Technologies. 'It can be carried on at the same level year after year after year,' he said."
(U.S. sees bearable costs, key goals met for Russia in Syria so far, Reuters)
Americans are so conditioned to believe that every military intervention ends in a quagmire that they are surprised when the outcome is different. That's understandable given the fact that the so called "best military on earth" has been unable to defeat a ragtag collection of goat-herding fundamentalists for more than 15 years. (Afghanistan) No wonder Americans expect failure. The fact is, however, that Putin has no intention of getting "bogged down" in Syria for a decade or two... What he plans to do is to defeat the enemy and move on. Recent reports from the frontlines suggest that that is precisely what he is doing. This is from a post at Sic Semper Tyrannis:
"The Fall of Salma"
"Things had started to move early last week, when the SAA (Syrian Arab Army), NDF (National Defense Force) and local militias moved into Salma, the rebel stronghold that was key to defensive positions South of the M4 highway linking Latakia to Idlib. After weeks of preparations and softening up defences, R+6 finally moved in and there was not much the various rebel groups could have done at that point to stop or reverse this trend...
"Once the strategic breaking point is reached though, the side having gained the upper hand usually pushes through, which results in the opponent's posture crumbling under the pressure. This is what happened with Salma, a former mountain resort North-East of Latakia... When R+6 went for their final assault, Salma had already become untenable. Its loss meant that the whole defensive line South of the M4 highway was compromised and both SAA advances and 'tactical' retreat by the rebels made for a very quick correction of the frontline in the area...
"The inroads made by the SAA... again proved decisive against a rebel frontline that had already been destabilized by the loss of Salma and the prospect of being cut off from their LOCs with Jisr al-Shughur." (Rebel Defences Crumbling In Latakia Province, Sic Semper Tyrannis)
Get the picture? The jihadi misfits are getting the holy hell beat out of them by a superior army that is recapturing critical cities and strategic territory along the Turkish border and across the southern and eastern parts of the country. As a result, Assad will not be removed from office nor will the country become a "Salafi-jihadi principality" governed by Islamic freaks who rule through terror.
That's not to say that there aren't plenty of potential pitfalls ahead. There are, in fact there's a situation developing right now that could explode into a regional conflict involving Turkey, NATO, the US and Russia. You see, Russia plans to use its Kurdish allies in the YPG to seize a stretch of land along the Syrian side of the Turkish border to reestablish Syria's territorial sovereignty and to stop the flow of terrorists from Turkey into Syria. Turkish President Erdogan has promised that if the YPG pursues that course, Turkey will invade, in which case, Putin will come to the defense of the Kurds. There's no telling how this powderkeg situation will play out, but there's no doubt that the next few weeks are going to be extremely tense as the main players rattle sabers and jockey for position while edging closer to a full-blown conflagration. Will cooler heads prevail?
I can't answer that, but I can tell you that Washington has already backed off its "Assad must go" campaign and moved on to Plan B, which is seizing territory and establishing bases in Northeastern Syria that the US plans to occupy for as long as they can. Check it out from South Front website:
"As SouthFront: Analysis and Intelligence predicted month ago the NATO allies are urgently trying to implement a new plan to hold control at least of the northern oil corridor from Iraq and try to take advantage of this opportunity to involve Russia in a long expensive war. This plan includes an occupation of the crucial infrastructure including oilfields by the NATO contingent and establishing of anti-government, meaning anti-Russian and anti-Iranian, forces in parts of divided Syria.
"Implementing of this plan could easily lead to a global war launched by military escalation over the Syrian crisis. The stakes of the global geopolitical standoff have been raised again." (Escalation in Syria, South Front)
So even though Washington has scrapped its plan to topple Assad (temporarily), it has deepened its commitment to creating Sunnistan, a new state comprised of eastern Syria and western Iraq controlled by US-clients who will allow western oil giants to connect the pipeline grid from Qatar to Turkey in order to replace Russia as the EU's primary supplier of natural gas.
It's all part of the imperial strategy to "pivot" to Asia by controlling vital resources and making sure they remain denominated in US dollars. It's an ambitious plan for global rule that is now being openly challenged by Russia, the emerging power that threatens to derail the lethal US juggernaut and put an end to the malign unipolar world order.
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