What is Russia up to in the Middle East?


Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB spy who is accused of huge crimes is called everything, except a person to reason with. He is described a narcissist, a philanderer and wife beater, a corrupt, and desperate person. Putin’s greatest legacy is corruption and the absence of accountability. The height of authoritarian regime in Russia has defended him and his top officials against prosecution for embezzlement of $40 – 50 billion and has turned Russia into a suicide bomb state.

Putin’s Russia by ignoring international norms in illegally annexing Crimea showed to the world that Russia is no different from a desperate wolf attacking on its neighbors at desperate times. Moscow’s military adventure in Syria and targeting areas controlled by groups other than the ISIS have ignited another casualty with bigger and long term consequences for the entire Middle East. Senior British Labor MP Bob Ainsworth compares Putin to Stalin, one of the most evil men in history and warns that Russia is a bigger threat to the world peace than ISIS.

Why desperate?

Moscow’s economy is at its worst time ever before since 2009. Oil and gas revenue in 2014, which made up more than half of the Russian federal budget has slipped to just over 40 percent and its GDP, is expected to shrink to 3.43.8 percent this year. Demand for oil and natural gas is weak. Oil price downing 50 percent losing more than half its value, has squeezed Russia and Putin by surprise. The economic restrictions by Western sanctions on main big Russian firms have crammed Russia’s projects. Russia’s volume of trade is declining globally. In spite of good trade relationship between Turkey and Russia prior to the airspace violation by Moscow, the amount of trade had declined 21.5 percent compared to 2014. Western sanctions forced Russia to pump even 10.74 million barrels of oil a day during September, a record level; but for Moscow barely enough to survive. The Russian – Syrian economic trade declined from $ 2 billion to $ 500 million in 2013, cartooning another nightmare for Putin. Suspension of the second Siberian gas project by Chinese energy firms, Moscow’s unnecessary $40 billion spending on Gazprom projects and the U.S. natural gas boom in European Market have dropped the Gazprom profit to 90%, a bad flavor that Russia has never tasted before.

A suicide bomb state

When an ant grows wings, it always gets eaten by a bird. Russia’s support for Assad in smashing opposition to his regime, violation of NATO airspace, and launching spoiled bombs at everybody, but terrorists, are nothing more, but a desperate act by an out of option Putin. Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was also a foolish and risky act by a desperate man. Ukrainian nationalism is on the rise throughout the country, provoked by Moscow’s disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty and Putin is using Syria as a distraction to get the Europe and the U.S. to back off on countering Moscow’s damage in Ukraine. Russia is trying to find a way out from isolation as a result of the illegal annexation of Crimea. Moscow also uses the deception of fighting ISIS in Syria, to fuel bloody Syrian civil war, and drown Europe by unstoppable influx of migrants.

Russia’s missiles demo in Syria, violation of NATO airspace, and locking turkey’s patrolling jets only describe Russia a suicide bomb state. Since Russia has lost all its footholds in Egypt, Libya and Iraq; Putin is desperately throwing all the eggs Russia has onto a single basket. Unlike the propaganda boosted everyday by the Russian media around the world, Moscow’s military capabilities are still worthless. Recently, four of Russia’s missiles fired to hit Syrian rebels fell short and landed in Iran. The reports so far has only confirmed four out of 26 long range cruise missiles fired from a Russian warship targeting Syria, which have crashed in Iran.

It is the NATO’s call now

Russia is powerless when it confronts NATO. Putin’s armies cannot prevail in any contest with the NATO alliance. After the violation of Turkey’s airspace, NATO sent a clear and loud message to Moscow “We will send troops to Turkey to defend our ally against any threats”. Ankara has also summoned Moscow’s ambassador three times to protest, what Russia is doing in Syria. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly warned Russia of making grave mistake and waging state terror in Syria. The Russian intervention has increased tensions with the United States, which backs the rebels fighting to oust authoritarian regime of Assad. The U.S. state department claims that more than 90 percent of Russia airstrikes in Syria are not directed at ISIS and terrorists. French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has also urged Russia to direct airstrikes at ISIS, not rebels fighting to oust Assad. According to British defence ministry, just five percent of the Russian airstrikes hit ISIS targets. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, has given Russia a warning to take the necessary steps to align its efforts with the international community in the fight against ISIS.

It is now or never for NATO to increase economic sanctions, reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy and to revisit the strategic defense review of 2010 in response to Russia’s dangerous incursions and interventions into sovereign states.

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