Vladimir Putin kobler den militære assistansen til Assad-regimet til Europas migrantproblemer, og sier russerne er de eneste som tar ondets rot.

«Humanitær assistanse» er Putins term for hjelpen som består av avanserte stridsvogner, howitzere,

Men argumentet er ikke helt på jordet og det må forventes at det vil gå hjem hos noen. Der andre snakker, handler Russland. Det har hele tiden vært Putins oppskrift.

EU snakker, Obama snakker. Alle sier de at flyktningproblemet må finne sin løsning i Syria, men de gjør ingenting.

President Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday forcefully defended Russia’s military assistance to Syria, describing it as aid for a government fighting “terrorist aggression” and saying the migrant crisis in Europe would be far worse without it…..(…)

“If Russia had not supported Syria, the situation in this country would have been worse than in Libya,” Mr. Putin said, and the flood of refugees would have been even higher.” .

Putin er eksplisitt på at Assad og russerne sammen vil bekjempe Islamsk Stat. Han oppfordrer den moderate opposisjonen i Syria til å slutte seg til dette fremstøtet.

“It’s obvious that without the Syrian authorities and the military playing an active role, without the Syrian Army fighting Islamic State ‘on the ground,’ it’s impossible to drive terrorists from this country and from the region as a whole,” Mr. Putin said.

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“We are supporting the government of Syria in the fight against a terrorist aggression, are offering and will continue to offer it necessary military and technical assistance,” he added.

Mr. Putin urged other nations and moderate elements in the Syrian opposition to follow Russia’s example by aligning with the Assad government to defeat the Islamic State, saying Mr. Assad was ready for political compromise with “the healthy part of the opposition.”

Putin oppnår to ting: Han tar initiativet, og han gjør det på en måte som gir ham poeng også i forhold til hva politikere som Angela Merkel har sagt: At det må finnes en løsning for Syria hvor Assad inngår.

Putin sier: Vær så god, her er løsningen. Han fanger Merkel med hennes egne ord og bordet risikerer å fange.

Putin setter inn støtet på et tidspunkt hvor Europa for alvor begynner å bli redd for flyktningstrømmen ut av Midtøsten. Det vil ikke være første gang at regjeringer sier en ting og gjør noe annet.

Michael R Gordon og Eric Schmitt beskrev mandag at Putin sender noen av sine mest avanserte våpen til Assad.

Russia has sent some of its most modern battle tanks to a new air base in Syria in what American officials said Monday was part of an escalating buildup that could give Moscow its most significant military foothold in the Middle East in decades.

Pentagon officials said that the Russian weapons and equipment that had arrived suggested that the Kremlin’s plan is to turn the airfield south of Latakia in western Syria into a major hub that could be used to bring in military supplies for the government of President Bashar al-Assad. It might also serve as a staging area for airstrikes in support of Syrian government forces.

For første gang går Pentagon ut og sier at flybasen sør for Latakia kan brukes operativt i en militær kapasitet:

“We have seen movement of people and things that would suggest the air base south of Latakia could be used as a forward air operating base,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday.

American military specialists analyzing satellite photographs and other information said Russia had about half a dozen T-90 tanks, 15 howitzers, 35 armored personnel carriers, 200 marines and housing for as many as 1,500 personnel at the airfield near the Assad family’s ancestral home. And more is on the way as Russia appears to be trying to increase its influence in Syria amid the civil strife there, the officials said.

Utenriksminister John Kerry har uttrykt sin bekymring og tatt det opp med sin russiske motpart Sergej Lavrov. Men hva kan USA gjøre? Lite.

En interessant detalj er flyruten russerne har fulgt. De fløy over Bulgaria, men USA ba dem stanse og bulgarerne bøyde seg. Men irakerne har ikke latt seg rokke. Russerne flyr over Iran og Irak.

Indeed, efforts by the United States to stop the flow of supplies have fallen short. At least 15 giant Russian Condor transport planes have in the past week used an air corridor over Iraq and Iran to ferry military equipment and personnel to the base, said American military officials who agreed to speak about confidential intelligence assessments on the condition of anonymity.

Bulgaria closed its airspace to the Russian flights last week at the request of the United States. But Iraq did not, even though American diplomats raised concerns about the Russian flights with the Iraqi government on Sept. 5.

Although the Obama administration’s warnings to the Russians have been made public, American officials have refused to openly discuss their appeals to the Iraqis. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq assumed his post with the support of the United States but is still trying to establish his authority at home, and American officials are wary of undercutting him.

Igjen ser det ut som om Putin har utmanøvrert Obama. Putin driver power politics, mens Obama følger et grand design som bygger på hans egne forestillinger om hva som kunne vært: Et Iran som ble mer persisk enn iransk, et regime som tenkte mer på innbyggerne enn imperiale ambisjoner osv.

Hvis Putin skulle klare å avgjøre krigen til Assads fordel vil Russland kunne høste store fordeler. Et slikt utfall vil kunne prege Obamas ettermæle.

“This is the most important Russian power projection in the region in decades,” said Stephen J. Blank, an expert on the Russian military at the American Foreign Policy Council. He compared it to Russian deployments to Egypt in the 1970s, adding, “It will enhance Russia’s influence throughout the Levant.”

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