Monday, February 08, 2016

The needle and the damage done

President Obama just before Christmas, assessing the Russian military intervention in Syria --

And I do think that you’ve seen from the Russians a recognition that, after a couple of months, they’re not really moving the needle that much, despite a sizeable deployment inside of Syria. And of course, that’s what I suggested would happen -- because there’s only so much bombing you can do when an entire country is outraged and believes that its ruler doesn’t represent them.

The large-scale assault on Aleppo is a glaring contradiction of that assessment, which was flawed from its assumption that the al-Assads would be looking for legitimacy from the entire country. They only need an Alawite coastal belt with an quiescent Sunni hinterland, and the Russians can derive enough strategic value from that to make it worth their while.

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