UPDATE 30 SEP: Secretary of State John Kerry responded by announcing that the United States is prepared to welcome Russia actions in Syria if they are directed at the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda, and promising that the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria would “dramatically accelerate our efforts.” The US is welcoming Russian attacks on the Islamic State in Syria while firmly rejecting any Russian actions against other groups seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.
After receiving a formal request from Syria for military help the Russian parliament on Wednesday unanimously granted President Vladimir Putin the right to deploy the country’s military and launch combat operations in Syria.
Russia’s upper house of parliament has authorized the use of military force in Syria, Russian news agencies announced Wednesday, after President Vladimir Putin personally requested it consider the move.
“I want to say the result of the vote was a unanimous approval of the Russian president’s request,” Sergei Ivanov, who heads Putin’s administration, stated.
“Importantly: this is specifically about Syria. I want to underline that this is not about any kind of political objective or ambitions that we have been accused of by our western partners. It is only about international interests of Russian Federation.”
Among those interests, he said, are defending Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels.
“Already a range of states are conducting rocket bomb strikes in Syria and Iraq, including the United States. France recently joined those operations,” Ivanov said.
“But these actions violate international law. To be in accordance with international law, one condition must be observed: either a UNSC resolution, or a request for military assistance from the state on whose territory those strikes are to take place.”
Moscow’s military assistance is in response to a specific request from Assad for aid; Ivanov added that military involvement would be “temporary.”
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday instructed the Pentagon to establish a communication channel between US and Russian forces operating in the Syrian theater in an attempt to “avoid conflict in the air” and accidents as a result of non-coordination or pilot misjudgments, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook announced. Responding to reports from the US on contacts to avoid confrontations between the American and Russian air forces in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that the flights will be coordinated via its war room in Baghdad.
Six advanced Russian SU-34 strike fighter jets have landed at Latakia’s Al-Assad international airport as Moscow continues to build up its military might in Syria. The warplanes flew in through Iraqi airspace in coordination with the United States.
UPDATE 29 SEP: Yesterday after chiding Russia on Ukraine Obama stated in his UN address that he would be “willing to work with” both Russia and Iran to solve the Syria crisis. Putin / Obama then met for 90 minutes discussing Syria.
Today President Barack Obama will chair a UN gathering of world leaders on countering extremism and Syria, On Wednesday, Russia which is Security Council president this month, will chair a UN Security Council session on Syria.
Putin / Obama agree to work to pass UNSC resolution on Syria and against Islamic State. Russia to bomb IS after resolution passes UNSC.
The end of the present regime in Syria as well as the end of all of the Islamic Extremist groups in the region is almost at hand and is being prepared over the coming months.
Presidents Obama and Putin will meet Monday to try to finalize a deal on the future of Syria after the demise of the Islamic State and Islamic extremists in the region. Obama will then address the UN General Assembly on the future of Syria, to be immediately followed by president Putin of Russia and president Hassan Rouhani of Iran.
For the past year the US and Russia have been in semi secret talks on cooperation to destroy the Islamic State and regional Islamic radicals and on the future of Syria after the IS is destroyed.
They have agreed to a Syrian anti Islamic State offensive inside Syria with extensive Russian, Chinese and Iranian support, in coordination with an American, Kurdish, Iraqi, Allied offensive inside Iraq to eradicate the Islamic State. Before this can take place the final details of the Syria end game must be agreed.
British prime minister David Cameron Saturday revealed the new Anglo American position conceding that the elected Syrian president, Al Assad, could stay on as part of a transitional government but should not be part of Syria’s future in the long run.
President Obama discussed the new formula and the coming anti IS offensive with Saudi king Salman and the Chinese president during their recent summits in Washington; and Putin also spoke to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Saturday about a solution to the Syrian crisis. Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said yesterday that he was ready for a “plan of action” for Syria’s future after the Islamic State is defeated.
During the present session of the UN General Assembly great efforts will be made in crafting a formula for a post Islamic State Syria that can be approved by all countries on the Security Council. The formula is not yet public but is likely to be some kind of elections under international supervision to ease Assad out.
An effort is being made to reach a plan of action and gain overwhelming support in the General Assembly so that the Security Council will have solid political backing for approval.
The end of the present regime in Syria as well as the end of all the Islamic Extremist groups in the region will be at hand over the coming months.
Israel will still have to deal with the Hamas military wing, Hezbollah and Iran; more on that below.
In terms of the Islamic State American Russian negotiations have been going on for some time [Note date] alongside the Iran nuclear deal talks, and an agreement has been in place for months according to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah also claims the coming anti Islamic State offensive will be decisive.
Looking at the geography it is easy to see that no Russian or Iranian flights could transit the air corridor over Iraq without American approval; yet large numbers of flights bringing huge amounts of military equipment and munitions into the Latakia area of Syria have been ongoing for many weeks now, and a Russian office staffed by Russian generals has opened in Bagdad to coordinate flights [and the coming offensive] with US and Iraqi forces.
Russia is building up its forces in Latakia province as a base to support the coming Syrian offensive against the Islamic State. The Russian landing ship Saratov with another 300 marines aboard is on its way to Syria, and many more troops are preparing to head to Syria from Black Sea ports. These troops are to provide security for the new Latakia air force ramp up, while more will soon be arriving to be at the ready to assist the Syrian offensive once the end game for Syria has been agreed.
Russia and China will provide extensive air support as well as intelligence and command and control for the advancing Syrian forces which will be accompanied by Hezbollah, extensive Iranian forces and Russian / Chinese Special Forces.
Thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guards are preparing to join Syrian forces for the coming offensive. See our June article: Iran Plans to Surge 50,000 Plus Troops to Syria to Fight Islamic State
On Sep 9 Iran this week sent its first ground troops to Syria, around 1,000 marines and elite troops of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). They moved straight into Ghorin, a small military air facility just south of the port town of Latakia, and joined up with Russian marines at Jablah.
The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning-CV-16 is now at the Syrian port of Tartus, accompanied by a guided missile cruiser joining several Russian warships to further support the coming campaign.
The Chinese will also be sending a squadron of J-15 Flying Shark fighters, to man the carrier, with some to be stationed at the Russian airbase near Latakia. The Chinese will also deploy attack helicopters. In addition, Beijing will consign at least 1,000 marines to join the Russian forces securing the bases in Latakia.
Chinese commandoes will join the fight on the ground concentrating on preventing the escape of the Islamic State Uighur fighters from the northern predominantly Muslim Chinese province of Xinjiang. While Russia is deeply concerned with destroying the Chechen fighters before they can escape back to Chechnya.
At the same time Iraqi, Kurdish and allied forces are readying for a massive anti IS offensive inside Iraq.
The United States has agreed and is already providing its intelligence services to the Russians and Chinese for the offensive inside Syria.
While targets of opportunity may be attacked quickly, it is not likely that the final anti IS offensive will come until the end game for Syria is agreed and the force build up is completed which may possibly still take a few months.
To oversee the US part of the offensive Obama has just sworn in Marine General Joseph [Fighting Joe] Dunford to replace the reluctant Gen Martin Dempsey as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In addition the US anti Islamic State Czar Gen John Allen and his second are being replaced in early November.
As of now, look for an agreement to be reached and approved by the UN on the fate of the Assad regime for after the Islamic radicals are destroyed; to be followed by a decisive offensive against the Islamic State, eradicating that organization and most of its fighters, and quite probably destroying any other radical Islamist groups in the region as well.
Such a UN approved plan along with the destruction of Islamic regional radicals would resolve the Iraq / Syria problem: Remaining is the Israeli Gaza, Hezbollah and Iran problem.
Such an anti IS offensive is likely to bring attacks on Israel from Gaza / Sinai and Netanyahu could seize the opportunity to destroy the Hamas military wing and other Gaza militants opening the way for a peace with the Hamas political wing. Such a war with Gaza may well escalate with Israel fighting a Hezbollah, strengthened and encouraged by the end of the war with the Syrian rebels.
During that conflict America and its allies could destroy the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in defense of Israel.
The destruction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which props up the current regime might possibly come just in time for Iranian parliamentary elections scheduled for 25 February 2016 to elect both the Islamic Consultative Assembly [parliament] and the Assembly of Experts [which choses the Head of State or Supreme Leader]. It will be the first time the two bodies are elected simultaneously. Of course if Iran is under war conditions such elections might be postponed
The overthrow of the Iranian regime would leave the Iranian forces in Syria under a new command and subject to the new Iranian government.