Wednesday evening, we suggested that Vladimir Putin’s explicit promise to go ahead with airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria with or without the help of the US effectively marks the end of Washington’s years-old effort to destabilize and ultimately remove the Assad regime.
The Kremlin’s pronouncement came just a day after the mainstream media began reporting that Moscow and Tehran are coordinating their efforts on the ground (something which should come as no surprise to anyone) meaning any Sunni extremists and/or CIA-trained “freedom fighters” intent on seizing control of the country will now need to go through Russia and Iran, with the latter now seemingly willing to make the badly kept secret of its military support for Assad no secret at all.
Of course the thing about irreparably bad situations is that although they cannot, by definition, get better, they can always get worse and for the US in Syria, that would mean China showing up. Beijing has made a concerted effort this year to project the growing power and influence of the PLA navy. That effort has so far involved an unprecedented land reclamation effort in the Spratlys, a “rescue” operation in the Yemeni port of Aden, and a surprise appearance off the coast of Alaska.
Given that, and given what we know about Beijing’s support for Moscow and Tehran, the following from pro-Assad Al-Masdar news shouldn’t come as a complete surprise:
The recent arrival of the Russian Marines and Air Force to the Syrian port-city of Tartous has generated a significant amount of interest around the world, as the possibility of Russia’s direct military intervention becomes the focal point of the war on ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham).
Should the Russians begin military operations in Syria, what role with the U.S. led “Anti-ISIS Coalition” play in combatting the terrorist group? Will they coordinate with one another? Will they avoid one another?
Russia seems poised to take a similar approach to the U.S. led Coalition; however, they are not seeking the assistance of the neighboring Arab countries to combat the terrorist group.
Instead, the Russians appear to have a contingency that involves another world power that was absent from the U.S. led Anti-ISIS Coalition: China.
On Tuesday morning, a Chinese naval vessel reportedly traveled through Egypt’s Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea; its destination was not confirmed.
However, according to a senior officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that is stationed inside the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, Chinese military personnel and aerial assets are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks (6 weeks) to the port-city of Tartus – he could not provide anymore detail.
This comes two years after China warned that turmoil in Syria could have negative implications for the global economy and 18 months after Beijing, along with Moscow, used their security council vetoes to undercut a UN resolution calling for the crisis in Syria to be referred to the Hague.