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Did Russia actually conduct the first successful foreign military operation in the Middle East in Syria?

Did Russia actually conduct the first successful foreign military operation in the Middle East in Syria?

July 15 2018 LJ cover – Действительно ли Россия провела в Сирии первую в современной истории успешную иностранную военную операцию на Ближнем Востоке?
Tags: Syria, Russia, Army, War in the Middle East, Analytics, Politics, Middle East

Answering is Roland Lombardi, an independent consultant and analyst at JFC-Conseil, a doctor of historical sciences and a researcher at the Institute for Arab and Muslim Studies at the University of Aix-Marseille.

"Russia's success in Syria has many reasons, I will not go into purely military details that allowed Russia to impose its will on the ground," Lombardi said.

"I will only quickly note that the Russians always act and take risks only after long reflection and having a plan and strategy." Some French "experts", based on ideology and ineradicable anti-Putinism, at the very beginning of Russia's direct intervention in September 2015 predicted that Syria will become a dirty business for the Russian army and a new Afghanistan, but comparing Russian intervention in Syria with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 is a complete misconception, first of all, the local and international context is perfect but other, Russian strategists have studied their former mistakes (Afghanistan, the first Chechen war) and confused actions (Georgia), "the expert recalls.

"At the same time, the state of the Russian armed forces has improved significantly since 2008, after the war in Georgia, and the Russian army is currently benefiting from an extremely ambitious modernization plan (23 billion rubles to 2020) and plans to upgrade 70% of equipment. this program, as well as tactical and operational developments were discovered during the Crimean case, where Russian intervention was an example of professionalism, "Lombardi said.

"But, ultimately, the Russian success in Syria is due to a much more global strategy linking modernized and tested tactics and a military machine with the effectiveness of international diplomacy, both regional and local (I recall the creation by the Russians in place of the Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, intended for military negotiations, protection of the transition of fighters, assistance to the population and coordination with civil authorities, as well as various NGOs and UN services.) There is no doubt that the diplomatic successes of the Kremlin, its diplomats and negotiators will go down in history, "the analyst said.

"Everything is put into the service of a great policy (and geopolitical goals), clear, consistent and sustainable." Putin not only read Clausewitz, but also applied his principles: "War is the continuation of politics by other means!" Since in the Middle East, Russians conduct politics, their policies And, unlike Western countries, it is based on realism and their own national interests, not only commercial ones, "the consultant explains." This is the true key to success. "

"Putin restarted the simple but ancient policy of Russia: to get out of isolation in order to gain access to the warm seas, with the help of the Crimea as a barrier (return to the Russian fold) and with support, in particular, for the Christians of the East as a vector of development and This, by the way, explains the Russian positions in Ukraine, in the Crimea and, in part, in Syria, "Lombardi analyzes.

"In parallel with Orthodox geopolitics, one should not lose sight of the fact that Russia is also a Muslim power (in particular, it is an observer at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation - OIC), hence its special attention to the political evolution of the Arab- power, since Islam is the religion of many ethnic minorities in Russia, "the scientist continues.

"Today about 15% of the Russian population is Muslim, that is, from 20 to 22 million (the most significant of the minorities) for 150 million inhabitants, which means that such an ancient affinity with Islam makes Russians a subtle connoisseur of this religion." Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( IW RAS), an existing two hundred years, is considered one of the best research centers on the study of Islam and the East on the planet.The most famous of his students (and later a professor) was Evgeni Primakov, "Lombardi points out.

"From the very beginning, the message of the Kremlin was clear and clear:" Manage your countries as you like, but we do not want to see Islamists in power, "moderate" or immoderate, in return, and if necessary, you can always rely on our reliability and support ! "These lines contain the whole essence and driving force of Russian actions in the Middle East! We have to admit that here lies a huge difference from American and Western policies in general," the consultant notes.

"The American power in the region should not be forgotten too quickly, but whether we like it or not, the result is undeniable: Russia has become the new manager of the game that we have to reckon with today and a true" World Judge "irreplaceable in this region," the analyst concedes. .

"Even in the Soviet era, Moscow has never achieved such a leading position in this part of the world," the scientist recalls.

"On the other hand, Russian diplomats have shown themselves as worthy successors to Yevgeny Primakov, Russia has successfully demonstrated the advantages of a clear, realistic and pragmatic policy." Thanks to the uncomplexed policy of domination in the Middle East that is insensitive to domestic regional rivalry, Putin talks to everyone and the largest local players from now on are drawn to the Kremlin: cooperation with Israel, and in all areas, which is deeper than what is usually thought, and the "partner" in Syria is Iran, currently experiencing th great difficulty, can now rely on the Russian ... "- the expert analyzes.

"As for Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, former opponents of Russia in this zone, they all surrendered to the will of the winner (Russian-Turkish partnership in Syria and the last agreement between OPEC and Russia, behind the Iranians.) Isolated Palestinian leaders ( Abbas and Hamas) are now seeking support from the Russian president, and new (and future) Arab autocrats (the Algerian military, President Sisi, Marshal Haftar in Libya and even Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in Riyadh ...) are all turning His views on "Tsar" Putin, since he on the Prospect At least in addition to political and geostrategic advantages, thanks to his intervention in Syria, Russia has never sold so many weapons (the war serves also for this!), and the number of signed trade agreements has sharply increased has grown! " - Lombardi comments.

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