Apr 14,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –
Russian Prime Minister DImitry Medvedev “confessed” in 2015 in the wake of the Russian major military buildup in Syria, including the construction of air and naval military bases in Hmeimim and Tartus respectively, that Russia is in Syria for the long haul to protect Russian geopolitical interests in the Middle East and not because of the “colour of the Syrian eyes.”
I suspect Medvedev was reprimanded by President Vladimir Putin for this “confession”, given the fact that Putin has been the mentor of Medvedev all along and depended on him to orchestrate an “orderly” exchange of posts with him to facilitate the return of Putin to the office of president.
Prime Minister Medvedev does not appear often in the limelight, since for all intents and purposes, Putin is the real power in Moscow no matter what seat he occupies.
President Putin must have calculated that investment in Syria would be worthwhile and self-redeeming in the short run. The control of Syria, where Moscow has now a permanent foothold, would have an impact on Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan, and maybe beyond these countries.
The Russian President must have calculated that he, who controls Damascus, would eventually control at least Beirut, Ankara and Baghdad. This big gamble on Syria would, therefore, pay off from Putin’s point of view.
Yet, these calculations may still be flawed and could backfire as the presence of Russia in Syria may not remain as smooth as it now seems after Damascus regains full control of its territory from the opposition.
Neighbouring capitals must have felt the heat already emanating from the Russian presence in Syria and can be expected to be aware of Russia’s long terms intentions. These regional capitals must be taking antidotes against it should push comes to shove.
The full narrative about the Russian gamble on Syria, therefore, has yet to unfold and it may not be as rosy as first thought.