23 November 2015, News Wires – Consider this scenario: Russia increasingly assumes ownership of the war in Syria and of the country.
President Vladimir Putin establishes a puppet regime in Damascus and either carts away Bashar al-Assad into exile, or assigns him a subsidiary role within a national unity government.
With Putin seen to be fighting the good war on the side of the West, and with new prospects of a solution to the seemingly endless crisis in Syria, it becomes clear that the economic sanctions against Russia following the Ukraine war cannot really continue.
With one giant leap in Syria, Russia is suddenly free of its post-Ukraine sanctions.
Is this or some other admittedly stretched scenario going to solve the crisis in Syria? Probably not. But is the scenario as implausible as it may seem — considering what has been happening since the Russian military intervention?
The initiative in the civil war seems to have since passed to Russia, with Iran tagging along behind.
These are early days in the latest twist to the Syrian crisis, but they seem to be encouraging enough for US Secretary of State John Kerry to talk about “a gigantic step” toward a negotiated solution.
Following the 13 November terrorist outrage in Paris, France is calling for differences with Moscow to be set aside for the sake of a grand coalition against the Islamic State jihadists.
It may soon become clear that Russia’s intervention has only moved the goal posts in Syria. The main beneficiary of the most recent events in the oil-rich but highly unstable Middle East might then turn out to be Putin himself.