Putin's intervention in Syria isn't a 'game-changer'
by Michael Young
It’s remarkable that many have reacted to the Russian military intervention in Syria as if it were preordained that it would decisively change the dynamics of conflict there.
The European foreign affairs head, Federica Mogherini,described the Russian move as a “game-changer” earlier this week, while pro-Hezbollah journalists in Lebanon have gone into the detailsof how Russian-Iranian collaboration is about to shift the military balance in northern Syria.
No doubt the Russian deployment to Syria is a major development in that unhappiest of countries, but is it really the beginning of the end game — at least when it comes to the dynamics of the war? Until now Russia has merely introduced better weapons, while steadfastly refusing to send ground forces that could, potentially, shift the tide.
Indeed, what seems inevitable is that the Russians will work in tandem with Iranian troops and pro-Iranian militias, which have been involved in Syria since at least 2013. This may provide tactical advantages in places, but is it really enough to be conclusive?
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