The decision to withdraw the main Russian contingent from Syria does not at all fit in with the voices of leading politicians saying that Russia is using the opportunity to appropriate the victory over the "caliphate.” On the contrary, this is a very measured step, not in the spirit of supposedly competitive confrontation on the Syrian chessboard, but rather in the spirit of complementarity in this direction to the American president. In trying to demonstrate "unbreakable freedom" from the whole world in decision-making, he expresses a presumptuous intention to leave a force in Syria, disregarding the disagreement on this issue of the Syrian government.
The situation in Syria remains very far from ideal. A large number of combat-ready groups with the capacity to resist the Syrian army remain in various parts of the country. External forces also remain, obviously counting on a victory and a power-based reinforcement of their intentions, to direct the transfer of power in a suitable direction for themselves.
The order of the Russian Commander-in-Chief to begin withdrawal of the military contingent, as well as the report on the fulfillment of the general combat mission, the liberation of Syrian territories from ISIS, does not in my view mean that Moscow harbors some illusions and is happy about the Syrian crisis. The goal of helping the Syrian army to break the resistance of extremist jihadists and returning the captured territories under the control of the central government was indeed fulfilled.
Neither the Aerospace Forces, nor our military police, it seems, had any intention of eradicating "sprouts of separatism" in Syria. Even more so, the task was not to find out with a weapon in hand, which out of forces achieved greater success in the fight against terrorism and has the right to the laurels of the liberator. Therefore, territories bordering Syria with Iraq and Jordan and controlled by the Americans are likely to remain so under their control. The US-led anti-terrorist coalition continues to operate actively in Iraq, in their very own way imagining the future of this country.
Even in Syria, the Americans and their associates did enough in the fight against the ISIL in order to have the full right to remain in the Syrian territories in the eyes of the public in order to protect the population and prevent the resumption of the jihadist threat. In this situation, the decision to withdraw the main Russian contingent from Syria does not at all fit in with the voices of leading politicians saying that Russia is using the opportunity to appropriate the victory over the "caliphate."
On the contrary, this is a very measured step, not in the spirit of supposedly competitive confrontation on the Syrian chessboard, but rather in the spirit of complementarity in this direction to the American president. In trying to demonstrate "unbreakable freedom" from the whole world in decision-making, he expresses a presumptuous intention to leave a force in Syria, disregarding the disagreement on this issue of the Syrian government. This concerns the military aspect.
There are still political and information aspects. They are no less important than the military one. The political aspect includes both the actual inter-Syrian settlement, which once again stalled at the Geneva talks, as well as a number of serious episodes of the regional situation development, perhaps not coincidentally coinciding among themselves in recent weeks. If collected together, they can give a complete picture of the progress in the Middle East.
In addition to a loud statement about the intention to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and to transfer the American embassy there, which caused the expected surge of Palestinian protests, such events as the activation of the main opponents in the region, Riyadh and Tehran, in the Lebanese direction. It also caused a change of the balance of forces in Yemen after the assassination of former President Abdallah Saleh, a kind of overcoming the crisis within the GCC, a decision on a new alliance between the Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where the young and the richest princes play the first fiddles.
In addition, the boycott of Qatar, announced in summer, was accompanied by accusations of feeding the ISIS. Now this terrorist group is leaving the stage, but is it doing so without a trace? On the side of which forces and what country will fight the remaining mercenaries who are being squeezed out of Iraq and Syria fight?
Finally, there is the information aspect. Many "strong" regions are interested in the redesign of administrative-territorial, ethno-confessional, economic and any other maps of the Middle East. Definitely, Saudi Arabia with the Emirates, Israel, Iran, and Turkey pursue their own strategic goals. However, Moscow is the main aim for information attack, despite the fact that the Russians themselves, perhaps, did most for the Syrian population, who suffered for years from extremists. The political process of inter-Syrian settlement on several levels and "platforms", which brought significant results, was promoted with active Russian participation.
Nevertheless, we should expect the continuation of information pressure on Russia, including the increase of media pressure, which is not directly related to the Middle East politics (for example, the issues of doping or new “international” sanctions). Here is a separate item cost of "countering the Russian threat" which appeared in the US budget. Another thing looks strange: for all sorts of interpretations and caustic remarks about Moscow, they forget that, although a part of the Russian military contingent is leaving Syria, it will be quite easy to get a new invitation to send the military to Middle East after a colossal victory in its image campaign.