no illusions: this means the end of hezbollah, after which israel can launch a major unilateral air attack on iran

Syria. Early elections
El Murid, Oct 25 2015

The willingness of Assad to hold early presidential and possibly parliamentary elections in Syria has no meaning, regardless of who attended and what results they will show. Contradictions inside Syria plus a very strong contradictions of external players today insoluble. That’s why there is a war that aims to establish a new balance of power. As long as this balance will not be set, any attempt to find otherwise is futile. It is possible that the Assad statement is dictated to him by Moscow; today Syria is so dependent on external assistance that management should be possible from the outside. 4 years of continuous war have not been wasted. I wrote about the analogy with Donbass: exactly the same way, the Kremlin waited until the militia would be defeated and destroyed, and then take control of the former People’s Republic became a matter of technique and time. Of course, Assad will not be a puppet, but he needs to legitimize the transfer of power. Well, it was in Donetsk came unknown, self-appointed Boroday as Prime Minister. After that similar procedure is passed the appointment of Zakharchenko, slightly legitimized by elections, which was result known in advance. Apparently, the next Prime Minister (if, of course, Zakharchenko does not stay till the glorious day of his return to his native Nenka) will be appointed in the same way. Why bother for unnecessary procedures?

In Syria, the situation is still different, so just appoint a President from Moscow will not succeed. You need to follow the conventions. Of course, even if Assad is gone, and in its place will come the Syrian Plotnitsky, it will not be recognized in the West, but now it will be a pure puppet, which also will sit patiently in the dressing room, like the “people’s premiere” of Donbas, who were escorted to Minsk to sign the agreement, the chiefs discussed more important matters without them. In other words, by means of the election of the President of Syria, the Kremlin wants to permanently remove the Syrians from the political process and translate them into an object of trade with the West. The legitimacy of Assad today is orders of magnitude greater than the legitimacy of the entire “moderate opposition,” which has no known leader. Names like Selim Idris, Zahran Alloush, Hasan Aboud or Abu Abdullah Hamawi, are all either already generally there as subjects of the process, or they need to start to withdraw from the lists of terrorists. The new President of Syria will not differ from bandits and terrorists by the degree of his legitimacy, and will not be taken into account.

Assad understands this? Of course. But he is in the same situation as Strelkov: a step to the right or left, the slightest independence from Moscow, and immediately followed by the call: you don’t need our help? Well, we now pack up and fly home, then sort it out themselves. Strelkov was blackmailed the same way: either you’re out, or we close even the feeble trickle that drips across the border. I was present during one such conversation. What Strelkov said, I did not hear, but by the answers and replies from Igor, it was easy to understand what was being said. Technology exactly the same, why to invent something? A month after leaving, the same Strelkov whose heroism they had admired and pasted his picture on avatars, they were splashing mud on the theme: “He escaped!” “He left!” “He betrayed!”, “He surrendered Slavyansk!” I wonder how soon before the same people will begin to sling mud at Assad? But once you start, you are not going anywhere.

anna_sv, who is rapidly becoming indispensable around here, comments:

I in this subject wrote that at the moment, elections in Syria is a utopia, while no significant military successes. The only thing I disagree with Anatoly El Murid about, is that Russia will be able to put a Syrian Plotnitsky. It’s really not the Donbass. There are intertwined interests of many middle Eastern and Western States, so it’s likely to be a compromise figure and not Assad.

Murid seems to be right, in that the Pindos have contemptuously dismissed any attempt on Putin’s part to bargain:

Refusal to cooperate
El Murid, Oct 24 2015

Pindostan will not cooperate with Russia in Syria. This was clearly stated by Pentagon spox M Baldanza:

We do not cooperate, not coordinate, not cooperate or share intelligence with Russia in Syria, because we fundamentally disagree with its strategy and action until now, and since cooperation with Russia is suspended until it fulfils its obligations under the Minsk agreement.

Pindos make it clear that they understand the largely primitive tactics of the Kremlin to cover one war with another, and will not respond to attempts to divide Russia’s foreign policy in unrelated directions. In general, from the beginning, the idea of it with all of Donbass on Syria after the attempt to reinsert the Donbass back to Ukraine in the form of the Kremlin’s “Trojan horse” has collapsed, looked doubtful. Putin made it clear that unless the conditions of Minsk, which in fact, Russia is losing its positions in Ukraine, it will not happen in a select few “civilized” countries. This, of course, could survive, however, in this case hangs and the idea of our little victorious war in Syria: its purpose, as repeatedly repeat Russian leaders, is peaceful resolution, albeit at the cost of letting Assad go.

The West is not buying it. For “coercion” to the world Russia will need to step up efforts in Syria, as Assad’s forces totally inadequate for ground operations, and the Russian air wing is too small to create an operational or even tactical advantage at least in one direction. As can be seen, the strikes of Russian aviation, mostly concentrated in Latakia and Hama, are very helpful in moving the Syrians forward. While you can rely on various proxy options with Russian “volunteers” in the hope that they will strengthen ground-based grouping of the advancing Syrian army, but again, only in the North requires at least 15,000 to 20,000 people in addition to the existing forces, to reverse the situation. That many “volunteers” there. However, a month or two to fill up the bodies of Russian fighters will be beyond doubt. In any version of events, the Kremlin soon will be forced to make a choice: either to engage in war already big (which is fraught with plenty of extremely risky consequences) or reduce the level of their wishes and go on about the West. The second way is practically closed personal problems Putin. Reputationally, he cannot afford to recognize even a tactical loss.

The Pindos can play now almost without loss. In any event, they benefit: either Russia drawn into a war of larger forces, having inadequate to non-existent communications to supply its groups, or else Russia must meet the requirements of Pindostan, This applies primarily to unconditional implementation of the Minsk agreements, regardless of whether its own part is performed by Kiev. Naturally, once the border of Donbass will be transferred to Kiev, there will be a new requirement: the submission of Crimea. And again, Pindostan does not conceal its plans to return the situation to the state of Feb 14. So even concessions in Syria will not change anything in the Donbass. Pindostan will still withdraw from the proposed option of a peaceful solution in which Russia can take part, until she will return the Crimea. It is clear that the return of Crimea will be accepted by all as the Russian capitulation, and then no one will perceive the Kremlin as a moderator of the Syrian settlement. There remains little choice for Putin: either to continue to strengthen efforts in Syria (and, hence, to increase the troops there) or to leave. For domestic consumption, even escape from Syria can be called a victory, but actually the Syrian war isn’t designed to raise the rating of Putin inside the country. That wasn’t what he wanted in this situation. He needed foreign recognition, but Pindostan is adamant in their unwillingness (to do) anything to help their ex.

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