Abzugsankündigung wird interessant sein in Bezug auf die Reaktion der USA und Verbündeter. Erst dann lässt sich Putins Schachzug genauer bewerten. Kann Syrien seine Gewinne gegenüber den Aufständischen und gegenüber dem IS aufrecht erhalten oder sind sie zu schwach? Ist Assad wirklich unter Druck, wie das die europäischen Zeitungen durchwegs interpretieren, am Friendensprozess teilzunehmen und Konzessionen zu machen?
Von Russia Today:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to start the withdrawal of forces from Syria starting Tuesday. Russia will however keep a military presence at the port of Tartus and at the Khmeimim airbase to observe ceasefire agreements.
“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished. That is why I order to start withdrawal of the main part of our military group from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic starting from tomorrow,” Putin said on Monday during a meeting with Shoigu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
„In a short period of time Russia has created a small but very effective military group [in Syria]… the effective work of our military allowed the peace process to begin,“ Putin said, adding that with the assistance of the Russian Air Force „Syrian government troops and patriotic forces have changed the situation in the fight with international terrorism and have ceased the initiative.“
Und die entsprechenden Interpretationen von Saker und Kommentatoren dazu:
Stichworte: Schlauer Schachzug; die USA und ihre Verbündeten werden durch den Abzug überrascht; es scheint, dass Russland die syrischen Truppen für genügend stark erachtet, sich selbst, zu verteidigen, gegen den IS vorzugehen und auch die russischen Anlagen in Syrien zu schützen; Abzug könnte mit anderen regionalen Playern (Saudiarabien?) abgesprochen sein (tit for tat); USA und Verbündete können sich über die Strategie Russland kein klares Bild machen und ein Einsatz ohne Überraschungen wird erschwert (= wichtig, wenn man erfolgreich planen will).
It is way too early right now to give a categorical evaluation of the timing and consequences of the Russian withdrawal from Syria. Let us also keep in mind that there is a lot we don’t know. What we do know is that Sergei Lavrov has had an absolutely crazy schedule over the past month or so and that Russian diplomats have been holding intense negotiations with all the regional powers. I am confident that the Russians planned their withdrawal at least as carefully as the planned their intervention and that they have left as many open options as possible. By the way, the big advantage of a unilateral decision is that, unlike one taken as part of an agreement with other parties, it can be unilaterally rescinded too. It took the Russian just days to launch their initial operation even though they had to execute it all in difficult conditions and under the cloak of secrecy. How long would it take them to move back into Syria if needed?
When all is said and done, I simply trust Vladimir Putin. No, no just because I am a Putin fanboy (which, of course, I am!), but because of his record of being right and taking difficult, even risky, decisions which eventually yielded Russia yet another unforeseen success.
Like any good chess player, Putin knows that one of the key factors in any war is time and so far Putin has timed his every move superbly. Yes, there were times in the past when I got really worried about what looked to me as either too much waiting or as dangerous risk-taking, but every single time my fears ended up being unfounded. And yes, I can easily muster up a long list of potentially catastrophic scenarios for Syria, but I think that this would only make sense if Putin had, like Obama, a long and impressive list of failures, disasters, miscalculations and embarrassing defeats on his record. But he does not. In fact, what I see is an amazing list of successes achieved against very difficult odds. And they key to Putin’s success might well be that he is a hardcore realist.
Russia is still weak. Yes, she is stronger than in the past and she is rising up very fast, but she still is weak, especially in comparison to the still immense AngloZionist Empire whose resources simply dwarf Russia’s in most categories. However, this comparative weakness also forces the Kremlin to be very careful. When an empire is rich and powerful being arrogant and over-estimating your own capabilities is not nearly as bad as when a much weaker country does it. Just look at the USA under Obama: they went from one humiliating and costly defeat to another – yet they are still here and still powerful, almost as powerful as they used to be 10 years ago. While in the long run the kind of hubris and gross incompetence we nowadays observe in US decision-makers will result in the inevitable collapse of the Empire, in the medium to short term there is no truly painful price to pay for failure. Just one example: just think of the US military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are absolute and total failures, abject disasters of incalculable magnitude. They will go down in history as amongst the worst foreign policy failures ever. And yet, walking around in downtown New York or San Fransisco you would never think that you are visiting a country which just lost two major and long wars.
Russia does not have such a “luxury of power”, she has to make every bit count and she has to plan each move with utmost precision. Just like a tightrope walker with no safety harness, Putin knows that a single misstep can have catastrophic consequences.
To withdraw the bulk of the Russian military task force in Syria right now is a gutsy and potentially risky move for sure, but I am confident that it is also the right one. But only time will tell if my confidence is warranted or not.