It did not take long for the “surprising” Putin withdrawal of fighting troops from Syria to be exposed as a mere media stunt in order to provide cover for a massive move on the city of Palmyra in the South. The “threat” to Assad of being on his own was just smoke and mirrors. Assad’s troops, the Syrian army, attacked Palmyra with Soviet air cover on Thursday, March 24. In fact, Russia lost an officer who was killed by ISIS acting in Palmyra as a director of the air strikes. This was done on the same day that the U.S. started a large attack on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul in Iraq. Coordinated attacks by the Russians, and the U.S. on ISIS in Southern Syria and Northern Iraq on the same day? It seems so. Great acting by all involved. Putin wins the Oscar!
On the same day, Syrian Kurds declared a Federal State in several enclaves straddling the Syrian and Iraqi border just south of Turkey. The Saudi and Turkish forces are scratching their heads. Every time they threaten to send ground troops, the music changes. The plot thickens, and so does Putin’s drama performance. He states he can reconstitute the “withdrawn” forces in a matter of hours. Best special effects . . .Assad.
The next day, Friday, March 25th, Mr. Putin made a nod toward home when he endorsed the Chechnya Regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov for another term. He had been very helpful in the Syrian conflict. The best supporting actor award goes to . . .Kadyrov. His Chechens have the inside scoop on the disparate Muslim factions fighting Assad. Meanwhile, President Obama goes to Cuba for baseball, and to Argentina to Tango. Best musical adaptation goes to . . .Barack Hussein Obama.
Also on Friday, among the Russians feigning “peace” talks, the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared a massive Russian military buildup from two new divisions against NATO in the West, to drones and a missile shield on the Pacific Kuril Islands opposite Japan. The islands have been in dispute since 1945. Arctic and Siberian additions were mentioned as well. The Associated Press reported an increase of 1100 new weapons systems from planes and tanks to helicopters and armored vehicles. Best comedy . . .Shoigu.
Everything said in previous and recent articles about Russian aggression is true, folks. The withdrawal side show was strategic. On Tuesday we hear rhetoric, yet on Thursday actions opposite the words take place. America acts shocked, but then we attack in sync. Forget listening to what is said by government officials and watch the exact opposite actions take place. It is the new norm. Propaganda and great acting. It strengthened Putin’s hand and detrimentally makes the Russian bear feel a little stronger and a little smarter. Best animal short . . .the dancing bear.
Dr. Zhivago has nothing on the drama playing out in the Middle East. It would be entertaining if it wasn’t such a true life tragedy. Whatever lines are delivered next, look where they are telling you not to. That is where the real plot is happening. What we know from Scripture is that Damascus will become a ruinous heap no matter what is being said. Peace talks or not. Withdrawals or not. Coordination between nations or not. Russia is in Syria to stay. Their sense of ownership is growing by the day. Best screenplay . . .Damascus.
“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” -Isaiah 17:1