In a surprise move, Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced today that Russia would immediately begin to draw down its forces in Syria, according to him, to assist in the peace process, and because its forces had "...accomplished its main mission..."
MilitaryGazette has been following this story for you, our readers, because we seek to not simply report the news, but to accurately interpret the news. As a result of this, the main question is, obviously -- Why?
The disastrous foreign policy of the current US Presidential Administration has left a power vacuum in the Middle East, a vacuum which has shifted the balance of focus for countries as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel. Even for the Middle East, the concept of backing proxy players has gotten far out of control, and there has been no strong voice - as the US, Britain and France, albeit for different reasons, no longer carry any real weight - to get parties to sit down at the negotiating table.
Putin's Russia has deftly stepped into this vacuum, strengthened old alliances, strained the alliances and trusts of its chief opposition, and can now safely claim that it accomplished its military objectives with minimal forces - and more importantly, leaving no long-term "security forces" in the region...and all as the NATO Alliance flails about, seemingly helpless, and bereft of moral credibility.
...Truly, the masterwork of a deft player of the new "Great Game" v3.0.