The US State Department was complaining that Russia wasn’t really hitting ISIS. It will be interesting to see what they will cry about next now that the Russian air force has increased its efforts:
Those of a skeptical persuasion have been inclined to suggest that
perhaps the US isn’t fully committed to the fight. Explanations for that
suggestion range from the mainstream (the White House is loathe to get
the US into another Mid-East war) to the “conspiratorial” (the CIA
created ISIS and thus doesn’t want to destroy the group due to its value
as a strategic asset).
The implication in all of this is that a modern army that was truly
determined to destroy the group could likely do so in a matter of months
if not weeks and so once Russia began flying sorties from Latakia, the
world was anxious to see just how long the various rebel groups
operating in Syria could hold up under bombardment by the Russian air
The answer, apparently, is “less than a week.”
On Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense said it has conducted 60 bombing runs in 72 hours, hitting more than 50 ISIS targets. According to the ministry, Islamic State fighters are in a state of “panic” and more than 600 have deserted.
Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t. But regardless, it’s clear that Russia isn’t playing around. And with Iran poised to send ground troops into Syria, it increasingly looks like the Obama administration and the neocons are likely to get an epic lesson in the unintended consequences of hubris.