“Generally Accomplished”

Russian P-ts Department

Did Putin lose himself?
From: Rosbalt, March 18, 2016, 00:05, Dmitry Travin (Candidate of economic Sciences, Professor, European University at St. Petersburg)

K: Excellent portrait of Mr. Putin, a Man of His Own Interests. To sell something or someone, not to reform something, not to pay attention to slaughtering citizens, no problem. It must calculate to this or that, so looking at Putin one has to take into consideration Mr. Putin’s goal of his deeds, personal deeds, not to what he says or his spin doctors paint on this thick air of rotten Russian authorities.


(Click to enlarge) © Photo from the site kremlin.ru

Do not suspect of the President of Russia of irrationality. On the contrary, he is calculating every step – including the reduction of military forces in Syria.

This week all struck by the sudden decision of Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from Syria. It turned out that the task we already performed. But what is forbidden in Russia IG to this day very much alive, is apparently only a detail that does not affect the overall situation.

No one could predict when Putin will withdraw troops from Syrian territory, just as no one has previously predicted that he will introduce them in there. And in the explanations made in hindsight, commentators over the past few days have not succeeded. But, by and large, it all comes down to two options.

First: Putin secretly agreed with US about any compromise, including the removal (or mitigation) of sanctions, and is now fulfilling their commitments. He, so to speak, exchanged the Crimea to Donbass with Syria, and now rents back what acquired just for the sake of bargaining.

Second: Putin has not agreed with the States and realized that the “do not ride”. So, no need to keep military group where it really does need nothing. Unnecessary war is a waste of money. In General, the troops were withdrawn, the people declared about the achieved victory — and remained under the sanctions that will bravely endure, tightening the belt.

To which of these explanations is correct, go back somewhere in the fall (when the chickens be considered accepted), and now we shall turn our attention to other things. With any interpretation of events is impossible not to notice the main thing: Putin is acting very rationally, seeking to obtain personal benefits (or, more precisely, to strengthen the architecture of the political system). How exactly are the scheme in his head, we don’t know, but the fact that they are rational, current events confirm. (…)


Russia’s Syrian Withdrawal – Why It Happened and Why Regime Change Remains Off the Agenda
From: Russia Insider, Thu, Mar 17, 2016, by Alexander Mercouris

K: Red font is mine.
For me, it’s not the first time Mr. Alexander Mercouris blindly believe (in) Mr. Putin. BTW. Can you imagine the US President having lost 2/3 of the country, e.g. to Mexican terrorists supported by “whatever you’ll think of” or the whole World who hates the USA for all its crimes against Humanity, agrees to rotten conditions of a f***g ceasefire?

Mr. Mercouris just wrote – “…prospects of a political stabilisation in Syria…”. Would such truce be deemed by the US President as stabilization? Good Lord!

Most of the known and respected journalists writes such drivel from time to time as if they were being paid for the quantity, not quality. And so, such speculations are going on ad infinitum…

But going back to Mr. Assad, why he must to negotiate with all sort of terrorists and CIA’s thugs when Syrian territory it is now only 1/3d of the whole Syria? What do you think, will he be able to negotiate? “Independence”, what a stinkin’ independence or perhaps partition, sponsored by the USA and Russia?

Mr. Mercouris’ “alternative” to Mr. Assad (read below in the text) is nothing less but Russian run away ordered by someone else than Mr. Putin. In such vision, very, very probable, it negates Mr. Putin’s carefully tailored strategy. I said it before, Mr. Mercouris writes accolades to Mr. Putin. Does he like him so much?

Even Mr. Mercouris’ remarks about Russian-Syrian “friendship” and “alliance” are stupid as Mr. Putin is a lone wolf, to said it nicely, or “known traitor” of everyone and everything, as claims El Murid in his articles and columns.


(Click to enlarge) Putin listening to Defence Minister Shoigu’s Presentation prior to the Withdrawal Announcement

Russia’s partial withdrawal announcement is a logical step at this point in the Syrian conflict.

The Russians never promised an open-ended or unlimited commitment.

It is consistent with the policy of strengthening the Syrian army so it can fight jihadism in Syria by itself.

It will not undermine the struggle against the Islamic State or jihadism in Syria because the objective of preventing the collapse of the Syrian state has been achieved.

The Russian decision to withdraw part of their forces from Syria has come as a surprise.

It has triggered a huge amount of speculation as to the reason.

In reality the Russians – as they always do – have explained the reason carefully, though as always their explanations have gone unreported and are being ignored.

In fact a decision by the Russians to withdraw part of their forces now – when the regime change strategy has been defeated and the Syrian army is becoming increasingly strong and capable of fighting the Islamic State and the jihadis by itself – was pre-programmed from the start and was part of the original decision to intervene.

In this article, rather than engage in wild guesses about the intentions behind Russian actions, I shall set out what the Russians themselves say. At the end I will then offer my own opinion.

(…)

Conclusion

On balance I think therefore that the prospects for a degree of political stabilisation in Syria along the lines the Russians want are reasonably good.

It is probably expecting too much that there will be a complete end to the conflict. President Assad’s opponents – or at least those who claim to represent President Assad’s opponents and who are turning up to negotiate on their behalf in Geneva – are simply too intransigent for that.

However the politicians negotiating in Geneva are not necessarily representative of the opposition on the ground.

The fact the truce – against most expectations – has generally held suggests there has indeed been a shift in attitudes on the ground and that the realisation is spreading that because of Russian backing President Assad cannot be overthrown by force.

If so then it is possible that the bulk of the people who have been fighting him and who are not jihadis now understand that they have no alternative but to do a deal and compromise.

If that is correct then the politicians in Geneva may find that if they remain intransigent they risk losing their political base.

The elections President Assad has called for next month – almost certainly after consulting the Russians – may be intended to consolidate this process.

Certainly the prospects of a political stabilisation in Syria look to me better than they have ever been at any point since the conflict began.

If the political stabilisation takes place, then the Syrian army will finally be free to focus all its energies on fighting the Islamic State and the jihadis – as the Russians intend that it should.

In that case – with the Syrian government’s control restored over Syria’s cities – victory over the Islamic State and the jihadis would be only a matter of time.

The alternative would have been for the Russians to make an unlimited and qualified commitment to the Syrian government until final victory was achieved through military means against all of President Assad’s opponents and until all the armed jihadis in Syria had been crushed.

Whilst that might have delivered victory, it would have run greater risks of provoking a hostile international reaction – and possibly even a clash with the US and the Turks – and would have involved making a commitment to Syria that was far greater than the one the Russians promised or were prepared or were able to make.

It would also have run the risk of entrenching the Syrian regime in its pre-2011 form, which might have stored up more trouble for the future.

It is anyway ultimately unrealistic to expect the Russians to behave in ways that are contrary to the fundamental principles that govern their behaviour or to expect them to change those principles for Syria’s sake.

Contrary to what is often said pre-2011 Syria was not an ally of Russia. Its relations were much closer to the US and western Europe (especially France) than they were to Russia. The importance of the Tartus dockyard facility (it is not really a base) to Russia has been wildly overstated and Syria is not an important political or economic partner or even a close friend of Russia’s.

It is not therefore surprising that the Russians are not prepared to go beyond the traditional constraints on their policy on behalf of a government that was not especially friendly to them to start with.

Indeed the wonder is that they have gone as far as they have.

That they have been prepared to do so is because – as the Russians themselves say – doing so has been in Russia’s national interests.

Russia’s actions have however been shaped by the traditional framework within which the Russians carry out their policies.

It could not realistically have been otherwise, and that explains both why the Russians intervened when they did, why they did not intervene before and why they are partially withdrawing now.

K: Bullshit, I’m sorry I could not stand shut here. How come Putin changes positions, attitudes and deeds 180 degs after “innocuous” visits of foreign guests (friends?) or mysterious phone calls or he receives the “Westerners’ commendations” after his “controversial” actions?

A different country in the same situation might have acted differently and perhaps the outcome would have been better. It should not however cause surprise that Russia has instead acted like itself.

It is unrealistic to expect otherwise and given that the prospects of peace in Syria and the defeat of jihadism have never looked better one should be grateful for what has been given rather than regret what has never in fact been offered and which was never in reality possible.


Why Russia Is Leaving Syria: Putin Achieved Everything He Wanted
From: Russia Insider, Thu, Mar 17, 2016
From: Zero Hedge


(Click to enlarge)

Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

K: Red font is mine. Just contrary, it was Churkin who chided Assad for “lack of subordination” to Moscow, as I recall correctly. Putin, perhaps, had to be furious.

Mark Galeotti whom Zero Hedge quotes at length here is no Putin love – quite the contrarym but even he has to admit that on its terms Russian intervention was a success

Earlier today, we took a closer look at Vladimir Putin’s seemingly abrupt decision to partially withdraw the Russian military from Syria.

The prevailing view seems to be that Moscow somehow intended to put more pressure on Assad to be amenable to a negotiated, political solution and indeed that may be a part of the plan. However, as we noted, it’s not exactly as if The Kremlin is leaving the Syrian leader high and dry.

Aleppo proper was surrounded just prior to the implementation of the ceasefire late last month. Hezbollah’s ground troops and Russia’s air force had the rebels pinned down. Their supply lines to Turkey were cut, and civilians were fleeing the city en masse to avoid what they assumed would be a bloody siege. At that point is was readily apparent that the opposition couldn’t hold out much longer. Besides, it’s not as if the IRGC and Hezbollah are just going to pack up and leave once the Russians draw down their presence.

“We are heading toward being liquidated I think,” one opposition official said.

So it isn’t entirely clear that Assad is being forced to negotiate in Geneva by Putin’s exit any more than the HNC, which surely doesn’t want to go right back into a situation where they are on the verge of surrender.

Rather, it appears to us that Putin sensed the perfect moment to change tactics. As we wrote this morning, “if both sides come to some kind of tenuous agreement, Putin will get to claim that Russia’s military came, saw, and conquered, then brokered a peace settlement – two things no country had been able to do in Syria since the beginning of the war in 2011.” (…)


Generally Accomplished
From: UNZ, by Anatoly Karlin, March 15, 2016


(Click to enlarge)

Today came the shock announcement that Putin has ordered the withdrawal of most of the Russian strike force in Syria commencing on March 15, 2016.

In contrast to the weeks before the start of the intervention, when multiple observers including Stratfor observed signs of an imminent intervention, this has come as a complete surprise. Many ill thought out explanations have been rushed out.

(1) The more rhetorical anti-Russian voices in the West and the pro-Western Russian liberal opposition claim that this was on account of Russia’s unwinding economy. No matter that Russia’s budget deficit is at less than 3% of GDP, comes on top of negligible government debt levels, and the mounting evidence its recession has bottomed anyway.

(2) Fervent Assad and SAA supporters of 2015, who the year before had condemned Putin’s “betrayal” of Novorossiya, now rushed to condemn yet another “zdrada.”

(3) Maybe Borovoy’s ultimatum to Putin was successful after all? /s

(…)

However, if Assad were to regain full control of Syria, this would be a poisoned chalice. The cost of repairing all the destroyed infractructure, rooting out radicalism, and providing welfare for millions more displaced people will be an unbearable strain on its already heavily beleagured finances, causing resentment in the Alawite heartlands and buying no love amongst people who will come to think of their defeated forebears as having pursued a noble Lost Cause. Most critically, there is absolutely nothing stopping the Saudis and the Turks from once again trying to topple a Syrian government strained from the costs of reconstruction, Sunni refugee repatriation, and demographically dominated by Sunnis in another 10-20 years time.

These are the reasons why for the Saudis and the Turks, the fundamental choice is about either Damascus or nothing. Preferably they would like to topple Assad outright and replace his government with some kind of Nusrastan – sharia with shopping malls – a full Assad victory is a clear second best. This, ultimately, is why they have refrained from directly wading into the conflict themselves, despite their obvious frustration with the entire situation. I suspect the Russians who advise Putin realize this and have no desire to play to Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s interests. Assad might not; from both his life story (an apolitical doctor promoted to the throne by the chance death of his elder brother) and his interviews, he strikes me as very straightforward character: Honest, civilized, not unintelligent, but not really cut out for the cynicism, deviousness, and paradoxes of geopolitics.

In this respect, the Russian withdrawal is if anything doing him and Syria a favor.

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