Russian Fighter Jets Arrive In Syria
Russia’s buildup of arms and military equipment in Syria continues despite US concerns and objections. As US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter spoke with his Russian counterpart to discuss ‘mechanisms for deconfliction in Syria.’ Amid the discussions, the first Russian combat aircraft arrived in Syria. Despite the limited efforts by the White House, Russia’s military moves have changed the dynamic of the Syrian crisis and civil war. Bashar al-Assad now has a firm ally in his corner now and access to a large stockpile of weapons and equipment that will help replenish his beleaguered forces. If this new reality does not concern the White House, nothing will.
Even more alarming is the fact that Russia is attempting to change the security dynamic of the entire Middle East and persuade traditional US allies in the region that Russia is a more reliable ally than the United States. The Russian moves in Syria are certainly being monitored by all of the regional powers. The chess match so far has been a largely one-sided affair. The US needs to begin making productive moves or risk losing influence among its allies in the Middle East including Israel.
US officials confirmed the arrival of four Russia Su-27 Flanker fighters in Syria. Who the aircraft will go into combat against remains to be seen. Russia insists that the forces gathering in Syria will be going into action against ISIS. They can just as easily be used to provide support for government forces. The next week should reveal much about what Russia’s real intentions are
Emergency EU Summit To Be Held This Week
The EU remains bitterly divided on how to respond to Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II. So far, an effective response has not been found. On Wednesday, EU leaders will meet in Brussels for an emergency summit to try and work out a unified response.
Over the weekend, the situation has worsened. In the Aegean Sea, thirteen refugees died after their boat collided with a Turkish ferry. In Hungary, the border with Serbia has been reopened and thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and other impoverished, war-torn areas are traveling north through the country to Austria.
As much as the EU would like a unified front in handling the waves of migrants, it does not exist now. Barring a miracle this week at the emergency summit, it will not appear anytime soon either.