A technicality. Parliamentary approval is required by law. The vote was unanimous to approve the use of military force in Syria. Use of air force only. The last time the parliament did this, Crimea was invaded.
“For Russian forces to operate there legitimately … a law was needed.”
There have some media reports from the Middle East that Russian military jets have already started carrying out air strikes in Syria. The Kremlin has declined to confirm that.
Last week Putin deployed 28 warplanes including SU-27 Flanker fighters for air-to-air combat, 15 military helicopters and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles.
Russian ground forces are already deployed in Syria. Satellite photos show preparation for additional forces at two other bases.
Obama says he would welcome Russian participation in the fight against Islamic State provided Assad eventually departs. Putin says no, Assad will stay. Russia is aligned with Iran in support of keeping Assad in power. Many of the U.S. (so-called) Middle East allies insist it is impossible for them to support any coalition that doesn’t seek to remove Assad.
“If there will be a united coalition which I doubt, or in the end two coalitions — one American and one Russian — they will have to coordinate their actions,” Ivan Konovalov, a military expert, told Reuters.
The inclusion of the air-to-air combat SU-27’s indicate Russia’s intent that other nations will have to coordinate their airstrikes with them.
Obama’s smooth talking served him well for personal ambitions and perhaps he still believes the power of his personality will dominate.
In Syria, as I said yesterday, defeating ISIL requires — I believe — a new leader and an inclusive government that unites the Syrian people in the fight against terrorist groups. This is going to be a complex process. And as I’ve said before, we are prepared to work with all countries, including Russia and Iran, to find a political mechanism in which it is possible to begin a transition process.
Putin is more a man of action. He wants to gain a foothold in the Middle East for Russia and will use Assad as long as he can. Combating ISIL is not really Russia’s prime objective.