There is no doubt Russia plays a role. Regardless of whether the United States would be involved in the region or not, Syria is a Russian ally. One can not help but wonder if the contentious relationship between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama is part of the equation. In having a good excuse for getting involved in Syria, the President has an opportunity to make an impact on what might be considered Putin’s turf. If that is a factor, is it strategic or personal? Whether it is a factor or not, it has created an added tension people seem to want to stay away from discussing for somewhat obvious reasons. It makes the situation even more concerning and potentially explosive. Should the U.S. hit the wrong target, one that angers the Russians, be it accidentally or as a result of collateral damage, what will Russia’s reaction be? And let’s not forget that Israel, a U.S. ally, is always right there, has a serious stake in what is going on, and never will have a good relationship with an Assad regime in Syria.
Even before attacks on ISIS in Syria start, the picture is murky and complicated. Once Syria becomes a target it could get considerably more so. We’ll have to wait and see and hope personal feelings don’t come into play.
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