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Russia airstrikes against Daesh in Syria have embarrassed US: Pundit

A video grab taken on September 30, 2015, shows an image from footage made available by the Russian Defense Ministry, demonstrating Russian airstrikes against the position of terrorists in Syria. (AFP photo)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Sleboda, international affairs and security analyst in Moscow, to share his thoughts on a report saying that the Pentagon is considering the use of military force against Russia to protect US-trained militants in Syria.


What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.


Press TV: Is this basically a threat being leveled against Moscow?

Sleboda: There is a little bit of a threat here. I would not take these reports coming from some of the sources, such as Fox News, quite so seriously.

Washington has very little options now and they know it. First of all, Russia has quite embarrassed them because they are forced to admit the large numbers - up to ten thousand according to the Washington Post - CIA trained, armed and paid proxies that the US has been supporting in its regime change efforts, its war on the Syrian government and people.

Now with Russia potentially, at least according to some sources in the US, hitting these targets, they are forced to acknowledge their existence but there is really little they can do to protect them. They are not going to hand out MANPADS to the rebels as this would obviously immediately fall into the hands of ISIS and other even more extreme groups in the area that would then potentially present a threat, international air traffic and stuff that would be a very big problem for the US, but they are also not going to conduct airstrikes on the Russian base or fight air goals in the air against Russian airplanes. There is very little they can do.

On top of that, Russia has already established a quite sophisticated A2AD, an anti-aircraft denial of area or access in the area, and this will spread with the range of these devices over much of Syria, and Washington is very, very concerned about that. The NATO commander, Philip Breedlove, personally expressed his displeasure at this, but it is already pretty much a fait accompli. Russia moved very, very quickly, very efficiently and has established this base, the materials and troops, weapons it needs to defend it and it is conducting legal airstrikes.

Press TV: As Russia continues with these airstrikes, it also goes to show the incompetency of the so-called international coalition against ISIL that the US had formed in as far as it has not really been able to stem the flow of the terrorist organization. So what next then? 

Sleboda: I do not think it is necessarily incompetence. I think there is more willful intent to nurture ISIS in certain areas, manage it in others such as in Iraq, and use it as a strategic asset for a regime change against the Syrian government, leaked DIA (the Defense Intelligence Agency) documents and former DIA officials have said as much.

There is only one coalition in town now, and that is the coalition of Russia, Iraq, Iran, the Syrian government, Hezbollah and the Kurdish militias. Russia provides the air power that these ground forces need to drive ISIS and other terrorist groups from Syrian and Iraqi territory, and you are either with this coalition or you are with the terrorists and the US needs to get on board.

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