The war in Syria –
Syria historically has not been friendly to the United States. They are closely aligned with Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah (in Lebanon).
For two years the President of Syria (Bashar Al Assad) has been waging a war on his own people. 90,000 Syrians have now been killed in the process.
For two years the world has stood around wondering what to do.
Some people want to arm the opposition to make it a fair fight. But there is a fear the opposition might not be pure and innocent. Arming them could lead to larger issues down the road.
In March the opposition took 21 United Nations Workers hostage to bring attention to their plight. This did not sit well with the international community.
Some people say there should be stronger sanctions (or a no fly zone over Syria) to give the opposition cover.
An air campaign was successful in toppling Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo in 1999. Another air campaign was successful in toppling Moammar Gadhafi in Libya last year. If used correctly air power is a very effective tool.
Unfortunately China and Russia veto every effort at evening out the battle field.
China vetoes everything just to annoy the West. The United States could solve world hunger and China would veto it.
Russia actually has many strategic interests in Syria. For one they sell the Syrian government lots of weapons. This Syrian civil war is a boom for Russian weapons sales. If the killing ended Putins weapons business would suffer.
Secondly Russia has one Naval port outside of Russian territory and it is in Syria (Tartus). If Assad is toppled the new government might not be as welcoming to the Russian fleet staying in Syria. Putin isn’t willing to take that risk. He will do everything possible to make sure Assad stays.
Obama needs to have a spine and stand up to Putin but so far has shown none.
To insure a no fly zone won’t happen Russia is in the process of selling Syria their most advanced anti aircraft system.
The rest of the civilized world is trying hard to persuade Putin to back off that idea but so far he insists on moving forward.
Israel who enjoys being able to fly in and out of Syria at will (blowing things up) definitely is not happy about having to deal with sophisticated Russian anti aircraft systems.
In 2007 Israel flew into Syria to blow up their top-secret nuclear program. Nobody knew the program existed until Israel made the site into Talcum Powder.
A few weeks ago Israel flew into Syria again and blew up more high tech Iranian weapons on their way to Hezbollah.
Putin is determined to help the Syrians put an end to this kind of outside intervention.
So basically we have an international stare down going on between the West and Russia. In many ways it is just like the old days of the Cold War.
For those of you who don’t remember the cold war this is a small scale reenactment of what used to happen all the time.