(Japan Times/Reuters/Daily Sabah/NRT/Daily Mail) Vladimir Putin cited Russian military success in Syria as his reason for scaling back his forces there. But his belief that the intervention delivered him a seat at the top table of world affairs is more likely to have tipped his hand.
Russia’s Syria operation, launched on Sept. 30 last year, made military, diplomatic and domestic political sense for the Kremlin, which was keen to shore up its closest Middle East ally and protect its only naval facility on the Mediterranean. It has largely achieved both aims.
But an analysis of comments made by the Russian president and other officials, and conversations with people familiar with his thinking, suggests his primary aim was to make Russia so indispensable to the Syrian peace process that it could regain a measure of the global clout the Soviet Union once enjoyed. […]
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Seat at geopolitical top table allowed Putin to scale back in Syria, Reuters, March 15, 2016
Russia's intervention saves itself, not Assad, Daily Sabah, March 16, 2016
Political expert says Russian scale back in Syria a long awaited move, NRT, March 16, 2016
Is Putin about to drop Assad? Daily Mail, March 16, 2016