PapaDragon wrote:Raqqa is not part of useful Syria. Russian interests in Syria are secured. Saudis may try to drag pipeline across the eastern desert but after the scapegoats that will be working on it get bombed couple dozen of times they will have to quit. If they even dare to try at all.
Bases, population, client state and energy interests are in the bag.
Shia Crescent project (I will have to Google that thing in more detail) is for all points and purposes dead. But that is Iranian problem that does not affect Russia in any way whatsoever. It actually facilitates improvement of relations with Israel (mid east country that can actually be described as competent).
Saudis may get to play in the sand for couple of years but given the fact that oil will be staying below 50$ for decades to come it will be their last game before they inevitably become Ukraine of Arab world.
Agreed on all items.
Russians playing this game cautiously like pros. The good real estate is theirs (coast). Kurds will find themselves fighting Turks for everyone in the north and Iran/Assad will come to realise how they failed to make a difference all these years. With the main failure being their inability to create even a couple of proper, brigade-sized formations that can make a difference anywhere in this war. Battalion-sized militias of irregulars is the best they could do. The cherry on the top for Russians is Palmyra, they positioned themselves right bang in the middle of the country, while everyone else (Coalition, FSA, turco-FSA, AQ, AQ-lite, IS, etc.) is stuck in a humongous quagmire. Be it in Aleppo or elsewhere.