Again, quite openly and brazenly. And after Czar Vlad told Sixty Minutes just a week ago that he had no intention of doing so, too.
Gee, I wonder what could have brought about this abrupt "change of heart"?:
The latest U.S. assessment of Moscow’s activity in western Syria indicates Russia has moved ....ground combat weapons and troops into the area to potentially back up Syrian forces in the field planning to attack [ISIS and other jihadist forces], according to two U.S. defense officials…
The equipment includes....artillery, as well as....BM-30 multiple-launch rocket systems — all considered to be highly accurate weapons. The latter is capable of rapid-fire rocket launches…
The officials also said that Russia has moved electronic jamming equipment into Syria. Both a truck-mounted system and a number of pods that can go on aircraft have been observed. This could potentially give the Russians the ability to jam electronics of [U.S.] aircraft. [emphasis added]
It's a lot more than just "potentially". Unless ISIS and al Qaeda and their affiliates have gained an air force when we weren't looking, there's no other logical purpose for that jamming equipment than to blind our "pinprick" air sorties. And I cannot imagine that Putin would order such preparations and deployments unless he anticipated direct military conflict with the United States in Syria and Iraq, something that suggests in turn his ultimate intentions and ambitions in that region.
It's kind of bringing Ezekiel 38 to life, isn't it?
In short, propping up Boy Assad is just the pretext for the Russian conquest of the Middle East. Although Moscow isn't scrimping on the former:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent in the feared Spetsnaz special forces to protect the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, British newspaper the Mirror reports.
The Spetsnaz units are prepping to eradicate....Islamic State (ISIS) fighters.
"Putin's marines are there to guard the airbases they are using against sabotage by 'rebels'," a military source told the Mirror. "But Spetsnaz and air-assault troops are not there to provide security to static objects, they are extremely aggressive and highly trained. They are there to mop up after air strikes, call in air strikes, go on extremely covert missions against 'rebels' and ultimately wipe them out."
"They are there for one reason, to wipe out anyone threatening Assad. By any means," the source said. "And by doing that they will be consolidating Russia's position on the Med[iterranean Sea] and in the Middle East." [emphasis added]
This is why Barack Obama's suggestion that Putin is getting his country into a "quagmire" in Syria and Iraq is such a joke. "Quagmires" only happen when military interventions are carried out in an uncommitted, half-hearted fashion where there isn't the will to do what is necessary to win. Does Vladimir Putin strike any of you as remotely likely to be hesitant about the ruthlessness necessary to attain his objectives in the Middle East? As one of Murphy's Laws states, "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."
And never, ever forget, folks: The Russians now control Syria at Barack Obama's engraved invitation. And yet The One's supreme narcissism cannot see Putin acting in any way, shape, or form differently than he himself would.
But it's not like Vlad is paying any attention to O anymore, anyway. And what would be required to reacquire his undivided attention is a capability the latter has ensured that we no longer possess.
Exit question: In accordance with Ezekiel 38 above, how long until the Russians are knocking on Bibi Netanyahu's door?