Does it seem a little odd to y'all that the Russians are deploying so many different weapons to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria? Ground forces - tanks, infantry, artillery - make sense if Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus is to be defended, and air power is always needed by ground forces, in addition to destroying enemy ground targets.
But cruise missile strikes from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea? Seems like overkill, doesn't it? Sure, ISIS controls territory in Iraq and Syria alone that exceeds that of Great Britain, but do they really have that much in entrenched infrastructure targets that would necessitate that level of ordinance?
And now Vlad is getting his nuclear submarines into the act as well:
Russia flexed its military muscles on Tuesday as it launched strikes in Syria for the first time from a submarine stationed in the Mediterranean, ratcheting up its bombing campaign in the war-torn country.
Moscow's latest strikes have hit "three hundred targets of different kinds" in the past three days and helped Syrian special forces recover the black box of the Russian warplane downed by Turkey last month, defence minister Sergei Shoigu said.
"We used Calibre cruise missiles from the (Kilo-class) Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea," Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during an encounter broadcast on state television.
"As a result of the successful launches by the aviation and submarine fleet, all targets were destroyed," Shoigu said, adding that oil infrastructure, ammunition depots and a mine-making factory had been hit in the strikes.
"The Calibre cruise missile once again showed its effectiveness over long distances."
It almost sounds like Shoigu is a salesman taking Putin out for a test drive in a late model Chrysler, doesn't it? Or Tony Stark showing off his Jericho missiles in Afghanistan in Iron Man I. You could almost be convinced that the massive Russian deployment of multifaceted firepower isn't primarily about propping up Boy Assad as much as it is testing the newest generation of Russian weaponry and sending a message to the U.S. and its allies in the process of what they'll be up against in the very near future. To say nothing of gaining a forward base in the Middle East from which to project Russian military power and political influence throughout the region.
If you were still wondering why the Turks are so hair-trigger-happy, given that they're facing Moscow on two sides, there's your answer. Assad and ISIS are pretty clearly just pretexts.
An assertion that Czar Vlad seemed to go out of his way to underscore with this comment:
Putin said Tuesday that the Calibre missiles launched from the submarine could be equipped with nuclear warheads - but said he hoped they would "never be needed in the fight against terrorism". [emphasis added]
But could very well be needed to attack NATO, and therefore, the United States. Has anybody asked Vlad the elasticity of his definition of "terrorism"? Because I'm guessing the Turks' downing of his MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-24 Fencer qualifies:
But Putin warned that no black box findings could assuage Moscow's anger at Ankara downing of the jet, which left one of its pilots dead. Another Russian serviceman was killed in the rescue operation.
"Whatever we learn (from the black box) won't change our attitude to what the Turkish authorities did," the Russian strongman said.
"We used to treat Turkey not only as our friend but also as an ally in the fight against terrorism, and nobody expected this low, treacherous stab in the back."
You just get the feeling that a fuse has already been lit, and the only question is when the whole region blows up, don't you?
Boy, I can't wait to hear that "historic" Obama speech.