Mesop Arguments & Analysis : “Russia is in Charge of Syria: How Moscow Took Control of the Battlefield & Negotiating Table” (Sam Heller, War on the Rocks)


“Russia has used its military primacy to oblige others — including the United States — to treat it as the gatekeeper to a negotiated solution to the conflict. But not all is well for the Kremlin. Russia finds itself in the middle of a war that seems impossible to resolve military or politically — on Moscow’s terms or anyone else’s. Russia is invested heavily in a political process that, thanks to uncooperative Syrians on all sides of the war, seems unlikely to succeed. Yet Russia also appears convinced that a purely military victory by the regime is impossible. Now, with negotiations stalling, Moscow must grapple with how to deliver ‘success’ in Syria. Russia has used its intervention in Syria to reshape the military and political contest for control of Syria and to deliberately constrict the space for countervailing American action. The idea that America can menace Russia’s regime partner in Syria unilaterally and without consequences is an unreal one. And unless America is willing to risk a dangerous and unpredictable confrontation with Russia, the course of Syria’s war hinges on what Russia does next.” Read full text