- The Telegraph article (04 Sep 2015) – Vladimir Putin confirms Russian military involvement in Syria’s civil war:
Russia controls a naval facility in Tartus (western coast of Syria) that they have used for years and located in a valuable strategic position, as is Syria itself.
Russia has maintained political and financial relations with Syria for decades before the 2011 protests. For these reasons alone but I’m sure many more, the Russians weren’t going anywhere.
For these reasons but I’m sure many more also, the US and its allies want Assad out and replace Russia’s influence with their own. This would join up US influence in the region with Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia making a massive problem to the immediate west of Iran.
Which is why Iran has been equally as supportive of Assad as Russia is. Yes the Shi’a / Sunny divide is probably the main driver for Iran, but strategic interests and influence in the region is a very close second with both inextricably linked.
Iran is also assisting the Houthi’s in Yemen which gives them an opening south of Saudi Arabia. I imagine they are happy with the ISAF failure in Afghanistan as this is directly on their eastern border.
From the start all sides have fueled this conflict, from neighbouring countries all the way up to the main super powers in support of their own national interests.