Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Putin's Bluster

As Russia and Europe slowly make inroads against ISIS this week Vladimir Putin demonstrated why he is a force to be reckoned with. During a meeting with the Russian Defence Minister, Sergey Shoigu, Putin was captured stating,

“We must analyze everything happening on the battlefield, how the weapons operate. The Kalibrs (sea based cruise missiles) and KH-101 (airborne cruise missile) have proved to be modern and highly effective, and now we know it for sure - precision weapons that can be equipped with both conventional and special warheads, which are nuclear,” Putin said.

“Naturally, this is not necessary when fighting terrorists and, I hope, will never be needed,” the president added.

Reality or Just Machismo

The question on everyone mind was; Is Putin serious? Certainly as the war against ISIS continues, it is routine for weaponry to be analysed, but rarely will this be done on camera for all to see. Putin’s meeting with the Defence Minister was recorded live before an audience of journalists, like a piece of well choreographed theatre. So it is possible that this was merely fear mongering against ISIS, or was it for another audience entirely?

According to Natalia Antonova from the International Business Times, Putin’s casual dropping of the nuclear option was more about cultivating Russia’s image as a superpower at home and abroad. Currently Russia is in the trenches of an economic depression with poverty and inflation on the rise, so in utilising these old methods of redirection Putin is attempting to divert attention away from the domestic crises and install a renewed sense of nationalism. Furthermore, by demonstrating a calm decisiveness with his weapons of last resort, Putin appeals to the demagogues at home and abroad seeking to find a new superpower who can deal with the pressing threat posed by ISIS more quickly than the measured American led alliance.

Ending Isis

But while all this bluster may further cultivate Putin’s macho image, in reality Russia has never utilised its nuclear arsenal on an enemy at home or abroad and, given the international co-operation on ISIS, it is highly unlikely that it will utilise these weapons.

Rather, ending ISIS‘s reign of terror will be done through a good old-fashion siege. Currently Global Research reports that ISIS’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq are able to utilise permeable borders in countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to support their regime. Germany’s international broadcaster Duetsche Weller supported this claim with a recently released article that contained a video that comprehensively demonstrated that ISIS is not surviving off black market oil exchanges or hostage ransoms. Instead it appears that ISIS is utilising support groups from inside countries like the Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey to facilitate all its needs.

This is where the problem in destroying ISIS lies. To completely starve ISIS out, the NATO powers are going to have to secure all the borders around Iraq and Syria in a concerted effort. This means that current tensions between the opposing states of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey would have to be overcome. They would then have to join forces and allow each other access to borders and share military information and data in a show of goodwill. However without this cooperation on all fronts ISIS will be able to play a game of cat and mouse exhausting all those who try to end its existence.

This appeared as 'Did Putin just put the world on Notice?' in The Vision Times In Focus Section on
Dec 14 2015


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