Western analysts have been at pains to discern Russia’s ‘real aims’ in Syria. But the best explanation probably remains the simplest: the preservation of the existing Syrian state and its institutions in pursuit of a political settlement that limits the amount of Syrian territory under permanent Islamist control.
This was the point Russian President Vladimir Putin made in an interview on Russian television on Sunday night. ‘Our mission’, he said, ‘is to stabilise the legitimate authorities and create the conditions for a political compromise.’
Note the phrase, ‘political compromise’. It appeared repeatedly on the lips of those I met in Moscow …read more