My latest at the National Interest looks at five tools of statecraft that the Russians can use to accomplish their aims in Syria:
It’s difficult to avoid the feeling that Russia and the Assad regime are simply treading water, trying to maintain what they hold instead of making serious inroads against either ISIS or the “moderate” Syrian rebel factions. Russia’s major losses thus far include a civilian jetliner, destroyed by an ISIS bomb, and a Su-24 Fencer, shot down by Turkish F-16s. Syrian government forces have lost numerous ground combat vehicles in attacks against well-armed, prepared rebel factions.
Now it looks as if Russia wants to step up its intervention. What do the Russians need to do in order to turn things around and win this war? Here are five capabilities that Russia needs to commit to the fight in order to save the Assad regime: