Destinations Magazine

A New Spectacle for the Masses

By Stizzard
A new spectacle for the masses

IF HIS intent was to draw attention to his military muscle, he certainly succeeded. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, became the first leader in the Kremlin since Leonid Brezhnev, who invaded Afghanistan in 1979, to send military aircraft on bombing missions outside the territory of the former Soviet Union. On September 30th, Russian jets began a targeted campaign in parts of Syria held by rebels in order to prop up the beleaguered regime of Bashar al-Assad, a Russian client.

Not since the Boxer rebellion in 1900 have Russian forces fought in such proximity to American ones. In Kosovo they came close. In Syria they share the same skies: America is attacking the jihadists of Islamic State (IS); Russia says it wants to strike IS but has in fact started by attacking other Sunni rebels (including some who have received American weapons) who pose a more direct threat to Mr Assad.

Mr Putin has ruled out the use of ground forces in Syria, for fear of awakening painful memories of the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan. But by deploying jets and air-defence systems, Russia is complicating Western operations in Syria. France this month joined America in the…

The Economist: Europe

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