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Syria-Iraq: Putin´s increasing power in the region, while U.S. is isolated and in dangerous situation.

Photo Victor0220/August/2016- By Victor Bjorgan.- The recent attack of Syrian government aircraft against Kurdish positions, made near where the US special forces operate, shows the increasing isolation and the difficult situation of the United States in the region.

Since the attempted coup, Turkey has been cooling its relationship with the US, as President Erdogan has flirted with Russia.

Ultimately, it is Moscow, not the U.S., that has built a leading position in the region.

Russia helps their Syrian ally, while they get nearer to Erdogan and neutralizes Turkey. Turkey trying to get rid of the Kurds from the Syrian border, and if so the US will see their most credible ally weakened on the field . The Russians also used the Iranian military bases , used to fly over Iraq and thus bombard the Assad´s opposition. However, a few days after this new development, Iran decided to revoked their decision, and Russia is no longer allowed to use the Iranian military bases.

US is now in a dangerous situation because it has a few hundred special forces in the region, but due to current situation they could be forced to make an important decision: or deepen their involvement in the conflict, or withdraw its special forces to prevent a greater evil.

In the long run, it is a difficult art for the U.S. to lead in the region just by using drones and Air Force without a massive presence of troops on the ground. In a short period it can work, specially if a major actor like Russia is not there, but it does not work in the current situation.

In defense of his geopolitical interests, Putin has acted with sagacity and has been achieving an increasing isolation of the US in the region. The reaction of the U.S. Department of State is to invite Russia to return to the negotiation table, which is OK, but Putin does not appear to be very interested in it.

The current process helps to strengthen Putin´s aspirations for political continuity as top leader in Russia.

If we compare the current regional situation to a chessboard, I’d say Putin is constantly on the offensive, leading the U.S. to a corner and a situation of great danger, possibly a regional checkmate.

It occurs to me that Putin´s next step, there is a small chance but it can happen,  would  be for Russia to militarily assist the Iraqi army and its Shiite pro-Iranian militias to retake the city of Mosul.  Without U.S. intervention.

That possibility exists, and would mean not only a geopolitical beating of U.S. regional interests, but also a political defeat of the U.S. Democratic government, just a few weeks before the election.

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Image credit to hebrewnationonline.com

Image credit to hebrewnationonline.com

The Pentagon warned Syria on Friday not to conduct air strikes near its own forces in the country a day after it scrambled jets to defend against attacks by Syrian government aircraft.

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