Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 22 December 2016, 16:45 hrs, UTC, Post #58.
Accessed on 22 December 2016, 16:45 hrs, UTC.
Reporters: Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe.
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Despite a continuous aerial campaign, Russian bombers and ground attack aircraft have been unable to fully dislodge Syrian rebels in the city of Aleppo. Further, air attacks from Iranian soil have been “politically-sensitive and ultimately frustrating”, prompting Moscow to develop new strategies for bringing the siege of Aleppo to an end.
According to Reuters reporters Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe, basing Russian attack aircraft in Iran has presented some difficult diplomatic challenges:
“The strikes on the Aleppo rebels seem to have achieved little beyond stirring a political row in Iran, whose constitution forbids the establishment of any kind of foreign military base.
The fact that Russia went to such lengths to achieve its aims in Aleppo and still failed could strengthen the hand of those in Moscow who believe the operation in Syria has reached a watershed, and that it is time to seek a negotiated solution.”
“I get the feeling we’re like a horse at the circus, running around in a circle since Sept. 30 when we first deployed our aircraft there,” said a person close to the Russian defense ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
“Our forces are insufficient, our coordination with the Iranians is not at the required level. We need to change something. What, I don’t know.”
According to intelligence experts, Russia has the military capacity to intensify the raids on Aleppo, but that shift in strategy faces budgetary constraints amid an upcoming parliamentary election in January 2017,
Reporters Tsvetkova and Lowe believe some kind of negotiated settlement between rebels and the Assad government will be more attractive to Kremlin planners.
Russian air power has its limits, and that limit has apparently been reached.
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest