Summer 2016 may go down in geopolitical history of the United States as one of the worst ever recorded strategically and diplomatically speaking. After Russia’s military involvement since September 2015 has been successfully consolidated in situ by its Syrian ally Bashar al-Assad whose troops are progressing although toughly against the Islamic State (ISIS) as against the groups backed by the West, the Russian air force now takes off from Iran to strike targets in Syria with Iraq overflight permission.
Simultaneously emerged in just a few days two more developments potentially damaging to US interests in the Middle East namely the rapprochement initiated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vis-à-vis its Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin while the Chinese military announced it will provide Assad’s forces with aid and training.
Even if the current game on the grand regional chessboard largely depends on the high-skilled Putin’s way of playing, it seems that Michael J. Morell, former acting director of the CIA, explaining that the United States should kill “Russians and Iranians” to put the pressure on Assad has been well heard in the Kremlin, hence perhaps the sudden acceleration from both diplomatic and operational standpoints. In addition to the growing popular suspicion about the “moderate” groups backed by the US and its allies, the latter’s operation window may have significantly shrunk.