Syria: As the West dithers, Putin makes his move

Telegraph View: Sadly, allowing Assad to remain in power may be the least worst option for the world

Nothing better illustrates the utter vacuity that exists at the heart of Government policy-making over the vexed issue of Syria than its inability to respond to the significant challenge posed by President Putin’s military intervention in support of the Syrian regime. As we have seen in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Mr Putin is not shy about using military force when it suits his geo-political agenda. And with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime reportedly on the brink of collapse, the Russian leader has clearly decided that the deployment of Russian warplanes and armoured vehicles is vital to prevent the Syrian capital falling into the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants, with all the implications that would have for the region.

Russia’s dramatic intervention in the conflict, with Mr Putin threatening to launch air strikes against Isil within days, will certainly come as a wake-up call to those Western nations, such as Britain, whose half-hearted response to the Syrian crisis over the past two years has only resulted in Isil strengthening its position. This week is the first anniversary of a US-led coalition’s air offensive against Isil, in which the RAF is the second-largest component, but the military campaign has only resulted in Isil acquiring more territory and more fighters than it had this time last year. Moreover, the fact that Mr Putin feels able to embark on a fresh military adventure when the global condemnation of his actions in Ukraine have not abated demonstrates that, in the absence of firm Western leadership, he is more than happy to fill the vacuum.

Full article: Syria: As the West dithers, Putin makes his move (The Telegraph)

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