On September 30th, 2015 Russia began airstrikes against ISIS and its affiliates in Syria. These strikes were conducted at the request of the Syrian government. Iran followed announcing that they were preparing to send in ground troops
These developments completely change the geopolitical equation, and not just in Syria.
Western politicians and their corporate media lapdogs are obviously not happy about where this is headed, and they have taken to the airwaves in force to voice their condemnation. First they claimed that Russia was hitting "moderate", U.S. backed rebels rather than exclusively focusing on ISIS.
Wait, on September 16th General Lloyd Austin of the US Central Command testified that there were only 4 or 5 U.S. trained fighters in all of Syria, and now these fighters are supposedly in control of an entire region?
This assertion would be absurd enough on its own, but the reality of the matter is that the area in question has been controlled by Al-Nusra, for at least two years. And just so we're clear here, Al-Nusra is Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, and they have direct alliances with ISIS.
Not that this distinction between Al-Nusra and the FSA would really change the equation. The FSA has publicly acknowledged on several occasions that they are cooperating Al-Nusra, and the FSA command itself has been dominated by Islamic extremists since at least 2012.
So if the FSA and Al-Nusra work together and Al-Nusra is working with ISIS, why haven't those funding and arming the FSA been charged with providing material support to terrorists?
But Russia's airstrikes are killing civilians! Look we have proof from the White Helmets (an NGO funded by the U.K. government) That's funny, this image looks an awful lot like this one... which was posted on September 25th, 5 days before the airstrikes even began. That was a bit a problematic, so they deleted the tweet (archived version here), but not before the U.S. and its allies would use the occasion to take their hypocrisy to a new level.
On October 2nd the U.S. issued a joint statement with France, Germany, the U.K., Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar calling for Russia to "immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians.”
Just to put this into perspective, the Saudis have been bombing Yemen (with U.S. support) since March of 2015, killing thousands of civilians, and creating a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.
The irony also seemed to be lost on Washington, who after decades of military occupations and drone campaigns which have killed millions of civilians topped it off by bombing a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan just one day later!
Well this is awkward. What can we do to save face? Hey our friend John McCain has an idea. We should just send our moderate jihadist some more weapons.
So we armed extremists in Afghanistan, which became the Taliban, which we're still bombing (often inaccurately) to this day, and you want to do it again?
This isn't a plan, this is desperation. Washington has been out maneuvered. This turn of events is on par with the 2013 episode where the U.S. backed rebels got caught using sarin gas against civilians. Only now there aren't nearly as many options left.
With Russia providing air support and Iran assisting in the ground campaign, the U.S. no longer has any leverage in Syria, and if Putin is able to maintain momentum this could very well be a turning point regionally as well.
That doesn't mean the game is over though. The U.S. and its allies aren't going to just walk away from this. You can rest assured that Washington is scrambling to cook something up right now, and if the last few years are any indicator, this could get very interesting.