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Delusions of victory.

Summary: History has shown that armies that involve themselves in the internal conflicts of other countries more often than not end up caught in a quagmire from which they can't extricate themselves.

History has shown that armies that involve themselves in the internal conflicts of other countries more often than not end up caught in a quagmire from which they can't extricate themselves. Such was Russia's case in Afghanistan, that of the U.S. in Vietnam, and later in Iraq.

Today Vladimir Putin has jumped headfirst into such a situation in Syria, a move made more ominous by the fact that in the weeks leading up to his campaign he was preaching peace and diplomacy, which was clearly a smokescreen for his true goal: to side with Bashar Assad in the conflict, fully aware of that the U.S. is at a loss regarding its own stances.

In his quest Putin has shown the Russians his resolve, even under the weight of sanctions and an ailing economy, and more importantly he has shown that all the world's rhetoric is nothing but hot air. He, on the other hand, has the intention, the motivation and the means, and has abused them all with total impunity to pursue his goals.

While there's no question that Putin's goal is to get Assad out of intensive care, the reality is that the best he can do for the Syrian leader is to get him into a normal hospital bed. Underscoring this is the fact that the Syrian army, awakened from its coma by the sounds of the Russian bombardment, has since achieved zero gains.

Whether they achieve anything remains to be seen, but what is clear is that Putin's actions can only prolong the conflict and the suffering.

It's not too late to reflect on similar past experiences and to redirect that drive into a more positive direction. As it stands, the losses will far outweigh the gains, and if nothing else alienate some 90 percent of the world's Muslim population.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Oct 9, 2015
Words:353
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