First, let's get a couple of niggling little items out of the way: 1) The U.S. does not "own" the Middle East, including Syria, 2) The U.S. has no sphere of influence in the Middle East apart from trying to grab as much of its oil as it can to supplement its own fracked oil, 3) The U.S. is not an "exceptional" nation - other than perhaps having a certain middle-aged demographic dying before its time.
I write all this as a preface to what is likely about to unfold, if - as many fear - the diabolical bombing of the Russian Metrojet Airbus - killing all 224 on board -- turns out to be proven by spectrographic analysis of some of the residue on the wreckage. Right now Vladimir Putin and the Russians are just biding their time, and also waiting for 79,000 still stranded Russian tourists and others to be transported out of harm's way at the Sharm-el-Sheikh airport and the Sinai Peninsula.
But after all that, and proving the bombing was done by an ISIS adjunct, watch out - because Russian ground troops will be dispatched into Syria to wipe these vermin out and I estimate the number to be at least 100,000. Further, Vladimir Putin knows he has to do this to vindicate his nation's honor as well as to exact retribution for the hundreds of lives lost - the most since 9/11. Oh, one more thing, those ground troops will not make any distinction with "moderate rebels" - which Putin and most of the Free world knows is a fantasy - any more than he's doing now with the bombing.
The "moderate rebels" theme is a bunch of horse pockey cooked up by the Obama State Dept. and U.S. security interests as daft and egregious in its own way as the "Oswald worked for the KGB" fantasies that were spewed out in certain quarters after the assassination of JFK. (And which diligent researchers like Peter Dale Scott, James Di Eugenio and John Newman proved were untrue.. )
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D- Hawaii), appearing on Bill Maher's 'Real Time' two weeks ago, nailed it when she skewered the notion of "moderate Syrian rebels", telling Bill:
"And these groups, all of them, they go by all these different names and they always change their names. But what is at the heart of each of them that same (jihadi) ideology. They're all working towards the same goal but in slightly different manners. And they're projecting it very clearly. What their goal is - it's not like they're trying to hide it. "
This was all in the context of accurately identifying our enemies starting - but not ending - with ISIS. Thus, Gabbard's point is that we can't trust any of those posing as "moderates" to advance any of our interests because they are all working to gain power - to overthrow Assad - like the U.S. and Bushies helped do in Iraq (with Saddam) to later pave the way for al Qaeda and ISIS.
As Bill also pointed out at the end, Americans have to understand it's not "good against bad" but "bad against less bad" - which is why as I noted before, the U.S. needs to cooperate with Russia to go after all these bottom feeders, e.g.
Indeed, there may be little or no choice, if as I predict, Putin does send Russian ground troops into Syria to root out the vermin and exterminate them. What? Will the U.S. fight them to preserve its own imagined interests? I seriously doubt it because Obama isn't fool enough to risk WWIII , nor (I hope) is Defense Secretary Ash Carter, now making noises in various venues about "standing up to Russia". No, dunderhead, you and the Russians have to stand up to ISIS! Stop this foolish meme about "moderate rebels" cooked up in some back rooms at the State Dept. and Pentagon.
Today, Russian inspectors are now at Sharm-el-Sheikh, examining security at the airport as reported this a.m. on CBS. They will be looking especially at how that security may have been breached, i.e. by an Egyptian baggage handler putting the bomb on board in luggage - or attached to luggage put in the cargo hold.
Make no mistake that Putin will not let it go at the point of evacuating all Russian citizens - he will then exact serious vengeance and he knows by now the only way will be to send in enough ground forces to snuff out all the jihadist bugs. According to former CIA Director.Michael Morrell :
"Putin's reaction is to go after ISIS in a very big way. To show them the costs of doing this to his country."
The best thing the U.S. can do? Stay the hell out of the way and let Putin launch the cleanup operations the U.S. wouldn't.