Kerry gets it backwards on Russian planes in Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry says U.S. military experts believe the Russian planes sent to an air base in Syria are there for basic "force protection," intended to protect Russian soldiers and assets already on the ground.

But Kerry said Tuesday it is still not clear what Russia's long-term intentions are for boosting its military presence in Syria. He said if Russia is looking for a sphere of influence in the Middle East, it is going about it in a very odd way, by backing a Syrian government responsible for atrocities.

"Support for [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad is support for a Shia minority that has dropped barrel bombs on its people, that has gassed his own people, war crimes, that has starved his people, tortured his people," said Kerry.
The Russians actually need troops on the ground to protect the planes and their crews.  Assad has already lost many of its air bases to the rebels. The Russians are working with Iran to try to save their favored despot in the region.  Kerry is one the most naive observer of geopolitical moves by adversaries to hold the job of Secretary of State.  He seems to be constantly surprised by the Russians.


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