“The board is set . . . the pieces are moving.” -Gandalf, Lord the Rings: The Return of the King
According to The New York Times and FT, in addition to nine T-90 tanks and more than 500 marines for possible ground attacks, Russia is building up its air base near the port city of Latakia in Syria with some of its most advanced ground attack planes and fighter jets, and 2,000 troops as the “first phase” of its mission to shore up the Assad government. The planes are protected by at least two or possibly three SA-22 surface-to-air, antiaircraft systems, and unarmed Predator-like surveillance drones are being used to fly reconnaissance missions.
Now, China is entering the fray.
The pro-Assad Al-Masdar (The Arab Source) reports on Sept. 23, 2015:
[T]he Russians appear to have a contingency that involves another world power that was absent from the U.S. led Anti-ISIS Coalition: China.
Despite all of this, Russia and the U.S. appear to be at it again; however, this is no space or arms race, they are actively flexing their muscles through their proxies (U.S.: rebels and Russia: Syrian Army).
ZeroHedge reminds us that it is not as if China had not given sufficient warning: “This comes two years after China warned that turmoil in Syria could have negative implications for the global economy and 18 months after Beijing, along with Moscow, used their security council vetoes to undercut a UN resolution calling for the crisis in Syria to be referred to the Hague.”
Meanwhile,The Wall Street Journalreports on Sept. 21 that “Russia and Iran have stepped up coordination inside Syriaas they move to safeguard President Bashar al-Assad’s control over his coastal stronghold, according to officials in the U.S. and Middle East, creating a new complication for Washington’s diplomatic goals.” READ FULL ARTICLE