Russia moves into Syria


A Russian armored assault unit located just inside the Syrian border.

Bobby Wynn '16, Staff Writer

Russia and America have always been at odds with each other. This is nothing new to anyone, especially true within recent years. President Obama and Russian President Putin seem to have been at odds with each other since President Obama’s reelection, and much of the issue involves trying to get our claimed-ally Russia to join in the fight against ISIS.

Recently, President Putin has agreed on paper to join the fight, but his actions challenge his motives. Russia has bombed a military base not occupied by ISIS soldiers, but by Syrian rebels, the same exact rebels the United States has been working to aid and train. The claim was made that Russia believed it to be an ISIS base, so it decided to attack. Yet, this claim seems false because it was known by the Syrian government who was based there, and the Syrian government is backed by the Russians.

An ISIS compound in Syria that was claimed to be the target of the Russian bombing over 50 miles away from the attack site.
An ISIS compound in Syria that was claimed to be the target of the Russian bombing over 50 miles away from the attack site.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has had the support of the Russian government for years now, and Russia has done whatever it can to keep Assad in charge. For over 50 years, Americans have tried to eliminate Russian influence in the Middle East, and so far nothing has come out it seems.

America has been trying to aid Syrian rebels for years now and has sent in military officers to train the rebels, and even sent in air strikes to try and combat Assad’s tyranny. Russia has had a long-term interest in Syria, and the bombings have been a serious issue for Russia. Putin, in the eyes of many American political analysts, used the ISIS attack as a way to get back at America for getting involved into Syria without Russia’s consent.

Assad has often been accused of funding ISIS as well, which causes much controversy over if Russia even considers ISIS a threat. Many of Syrians actions have been backed by Russian influence, so who’s to say if Russia is supporting ISIS or not?

The fight with ISIS should be a number one concern for countries all over the world. They are the most extreme radicals the world has seen in recent years and are a threat to everyone. Russia considers itself a Christian nation, which is a major reason ISIS attacks people. For some reason, Russia deems the threat to Assad’s regime as more important than the reign of tyranny ISIS has over the Middle East.

Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad at a meeting
Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad at a meeting

Elder student Mitchell Westerkamp thought the exact same thing. “ISIS is a number one priority to the U.S.,” Mitchell said. “They clearly bombed the wrong people for their benefit. Putin was helping Assad, not the Americans.”

Mitchell went on to saying that if Syria fell, the Russia would have no hold in the Middle East, which is what gives Russia an advantage over the United States in this region. If Assad fell, there would be more instability according to Putin, so he’s trying to prevent another situation like Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

To make everything more skeptical, Russia has demanded access to American intelligence regarding ISIS. On paper, this seems like a legitimate request. In order to combat ISIS it would make sense to give information to those who are looking to help the effort. However, Russia’s actions do not show interest in stopping the ISIS threat. Trusting Russia with our intelligence on our greatest enemy when Russia’s allegiance is in question is a no-brainer. Russia should not be allowed our intelligence when we don’t even know for sure whose side they are on.

The Cold War may have ended, but the tension between Americans and Russians is still present. Trusting Russia is something the American government cannot do given the circumstances so far with our fight against ISIS. Russia is not our number one enemy, but the potential for an increase of violence between the two nations is much greater today than in previous years. No one knows what will happen between America and Russia, but so far it does not seem like it is going to go well.