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Former Italian Chief of Staff General Arpino: Only Obama Can Believe that the Russians Are Losing

Jan. 8, 2016 (EIRNS)—Italian Air Force Gen. Mario Arpino, former Chief of General Staff and commander of the Italian Air Force contingent in the Iraq War, wrote an article Jan. 6 for Affari Internazionali, the publication of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), saying that what military experts see in Syria is quite different from the propaganda spread by the White House.

"If Barack Obama thinks Putin is dragging Russia into a future Syrian quagmire, the image striking the eyes of experts—which evidence is privately also shared by government and NATO officials—appears, at least at the moment, to be quite different.

"The mission is militarily well organized, powered with efficient means and related systems of command and control and operates along well-defined tactical objectives. Also the strategy is well in line with the long-term objectives just announced by Vladimir Putin with his new national strategic plan: ’...Russia’s priority is to confirm its status as a top-level global power.’ Thus, no pull back. The reference to Ukraine and Syria is rather clear."

However, Arpino says, since in the face of operational reality "no plan has ever proven to be really valid," it is likely that Russia is aware that, in the long term, only an air-plus-ground deployment will be successful in Syria; this means proxies and Special Forces.

Arpino goes through some details to show how Russia’s military presence has been steadily incremented and how Assad’s forces are slowly, but clearly advancing. He also quotes analysts interviewed in the Moscow Times Yury Barmin and Vladimir Frolov.

"Meanwhile, unconfirmed rumors are circulating, on the presence of Russian T-90 tanks well beyond the borders of the Latakia area, where they had been deployed to defend the base. This does not mean that Moscow is already intervening directly on the ground, but makes it evident that the air campaign ’accompanying’ the ground battle by the Assad and supporting forces will keep expanding in the future.

"This means that the Russians do not plan, either now or in the future, any exit strategy. It looks like a one-way ticket.

"Barack Obama, however, believes that through this continuous increment and expansion, Russia will end up locking itself into an Afghanistan-type scenario. Nobody can exclude that. But at the moment it looks like the only one convinced of that would be him."

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