Russia is a longtime supporter of the Assad regime in Syria, but lately the flow of military aid from Russia to Syria has been on the rise. Apparently this has given rise to scuttlebutt that Vladimir Putin may be hoping to lure the US into a joint effort to fight ISIS:
Observers in Moscow say the Russian maneuvering could be part of a plan to send troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State group in the hope of fixing fractured ties with the West….By playing with the possibility of joining the anti-IS coalition, Putin may hope to win a few key concessions. His main goal: the lifting of Western sanctions and the normalization of relations with the United States and the European Union, which have sunk to their lowest point since the Cold War amid the Ukrainian crisis.
….Sergei Karaganov, the founder of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a leading association of Russian political experts, said that Russia was considering the possibility of joining the anti-IS coalition, but the West so far has been unwelcoming. “They are reluctant to accept proposals from Putin, whom they want to contain,” he said.
Karaganov, who has good connections among the Russian officials, said he doesn’t expect Russia to opt for unilateral military action in Syria if it gets the cold shoulder from the U.S. and its allies. “It would involve enormous risks,” he said.
This sounds mighty weird. Even Putin can’t seriously imagine that the US and Iraq would join a Putin-Assad alliance, no matter what its goal is. I wonder what’s really going on here?