New from me at War on the Rocks:
Russia has leveraged its September 2015 military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime to establish itself as the central military actor in Syria’s war. Russia has, in turn, used its military primacy to oblige others — including the United States — to treat it as the gatekeeper to a negotiated solution to the conflict.
But Russia is now invested heavily in a political process that, thanks to uncooperative Syrians on all sides of the war, seems unlikely to pan out, leaving Moscow to grapple with how to deliver “success” in Syria. Unless America is willing to risk a dangerous and unpredictable confrontation with Russia, the course of Syria’s war hinges on what Russia does next.