"...publicly align Russia—and by extension Assad—with the United States and Europe in a joint struggle against the Islamic State. That’s exactly where Putin and Assad want to end up."
Brilliant. Then if he really wants to help out his pal Assad he can start blasting all
the rebels and call them AQ/extremists to make double
sure voters in the west dont give a shit and Obama continues to looks impotent on the world stage ("double" sure 'cause the whole thing is too confusing for the hoi polloi to form any kind of consensus for their leaders to act on already, Pulitzer dead toddler pics, farcically disarmed US-backed "moderate" rebels, threatening vs pitiable migrants or otherwise). I bet Putin-Assad could "restore" the entire country back under the regime over the next year and Obama would read his mandate from Americans as "stay out of the sandbox at all costs" the whole time.
...also sounds like the Russkies will be 95% air power + advisors/base personel too (kinda like the start of 'Nam lol ...tho being dragged into patrols then a full war vs VC/NVA is not a good comparison to Putin possibly fielding some serious brigade+ level units on the ground to permanently rout this flux of rebel factions+ISIS...Id posit a big Russian infantry/armor game changer as +improbable...but Putin already proved he can read the west like a book and then make a big bold, yet calculated, gamble in Crimea/E. Ukraine)
Also Putin's flying tigers kinda reminded me of this
He should give his guys a catchy name, lol.