While Obama Administration officials initially were outspoken about predicting a quick, disastrous failure for the Russian war against ISIS in Syria, US officials are now saying their assessment is that Russia is achieving its goals in the conflict.
This is an incredible admission for US officials, even if given anonymously, as Russia’s only been engaged in the war for three months. Administration officials now believe the Assad government is in a “indisputable” safer position because of Russia’s involvement.
Beyond that, the officials say, Russia is keeping the costs of their military involvement relatively low, and it likely can be sustained indefinitely at a cost of $1-$2 billion annually. With minimal casualties, Russia could keep this going a long time.
The officials also say they believe Russia’s involvement was designed in part to allow them to test new weapons in battlefield conditions, and that this means the military is seeing “benefits” from the conflict for the cost.