The Washington Post reports: When you are a major nuclear power and you want to make a secretive deployment to a faraway ally, what is the first thing you do? Draw up the terms, apparently, and sign a contract.
That’s what the Kremlin did with Syria in August, according to an unusual document posted this week on a Russian government website that details the terms of its aerial support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Among other revelations in the seven-page contract dated Aug. 26, 2015, the Kremlin has made an open-ended time commitment to its military deployment in Syria, and either side can terminate it with a year’s notice.
Russian military personnel and shipments can pass in and out of Syria at will and aren’t subject to controls by Syrian authorities, the document says. Syrians can’t enter Russian bases without Russia’s permission. And Russia disclaims any responsibility for damage caused by its activities inside Syria. Since Russia’s bombing campaign started at the end of September, Assad’s forces have been able to recapture some territory from rebels, and much of the humanitarian aid to the country has come to a halt. A war that already looked intractable now seems more so. [Continue reading…]