How did FM Larvov make that catastrophic decision to fan the Iranian fires of the Shiite juggernaut? Lavrov made two fatal errors. First, Lavrov thought he was Foreign Minister of the waxing Soviet Union Empire instead of Foreign Minister of the waning Russian Republic. Second, thinking he was the FM of the Soviet Union, Lavrov mistakenly worked forward and thought of expanding his non-existent Soviet empire using infinite resources that do not exist anymore. Lavrov should have first asked himself where the absolute red line marking the strategic interests of the meagre Russian Republic is ,and then worked backwards from there.
What was, and is, Russia’s one and only red-line strategic interest in the eastern Mediterranean? The answer is the trans-Greece-Cyprus Christian Eastern Orthodox arc. Why? Because practically, Cyprus/Greece is the Russian Oligarchs’ “back-door” to the EU’s financial system, and to the EU itself. Russia shares a deep religious and political synergy with Greece. So, it’s a natural relationship.
Strategically, the Greece-Cyprus topological Mediterranean Sea arc protects Russia’s Black Sea access through Turkey’s Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. If there was an Ottoman Turkish military putsch through Cyprus and over the Greek Aegean islands, all bets would be off for the status of the Montreux Convention regarding Russia’s legal passage through the Turkish Straits. A Greek Orthodox strategic Mediterranean collapse would be the ultimate strategic and irreversible failure of the Russian Republic.
So working backwards from the singular strategic goal of protecting the Greek Orthodox Greece/Cyprus Mediterranean arc, Russia’s best strategic action would have been to allow a splintered shattered Syria with neither Turkey nor Iran in an entrenched enhanced position. And as a corollary, Russia needs Israel as the absolute and overwhelming Eastern Mediterranean military power acting as the in situ order of battle and quietly protecting Israel’s Levant Basin gas-partner, Greek Cyprus.
Predictably, what hath FM Lavrov wrought to Putin and Russia in Syria? The exact opposite of a splintered ineffectual weakened Syria! Russia’s entry into Syria has, to the north, emboldened Turkey into a neo-Ottoman Empire campaign, and to the east, has metastasized Iran into a trans-regional behemoth that laughs at Russia as it commits genocidal war-crimes against the Sunnis.
When one goes to sleep with dogs, one wakes up with fleas. When Lavrov and Putin went to sleep with the genocidal terrorist state of Iran, Lavrov and Putin woke up with war-crime referrals.
In conclusion, Putin and Russia’s best course of action is to allow America and Israel to clean up the mess Lavrov has made of Syria. Lavrov keeps loudly frothing about the importance of the “territorial integrity” of Syria, when he should be quietly enabling the territorial disintegration of Syria.
It is in the best interests of Russia to allow America and Israel to annihilate Iranian and Hezbollah assets in Syria and Lebanon as quickly and completely as they can. Russia’s ultimate strategic interest in protecting Cyprus, and Russia’s access to world banking and the Mediterranean Sea depend on it.