Rawlinsview, September 10, 2013
The map below shows the location of Tartus in relationship to Beiruit, Bagdad, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Cyprus, Aleppo and Homs
for Background See Syria, America and Putin’s Bluff http://shar.es/i58Ek via @stratfor
In fact, Russia remains a shadow of what the Soviet Union was. Its economy is heavily focused on energy exports and depends on high prices it cannot control. Outside Moscow and St. Petersburg, life remains hard and life expectancy short. Militarily, it cannot possibly match the United States. But at this moment in history, with the United States withdrawing from deep involvement in the Muslim world, and with the Europeans in institutional disarray, it exerts a level of power in excess of its real capacity. The Russians have been playing their own bluff, and this bluff helps domestically by creating a sense that, despite its problems, Russia has returned to greatness.