Russian President Vladimir Putin made a bold move Wednesday to take over from the United States as the dominant power in the Middle East by launching airstrikes in the Syrian civil war.
And he leader literally told the United States to get of his way as the Russian bombing missions began.
According to USA Today, a Russian official walked into the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and gave one hour’s notice for the U.S. to get its aircraft out of Syrian airspace before the strikes began, an order the U.S. refused to obey.
American officials said they did not know yet whether the airstrikes actually targeted ISIS forces, as Russia claims, or U.S. backed rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Russia supports.
The strikes occurred around the city of Homs, where anti-regime forces are known to be, while ISIS forces are generally not.
A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the strikes were targeted “against positions held by the Islamic State in Syrian territory,” the Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would have “grave concerns” if the strikes were carries out against the rebels rather than ISIS.
Seven years after the famous Obama-Hillary Clinton “reset” with Russia, and three years after Obama mocked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for maintaining Russia was the most dangerous geopolitical foe of the United States, it doesn’t look like Putin cares much what concerns Kerry or Obama.
Maybe those Norwegians gave the peace prize to the wrong guy.