Putin rolls the dice in Syria
by Richard Lourie
September 19, 2013 | 1:30PM ET

Commentary: Kremlin'€™s initial audacity paid off big, but the game in Syria is very chancy and far from overFor Russian President Vladimir Putin, success in Syria involves multiple components. He wants Russia to re-emerge as a player of importance in the Middle East, a goal he already seems to have attained. He wants to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power and see Islamist rebels defeated. He wants to see Syria's chemical weapons accounted for and destroyed. He wants tensions to remain high in the region, which keeps the price of oil up. And he wants to humiliate, or at least humble, President Barack Obama.

Putin is old-fashioned enough for Russia's greatness to matter to him. He does not want to be the captain of a team that finishes low in the division. The shirtless photo ops are just the outward sign of a type of Slavic machismo that prides itself on being able to endure anything and ultimately emerge victorious.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/...