Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd: Trump’s airstrikes change nothing for Russia in Syria — and here’s why
A former CIA counterterrorism official doesn’t think the Russians will be particularly impressed by the U.S. bombing of Syrian airfields.
Phil Mudd, a former CIA official and current CNN analyst, said Wednesday morning on “New Day” that President Donald Trump’s authorization of airstrikes will change anything in Russia’s long-term efforts to establish a base in Syria.
“The Russians are better at the art of the long view than the Americans,” Mudd said. “Let me tell you why I think this is just the first move from a chess board that I don’t think is significant unless there are further moves.”
He said Russian forces had been battling in Syria for years, while the U.S. has logged “fewer than five minutes in airstrikes.”
“If I’m Vladimir Putin, in this tough world, I’m saying, ‘If that’s the price I’ve got to pay for a foothold in Syria, not a big price,'” Mudd said.
He said Russia would likely sit back and wait for the U.S. to lose interest.
“There are other questions the Russians will ask, (such as) will you initiate no-fly zones for Syrian civilians, will you strike other targets, including other air force targets and regime targets, will you commit to changing the Assad regime and try to bring in other players — for example, the Turks and Iraqis — to change the regime?” Mudd said.
“I’m going to bet the Russians are going to say the Americans are short-term, they staged some relatively small strikes against one airfield, but they don’t want in this game after what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the Russians gamble we will once again step away,” Mudd continued. “Interesting step for Friday, (but) I don’t think it’s a huge step for the future unless we follow up.”