by Hamish de Bretton-Gordon
"It is pretty clear that Putin has wrestled the initiative from the West and is calling all the shots. On the ground he would now appear to be strengthening the Syrian Army with Russian troops and expertise which he should be made to bring to bear now on Isil and not the moderate opposition. However, it is equally clear that unless the international coalition and especially Nato, including the UK, also get involved, the Russian solution will pervade across Syria and Iraq, and Pun’s influence in the Middle East, hitherto the preserve of the US and its Allies, will be dominant.
There is universal agreement that the comprehensive defeat of Isil is in the world’s best interests and that coalition air power alone will not bring this about. Isil's desire for a caliphate and this determination to hold ground is their Achilles' heel, which sets them apart from terror groups like AQ but makes them no match for the sophisticated armies of the West. The 40,000 Isil fighters, fanatical but poorly trained and equipped, currently fighting conventionally, are no match for Western ground forces supported by air power who should be able to defeat Isil militarily in weeks rather than months. It is likely that indigenous ground troops currently opposing Isil will take months if not years to do this if not directly supported by Western "ground power"."