Moscow's Game of Poker...

...Russian Military Intervention in Syria, 2015 - 2017, Helion & Company, via Casemate Books

Title:  Moscpw's Game of Poker

Author: Tom Cooper

Publisher:  Helion and Company

ISBN:  978-1-912390-37-3

A recent paperback format book in their Middle East at War series from Helion Books, and one which tells a story that is still going on. This one takes the story from 2015 and on into 2018.  The book is divided into 7 chapters in addition to the Introduction.  These cover Geo-Strategic Backgrounds; Tools of War; Into Action; March on Aleppo; Decisive Battle; Russian Dominance; and rounded off by a Conclusion.  Added to this are maps, SAM Unit organisations, various data tables, lots of supporting photos and as usual with this series, 7 pages of excellent colour profiles which illustrate a wide variety of Russian aircraft types.

It takes us through the story and how after the rebellion within Syria to overthrow the Assad regime has been steadily worn down, it talks about the varied aspects of equipment that has been used, the role of the Syrian Air Force itself and the involvement of Iranian forces which I was essentially unaware of.  Wider aspects include the political drivers for Russian involvement in the region and how their involvement has effectively stopped foreign support for the anti-Assad faction. Just how effective the Russian intervention has been is open to question, especially in relation to the experience it has provided for Russian military units.

The effects of the war in Syria is considered. With huge numbers of refugees now impacting on Western Europe, creating added pressure on Russia's perceived enemy, the NATO countries, it considers some interesting questions.  There are lots of News stories and plenty of Russian propaganda that all add to the mix. Unrest in the Middle East has occupied the minds and attention of many Western countries over many years so the question of how effective the Russians hope to be is an open question mark.

This is an interesting, and indeed ongoing, topic, with stories of the refugees still a regular feature of TV news.  Personally I find the whole idea of civil war within Syria just so sad, that countrymen fight among themselves, destroy their own cities and homes to the extent that the families feel they have no choice but to leave their own homeland. This involvement of outside involvement, in this case the Russians, makes for interesting reading. As a modeller, the photos and the colour artwork offer plenty of handy references as well.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin