According to Russian President Vladamir Putin, the US has violated international law by attacking sovereign states; and in the aftermath of those attacks, terrorism has exploded. Instead, he said, the world needs to "learn from Israel. It never lets go. They fight until the end. That's why it exists."
Iran's agenda is to expand its borders, and it is openly saying so. Yesterday a high ranking general bragged that Iran is extending its boundaries "from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean." It is a boundary reminiscent of the First Syrian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BCE.
As Russia and NATO practice "war games" this week in eastern Europe, Moscow ups the ante by exposing three of its deadliest subs as they wrap their way around Great Britain en route to Syria.
What makes Putin tick? How does he see himself? What does Russia think about him? How does the world look through his eyes? While something of a hagiography, this two and a-half hour Russia documentary, with English subtitles, is an eye-opener. If you must, watch it in segments. But by all means, watch it all. The insight it provides makes it well worth the effort.
In the current battle for Mosul led by a US coalition of forces, there is a lot more at stake than defeating ISIS. Iran sees the city as a crucial part of its ambition for a resurrected Persian empire.