While the Obama administration continues to lead from behind in regards to the Syrian civil war, Vladimir Putin is trying to insert a brigade of Russian Airborne troops on the Golan border to act as 'peacekeepers.' The Golan has been patrolled by a thousand UN troops (UNDOF) to keep the peace between Israel and Syria since 1974.
The UNDOF troops have come under increasing violence due to the raging civil-war inside Syria and the Austrian government has decided to withdraw their soldiers from the mission. The idea of placing Russian 'peacekeepers' on the Golan was first invoked by President Vladimir Putin on June 7, after Austria decided to withdraw its 377-strong contingent from the area.
The UN and the Israeli government have rightly refused Putin's offer, however, Moscow hasn't given up on their strategy of a Russian military presence on the Syrian/Israeli border. The Russians are going to do all they can to prop-up the Assad regime to insure that he survives the current conflict and President Obama seems to be uninterested in Putin's power grab.
At one point (Dec, 2012) the US had 17 warships in and around the shores of Syria, having since retreated, allowing the Russian Navy to fill that void. In April of 2012 the Russians announced they would "deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis" and they have continued their buildup of naval power since that time. The Russian navy currently has 16 ships in the Mediterranean Sea and Russian General Valery Gerasimov plans to rotate Russian navy ships out and keep a permanent presence of 12 Russian ships.
Israel, and many in the West, has given up on the hope the Obama administration would prevent the use of chemical agents by the Assad regime. As we all remember, President Obama "that would change my calculus" threat.
Obama has been exposed as a paper-tiger for failing to back up his threat militarily and the Russians and the Assad regime have exploited this fact. The Russians are convinced the West will eventually intervene in the Syrian conflict much like they did in the Libyan civil-war and they are deploying as many military assets as possible to prevent that from occurring.
The Russians also fear the Israelis may be forced to take military action that could sway the outcome of the conflict, which is why the Russians want their crack troops on the Golan border. It is interesting to note, the Russians want to equip their 'peacekeeping' force with MI-24 combat helicopters and I'm certain this is to intimidate the Israelis first and the Syrian rebels second.
reported today that Obama continues to dither on his decision to arm the Syrian rebels and Secretary of State John Kerry has even canceled a Mideast trip to tackle the subject. By the time Obama decides to act, the Syrian war will be ancient history and the Russians will have a large military presence in that region of the world. A large Russian military presence in Syria not only helps prop-up the Assad regime, it may also be designed to discourage an attack on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure, either by the Israelis or the Americans. But that's a story for another day.