And likewise in the US, as has been pointed out to you: These guys are not hidden. When I pointed to that as a likely explanation of your blind spot and assumptions, you denied it. The Russians don't need the small oil in Syria. They need good relations with Iran and Iraq. So you do recognize the importance of pipelines and such, just not to the US? I doubt anyone regards the US invasion of Iraq and attendant events (such as the Syrian eruption) as a gain or success for the US against Iran. The US has incurred great loss throughout, by this miserable blunder of the last Republican government. That it has also inflicted great loss makes things worse, not better. Point is, you cannot assume US goals and interests line up with outcomes in Syria. You can't look at US outcomes and reason back to US agendas. The US has fucked up, here.