This post originally ran on Truthdig contributor Juan Cole’s website.
About a week ago, Russian warplanes bombed a Syrian base used by the US and the UK. The Wall Street Journal suggested that Russia was attempting to herd Washington into a closer military cooperation.
At the same time, the Arabic press commented on a Washington Post story that the US and Russia are jointly striking al-Qaeda in Syria now.
The US had avoided doing much bombing of al-Qaeda (the Nusra Front), according to the Alaraby site, since they were hoping that Nusra would cut off al-Qaeda and renounce their relationship, and because US-backed groups were allied with Nusra on the battlefield. Now that Nusra is in the sights of Russian and US warplanes, there are likely to be defections from its coalition, the Army of Conquest.