With Russia’s air campaign wiping out terrorist targets in Syria, the Obama administration has been forced to drastically rethink its strategy in the region. According to Simon Tisdall, writing for the Guardian, this is a panicked reaction, the result of fear that the US could lose influence in the Middle East. After nearly a month of Russia’s airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, the militants’ infrastructure is crumbling. On Wednesday alone, the Russian fighters carried out 71 successful sorties against 118 targets, and a number of refugees are returning to their homes as terrorists flee.

The success of Moscow’s campaign has shown just how ineffective the US-led coalition’s year-long effort really was. America’s plan to train and equip so-called “moderate” rebels also ended in failure. At risk of losing international clout, President Obama is scrambling to adapt his strategy. “Fear is driving Obama’s latest rethink: feat that Russia and Iran are winning the strategic tug-of-war for decisive influence in both Syria and Iraq,” Simon Tisdall writes for the Guardian, “and fear that his Middle East legacy will be an anarchic arc of muddle and mayhem stretching from Mosul to the Mediterranean.” FULL REPORT