Here is an editorial from a Russia newspaper about the lack of a coherent strategy on Iraq. I think this paragraph sums up Putin's problems well:
Third, we lacked a clear strategic objective: It was not clear whether we wanted to ensure that international law was observed, save the UN Security Council, befriend European states and play them off against the United States, or to remain on good terms with America. Any of these objectives could be justified as part of an overarching strategy. But there was no strategy. And the absence of a strategy is not unique to this crisis — it is true of our foreign policy as a whole.