The recent decision by Russia to intensity its military support to the Syrian government in Damascus, highlights some interesting issues for Eastern governments.
It comes at a time when the Syrian refugee influx via Turkey is reaching a peak in Eastern European states and Germany/Austria with strident calls from mainstream Western media arguing the case for more arming of the anti-Assad terrorist groups in Syria and naturally , a no-fly that can only benefit…. guess who?.
Interestingly, Turkish President Erdogan, has now done an abrupt about-face in declaring that President Assad of Syria should now be part of the transition process in Syria; something that Erdgan had opposed for more than 4 years previously. Is this, as Moon of Alabama proposes, because of the potential threat of Russian forces taking out his Turkish supplied terrorists in Syria and re-caslibrating the ? I have my doubts. Erdogan is a wily political player,and used to navigating the whirlpool of political players in the Middle East. Is the Russian move , as Mike Whitney suggests, an attempt to pre-empt the installation of a Turkey based no-fly zone by the United States, in Syria , which would once and for all eliminate any Syrian government threats to the jihadist groups fighting Assad?
However it would appear that some Western governments and intelligence agencies are perceiving a real threat to the destabilisation agenda they have pursued since at least 2011 in Syria, as a result of a shift in western public opinion.
How to rationalize support for anti-Assad military groups who are clearly Wahhabist terrorists whilst maintaining a philosophical stance that Assad must go and is the root of the refugee problem and pretending that you are fighting terrorism globally? The information on the the vast majority of groups opposing the Ba’ath secular government and military in Damascus is clear; their need and wish is, like all good salafists, to exterminate those sects of Islam which doe not fit with their mediaeval view of what Islam should be- ie Sunni and Sharia.
Let me be clear, Western governments are actively supporting this genocidal and mythical view of the Middle East. In reality the Ba’ath military is largely Sunni in composition, with elements of Christian and other Muslim sects, as well as of course many secular Syrians. And useful to note perhaps, that the Iraqi equivalent Ba’ath party of Saddam Hussein was supposedly Sunni in character. That is not to say that Assad’s Ba’athist government is not a brutal one; but in comparison with the Saudis, with the salafists and other extremists in the Middle East, it is benign; and supported by the vast majority of Syrians as the only alternative to the vicious brutal alternative of chaos that Western governments are hoping for in Syria. But, one would never imagine that in your wildest dreams, that is the true state of affairs by reading Western mainstream media.
The weight of alternative press reports which articulate the threat from Western governments of further direct intervention in Syria to complete their mission of balkanising the region and installing tribal and extremist religious groups in Syria and elsewhere in the middle east is becoming hard for western public opinion to ignore.
The apparently unexpected move by the Russians to bolster their military support and risk boots on the ground and potentially another debacle like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This move is in many respects, a mirror of that Soviet-Afghan war, with the Gulf States and the Americans, as before , supporting Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and Russia supporting a secular dictatorship in the form of President Assad and the Ba-ath Party. Has the Russian military learnt its lessons from the Afghan war and the wars of Chechnya?- time will tell.
We have yet to see how Israel will respond to this new front opening up across the occupied Golan Heights. Its dreams of a slow annexation of Syrian territory beyond the Golan Heights, and the splitting of that rump state into splintered largely powerless enclaves, with the active assistance of the United States , have now been significantly compromised.
The difference this time around, may be the guerrilla fighting skills of Hizbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Brigades.
The flurry of both mainstream western media and Obama’s superlatively hypocritical and; speaking bluntly, speech of unadulterated lies; at the U.N. , expressing concern that Russia was adding “fuel to the fire” by its Syrian air-strikes, and that (bizzarely) chaos might ensue in Syria as a result of Russia actually wanting to get rid of the terrorists in Syria. Their messages are stretching the cloth of credulity to breaking point, even for those of the Western public who accept everything their politicians tell them. We are, I believe, seeing the end-game in Western public’s placid acceptance of the reality and rationality of the “War on Terror”.
Mainstream media are now contorting themselves into indecent positions to “prove” that Russia is not targeting ISIS, but is instead only targeting those “moderate” anti-Assad groups. Despite the acknowledgement by Western intelligence agencies that secular moderate groups fighting the Assad government are practically non-existent in Syria, we are led to believe that Russia is deliberately leaving the ‘evil ones’, ISIS, alone and targeting the “good guys”, Al Nusra and other similar Al Qaeda affiliate groups, funded and trained by the US and the Gulf States. Given that all those groups are fighting to bring down the Assad government and the Assad military is by far the greatest opponent of all of those groups; including ISIS ; one might almost be forgiven for thinking that the US wants ISIS to succeed and roll into Damascus to bring its rein of terror to all suitably non Sunni members of that population.
One is also intrigued with Brown Moses ( or should that be ‘Brown Nose’?) under his new pseudonym, Bellingcat , “proving” that the video and pics of Russian attacks were deliberately being edited by the Russians to ensure their “true” target areas were not identified-again the meme that the real terrorists were in fact not being targeted, but instead targeting some of the mythical moderates on the ground.
And again further hype from ” unidentified State Dept officials that four of the 26 Russian cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea at Syrian rebels had in fact crashed in Iran with loss of life. The Pentagon appears considerably concerned about these new previously unknown Russian cruise missiles, because they have much longer trajectory than supposed and can be fired from far smaller ships than the American ones can, and are hence more mobile.
The decision by the Obama administration to supposedly pull out of direct involvement with the jihadist groups in Syria is more likely to reflect a concern that Russian,Syrian, Iranian and Hizbollah groups may very shortly, if not already, be killing Western intelligence operatives on the ground in Syria, rather than any back-down of intent to overthrow Assad.
Also expect an intensification of ‘independent’ human right s organizations demanding that Assad (and now the Russians) be tried for war crimes . This war is a tragedy and an avoidable one, and the civilian death toll has been immense and calamitous.However expecting the Assad government to have precision guided ammunitions (only available to the U.S. and its western allies and Russia and China) rather than ‘dumb’ bombs and barrel bombs, does not a war crime make.
More incredibly, the Pentagon is clearly wishing desperately for Russian losses in fighting the rebels in Syria and that they will “begin to lose in Syria”. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Konashenkov also “lashed out” at a fresh statement from Pentagon head Ashton Carter, who predicted Russian losses in its Syrian operation.
Moscow’s air operation in Syria “will have consequences primarily for Russia itself,” Carter said at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Such provocative, foolish and dangerous statements amount to a direct threat to use the United State’s proxy terrorists in Chechnya and other Russian muslim populated districts, in retaliation for the Russian attacks on the United State’s ‘friendly terrorists’ in Syria. Carter added, “I expect that in the next few days the Russians will begin to lose in Syria.”. Should such attacks come in the next few weeks on Russian soil, Russia will be in doubt of their source; with the added bonus of more certainly enlisting the help of China in this war against the West’s terrorists; also vulnerable to American involvement in Uighur attacks inside China.
We are seeing a desperate attempt on multiple fronts to discredit the Russian war efforts in Syria by Western powers . One has to wonder why do they wish ISIS and their favourite ‘moderate’ jihadist to be marching into Damascus? – how important is it to curry favour with Wahhabists in power in the Arabian peninsula?. As Gareth Porter notes, or just maybe its simply a matter of propping up the US and UK “defence” Industries for a little longer…?