Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
Saturday 25 August 2012
Last Update 25 August 2012 3:13 am
THE war in Syria indicates that the Assad regime has lost most of its positions, some of its top military leaders, the majority of its regions and all of its land crossings. And Russia has sent 17 warships to support President Bashar Assad.
The news, messages and contradicting behavior coming from Moscow really puzzle us. Is this a deep strategy or is it just the obstinacy of the defeated?
In the Russian capital, a visiting Syrian government delegation made the entire world hear that they were in trouble and were ready to sacrifice Bashar for a political solution if the opposition agreed to negotiate. In fact, nobody believed this offer. In the light of the rejection of the opposition for negotiations, have the Russians decided to send more military support to Assad in order to impose a political solution on the opposition? However, this step taken by the Russians came very late.
The Russians lost no time in revealing the death of a top Syrian military leader in a hospital in Moscow where he was brought for treatment from injuries. The official Syrian News Agency (SANA) denied this report. The behavior of the Russians in this respect made us more puzzled. Did they announce the death of the top military leader to embarrass President Assad or were they just being transparent in reporting news?
Russia announced that it would not send arms to Assad but it sent 17 warships in a big military convoy to support Assad. They decided to dock half of these ships in the seaport of Tartous, the only Russian naval base outside the region of the old Soviet Union.
Apart from the scandal of being attached to a bloody regime which is on the verge of defeat amid rising hatred against it in the Arab and Islamic world, Moscow does not make any political or financial gains from this policy. They are being the opposite of the Americans who gain more dough selling their missiles and intelligence data to others. The Americans will also benefit from the downfall of Assad. Syria may be the cheapest of wars for the Americans.
The Russians last week decided to supply Assad regime with oil to fuel its tanks and warplanes, which are threatened to stop functioning due to the acute energy shortage. Syria is facing fuel shortage because the freedom fighters were able to close down the Alboukamal land crossing with Iraq after they had complete control over it. By so doing, the freedom fighters have cut the umbilical cord linking the lands supply line with the Al-Malki government in Iraq which was supplying Assad’s regime with all its needs and requirements.
We are just trying to understand the Russians. Is Syria to them like Afghanistan for the Americans? Do they intend to continue the war in Syria no matter how costly it may be to them? The answer is maybe. We understand the attitude of the West vis-a-vis Afghanistan because they consider it an inherent danger as it hosts both Taleban and Al-Qaeda. There are no such fears for Russia as it maintains good relations with all the Arab and Gulf countries.
By its own very choice Russia is sinking in the moving sands of Syria and the region. It has decided by its own free will to go down with Bashar who is facing more pressure after the Western countries decided to provide the freedom fighters in Syria with some weapons, logistical support and data.
Russia will not get any political and military gains from the West by continuing to support the Syrian regime including putting a seal on the NATO’s nuclear shield project in Turkey. I do not think that the Russians are ignorant about what is really going on in Syria or that they were deceived by the regime’s claims that terrorists and Muslim fundamentalists were fighting alongside the freedom fighters. The Russians are very well aware of the all the details of the fighting in Syria.
For this reason I said in the beginning of this article that the attitude of the Russians is extremely puzzling. There is no reason for their continued support to Assad because its fall is very imminent. We can understand the stance of Iran in supporting Assad because it considers that its own security is inseparable from that of Assad. Syria is the last fortress for Iran in the region. However we are unable to understand the attitude of the Russians regarding the conflict in Syria. In fact we are everyday made more puzzled by this attitude.