Russia · Syria

Tensions mounting over Syria

Tensions are mounting in Syria as in one of the last vestiges of rebel power; Aleppo, conflict is intensifying, as the Assad regime accompanied with Russia and Iran, edges closer towards victory.

While the scenes in this Western- driven war have already been horrific, this situation has been compounded by speculation that perhaps a larger conflict, dominated by nuclear America and Russia, is coming on the way.

Recent threats made by some, including those of prominent neocon John McCain reinforce this narrative. “The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength”, he said.

“The United States of America should be prepared to use military force, to strike military targets of Bashar Assad regime.”

Moreover, the woman who appears likely to be the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton, has promised that she would equally prioritize defeating ISIS and Assad.

But what this rhetoric amounts to on the ground is a terrifying prospect, particularly more so than any of Donald Trump’s twitter antics or random outbursts.

Russia has further dug into the conflict, moving its S-400 anti-aircraft system into Syria to its air base near Latakia, and its S-300 system to its naval base at Tartus. The Russian bear is now so ingrained into the Syrian conflict that it will stand by its Middle Eastern ally, even in the face of Western threats.

Most recently, the tenseness of East- West relations due to the Syrian conflict, has escalated to the point that Russian officials have ordered people to ‘bring relatives home to the Motherland’, in preparation for a potential nuclear war.

It is possible that Russia’s orders to ‘bring relatives home to the Motherland’ may be nothing more than a political stunt, aimed at rallying nationalism.

However, there is also a chance that this is a genuine plea to Russians in the face of serious adversity and potential global conflict, which given the nature of modern weapons, would have devastating implications worldwide.

How things have even escalated to this point, on the part of the irresponsible, intervening West, whose incessant demands throughout this conflict have unnecessarily stoked tensions, is what should be of scrutiny. For it is Russia, Assad and Iran, that have been the effective opponent in destroying our sworn enemy, the Islamic State.

Meanwhile, it is the West that has indirectly facilitated and supported this monstrous terror group. And after all this, Western leadership has the nerve to criticize Russia and instruct it on the future fate of Assad and the ‘Free’ Syrian Army?

Aside from arguments over who will win Syria and its influence after the war, there are currently those seeking intervention in Syria based on humanitarian grounds.

Calls are mounting for the US to stop Russian bombing in Aleppo, who they accuse of ‘war crimes’. Some of these ideas are understandable, as the situation in cities such as Aleppo is truly heartbreaking.

But we can’t ignore the manner by which international norms have operated even since the end of the Cold War. In any of the West’s interventions, which include the Gulf war, intervention in Panama, Somalia, bombing in Kosovo, the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and action in Libya and Yemen, did any major countries at that time deliver ultimatums to Western leadership to cease the violence or else?

Did Russia, China, or other great powers seek to lecture the Western powers in circumstances in which morality was absent? Absolutely not, and for that we should be grateful, as attempts to bully around the world’s sole superpower and its allies, might have had devastating ramifications if rivalries escalated.

Furthermore, how did those interventions, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya pan out? Iraq is now a haven for extremism and Islamic State, whilst Afghanistan, given America has vacated the country, is becoming increasingly violent. Likewise, as Pat Buchanan eloquently described it, Libya is a ‘carcass of a tormented land’.

What all these 3 countries have in common is Western intervention, an overthrowing of the central government in a bid to achieve ‘Western- style democracy’ and ultimately more violence ensuing than what was previously experienced.

This history makes it unequivocal, that it is both not the West’s place to alter the course of events in Syria through a no- fly zone or any related action, and any such intervention would only affect the country for the worse.

Nothing positive could come out of any similar policies and surely, after the years of failed Western foreign policy in the region, the most sensible, logical and humane solution; to common ground with Russia over the fight against ISIS, would be most appropriate.

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