The military operation started by Russia in Syria evoked jittery reaction in the US. The Pentagon called Moscow’s actions «aggressive» like if the US-delivered air strikes against Syria were peaceful by definition.
At that Russia’s actions in Syria are taken in accordance with all standard procedures to meet the norms of international law. Russian President Vladimir Putin informed international community of Russia’s intention to take an active part in the anti-terrorist operation on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic during his address at the United Nations General Assembly session. Then the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russian parliament, unanimously endorsed the President’s request to use military force abroad. Finally, Russia had given an advance warning to the United States about its plans.
After all that, why does Washington react so hysterically to the fact that Russian aviation has started to strike terrorists?
The answer is simple: Russia strengthens Bashar Assad’s position. Washington believes that the steps taken to bolster Assad or, even more, boost military cooperation between Moscow and Damascus in coordination with Tehran, pose a much bigger threat than the Islamic State.
The coordinated activities of Moscow, Tehran and Damascus in Syria hinder US plans to drastically change the existing borders of the Greater Middle East. The terrorists of Islamic States have an important role to play in the implementation of this scenario. Washington wanted a regime change in Syria with Assad leaving his office as far back as three-four years ago. Now the military support of legitimate Syria government may change the way the events unfold in Syria, as well as boost Russia’s clout in the Middle East. This is the region the United States has routinely viewed as its ranch or a testing range.
In a nutshell, these are the main implications of the joint actions undertaken by Russia and Syria:
First, Russia is taking practical steps to expand its role in the fight against international terrorism that poses a direct threat to Russian interests and exerts an increasingly destabilizing influence on Europe. The hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers that flood European countries are a direct consequence of the West’s connivance with terrorist activities in Syria.
Second, Russia provides military and political support to legitimate governments in the Middle East. It runs contrary to US efforts to disseminate the virus of various «color revolutions». The West has resorted to international interference in many parts of the world (The Serbian region of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya) in the last decade and a half. As the experience shows, any time it led to strengthening of the positions of terrorist and extremist groups.
Third, Russia has never completely left the Middle East in the last quarter-century, though it considered it to be a region of secondary importance for a long time. Now it strengthens its position in the region.
Fourth, Russia is taking an important step on the way of forming a new international security structure based on a broad coalition of states supporting the idea of multipolar world and operating out of direct control of the United States. In many respects it will constitute an alternative to what is imposed by Washington and its allies. The coalition strives for a new type of international order which presupposes interaction, compromises and absence of «double standards», including in the field of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
The West’s accusations against Russia blaming it for «aggressive actions» in Syria are launched to divert attention from the failure of its own strategy in the Middle East.
As US magazine Newsweek rightly notes that, no matter what Moscow does, «…the problems surrounding increased U.S. intervention in Syria remain the same as always. There are few rebel groups left in Syria that could be considered «moderate» or acceptable to U.S. policymakers, while those that do exist are focused not on battling ISIS but on overthrowing the Assad regime. And though some of Russia’s targets are clearly moderate anti-regime forces, it has also targeted the Nusra Front and other extremist groups. There is no dubiety about Russia’s motives here, which are focused on eliminating threats to the Assad regime, not fighting extremists. But stepping up support to these extremist groups simply because Russia has targeted them would be folly; the enemy of my enemy is not always my friend».
The same can be applied to the situation in Iraq, another country chosen by Washington to be used as a testing ground. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he has no objections against Russian aircraft striking the Islamic State positions on the territory of his state. According to al-Abadi, he has sent a corresponding request to Moscow because it serves the interests of Iraq to appeal to anyone pursuing the goal of countering the Islamic State.
In his previous interview with France 24 channel, the Iraqi leader said that he would welcome Russian air force strikes on positions of "Islamic state" in Iraq. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that it did not rule out the possibility of air strikes in that country in case a request is received from the Iraqi government. When asked about the likelihood of starting airstrikes, Ilya Rogachev, director of the Ministry’s department for new challenges and threats, told journalists, »If we have either a corresponding request from the government of Iraq or a resolution from the U.N. Security Council, the adoption of which to a conclusive degree matches the will of the government of Iraq… If we have these sufficient grounds, then the political and military appropriateness will be evaluated».
Russia would consider the possibility of extending the air strikes on Iraq only if it received an official request, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The intensive expansion of military and political contacts between Moscow and Baghdad could present another dramatic challenge to the US.
According to Deutsche Welle, «a new President of the United State, no matter who takes office, would not be able to ignore the Russian leadership. He (or she) will have to deal with it just because Russia has a foothold in the Middle East. Putin is filling the void left by the Obama administration in the region without much hassle. Who could have thought that US-supported Iraqi government with its military would become Russia’s ally?»
All these factors explain the Washington’s jittery reaction to the Russian military operation which serves the propose of providing regional stability and security – the things President Obama likes so much to talk about.
(To be continued)