Five years ago this month, Russia began conducting fateful military operations in Syria at the request of the government in Damascus. It was a momentous “turning point,” as noted by Syria’s President Assad this week, whose nation is slowly rising from the ashes of war.
More than salvaging Syria from a nearly decade-long war – vitally important though that was – Russia’s pivotal intervention also marked the strategic setback for a Western-backed campaign of regime change and wanton illegal war-making across the Middle East and North Africa.
That decisive blow against the presumed hegemony of the United States and its NATO allies is no doubt a factor in the seeming relentless efforts by the West to isolate and smear Russia with sanctions and other provocations, efforts that continue unabated to the present day.
Russia’s intervention was a principled response to aid an historic ally, the Syrian Arab Republic. The Levantine nation was at the time already assailed for four years by an array of illegally armed militant groups which were threatening to over-run the country. These groups comprised hundreds of thousands of mercenaries from dozens of countries and were lionized in Western media as “rebels” in a deceptive propaganda cover for the fact that they were in reality hardcore terrorists slaughtering their way to Damascus. These “rebels” beloved by Western governments and media carried out beheadings and other unspeakable atrocities against civilians.
What the Western media also referred to as Syria’s “civil war” is another cynical propaganda ruse to conceal the fact that the conflict was in reality a foreign-sponsored proxy war of aggression. The plot to overthrow the Arab state was years in the making by Western powers which viewed its alliance with Russia and Iran as an unacceptable resistance to their imperialistic diktats and objectives.
The Russian leadership was under no illusion. President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin knew what was at stake. Western powers were trying to turn Syria into a failed state, to break the nation with a brutal assault by ghoulish proxies, and in that way pave the way for regime change to create a client-state in Damascus that would henceforth do the West’s bidding in terms of Middle Eastern geopolitics. The nefarious plan would come at the price of destroying Syria and its ancient multi-ethnic and multi-religious civilization along with hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions of people turned into refugees.
Russia’s military intervention put an end to that criminal scheme. By December 2016, just over a year later, the Russian and Syrian allies had liberated the entire northern city of Aleppo which had previously been the launchpad for the Western-backed proxy war. Other spectacular victories would follow.
Five years on, Syria is largely liberated from militant networks. A small pocket of resistance remains in northern Idlib province which the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad is determined to defeat in short order to restore the territorial integrity of the entire country.
Incongruously, but tellingly, parts of eastern Syria remain under control of U.S. army ground forces. The American forces, unlike those of Russia, were never requested by the Syrian government. They are illegally occupying Syrian territory, and of course that fact speaks to what the real nature of Washington’s criminal agenda is all about with regard to Syria. American claims about “defeating terrorism” are an absurd cover-up for its aim to promote regime change, an aim which has involved Washington covertly weaponizing terrorist proxies, not defeating them.
Russia’s commitment to defend the Syrian nation was heroic and against adverse odds. The country was infested with myriad militant groups which were armed, directed and financed by a formidable array of powers, including the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf regimes, as well as Israel.
As noted above, before Russia’s intervention, the foreign-backed enemies were at the gates of Damascus. The barbaric terrorism and destruction inflicted upon Syria had almost reached breaking point. Fortunately, however, Russian firepower turned the terrorist tide. The achievement is comparable to the World War Two victory by the Soviet Red Army at Stalingrad.
Today, the Syrian war is hardly mentioned in Western news media. The apparent loss in interest reflects the tacit admission that Russia and its Syrian ally defeated the Western-backed covert war.
One might imagine the alternative outcome if Russia had not intervened. Without doubt Syria would today be a wasteland overrun by terrorist warlords. The implications of that nightmarish scenario for the security of the Middle East region and beyond are almost too much to contemplate. It was Russia’s efforts that averted that infernal outcome.
Syria was but one casualty in a spate of criminal wars launched by the U.S. across the Middle East and North Africa, wars that were supported or enabled by European and NATO allies. The Western destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya spawned terrorism which in turn was exploited by Western powers for regime change in Syria. Russia’s intervention in Syria was akin to a firefighter whose actions extinguished the flames of chaos and barbarism.
Russia’s military alliance may have saved Syria from defeat, but the Arab nation still faces arduous challenges ahead, not least because of Western sanctions impeding reconstruction from war. The resilience of the Syrian people is inspirational and, hopefully, with strategic aid from Russia, China, Iran and others, the nation will in time be restored despite the cruel vindictiveness of Western powers.
But the importance of Russia’s military intervention goes far beyond Syria. It was an historic and seminal defeat over Western regime-change criminality and complicity with terrorist proxies.
Nevertheless, the embers and pyromaniacs have not been fully routed. We may look at the current conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. That war threatens to blow up into a regional war in Russia’s neighboring Southern Caucasus. A foreboding factor is the involvement of NATO member Turkey in its military support for Azerbaijan which includes the covert deployment of terrorist militants to the Caucasus region from northern Syria.
We may also discern the ongoing provocative NATO expansion near Russia’s borders as a form of Washington and its allies trying to rebalance power. The same can be discerned from ongoing pretexts to impose sanctions on Russia, such as the outlandish Navalny case.
Indeed, such was the monumental defeat of Western intrigue in Syria by Russia, it seems plausible that revenge against Moscow will be sought by Washington and its allies looking for every pernicious opportunity to claw back their loss of imperial droit de seigneur.
For Washington and its empire of minions the loss of being able to wield violence with impunity was an “unpardonable blow” by Russia.