This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Interpretive Reality on a Collision Course

"Syria is a four-dimensional civil war that we all are losing, except for ISIS. One dimension is government versus anti-government. A second is Sunni versus Shia. A third is primarily within the Sunni community, radicals versus moderates. And the fourth is tribal, generating dozens and dozens of crosscutting tensions and conflicts."
The reason for U.S. policy failures to this point and Russian foreign policy failures to come is that each is focused on only one dimension—the government versus anti-government dimension, to which they then add the war against ISIS, creating a two-dimensional response to a multi-dimensional problem."
"Russia has very real reasons to fear the success of ISIS, not least because more than 2,000 Russians, Azerbaijanis, and Central Asians have joined ISIS, and will at some point come home on a mission. But striking ISIS comes second for the Russian military to salvaging the Assad regime’s military position, and, given the immediate threat to that, this means attacking the opposition forces, including those supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the others."
Robert Legvold, professor emeritus, Department of Political Science and the Harriman Institute, Columbia University

Russian Sukhoi Su-24 tactical bombers at an airfield near Latakia, Syria. Photo: RIA Novosti
With all the interrelated issues driving the divisions in Syria; tribal, ethnic, sectarian, political, government-driven, rebel-driven, and support by outside sources of foreign Islamist interventions, and given the complicating factors of foreign governments pledging to destroy the ambitions of the most visible and dreaded Islamist terrorist group, the situation in Syria represents a puzzle within a mysterious conundrum appearing as an enigma, baffling solution.

The violent turmoil and attempts to destroy the unsettling capabilities of the various actors are all part of the backdrop, with the main drama still represented by the gruesome reality of a government that has declared a vicious war upon its own civilians. And it is that vicious war by the Alawite government of President Bashar al-Assad that is more civilizationally troubling than the existence of fundamentalist Islamist terrorists.

It is, after all, Assad's military that has consistently preyed on the Sunni Syrian population, first dashing their hopes of achieving equality in a political-sectarian society that has oppressed them as second-class citizens, then leaping to confronting their protests with military helicopters and artillery, warplanes and chemical attacks, and finally the endless dropping of barrel bombs, destroying the infrastructure of the country's cities, and the lives of its people. 

Resulting in an endless stream of refugees flooding Europe.

The first order of business for civilized Western democracies is the removal of Assad from his position of tyrannically destructive power. With his absence from Syria, the Sunni factions that represent the majority Syrian population would have the opportunity to restructure the country's social and political underpinnings, although given the experience in Iraq with the removal of the Sunni minority power structure with Saddam Hussein's ouster, equality did not result, only bitterness and chaos.

Russian President Vladimir Putin decided that his military would give support to Assad from the aspirations of the Sunni rebels, and just incidentally strike as well at the Islamic State that has captured fully one-third of the entire country to create a seamless whole with the one-third of Iraq it has also captured for its caliphate. The U.S.-led airstrike coalition had been too timid to be effective in destroying ISIL's dominating capabilities in warfare and commission of atrocities.

A Russian pilot near a Su-34 aircraft at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria's Latakia. Photo: RIA Novosti

Enter Russia, which appears to have mislaid its memory of its years in Afghanistan and its eventual inconclusively miserable departure, a lesson in humility not learned. In the greater picture of events in Syria the issue of Russia's air incursions targeting not ISIL primarily, but the Sunni Syrian enemies of Assad appear almost destined to represent an accidental cause of conflict on a far wider scale, between NATO/US and Russia/Iran. 

Russia's arrogance is exemplified by its entry into Turkish airspace, causing Turkish planes to finally escort the second Russian incursion out of its territory. As well, Turkey echoed its NATO allies in criticizing Russia for targeting and bombing Syrian opposition forces rather than Islamic State targets. This, ironically, while Turkey itself targets and bombs Kurdish forces which just happen to be the most effective fighting forces against ISIL.

The appearance of so many conflicting interests in a single dissolving country which has fallen into vicious wrack and ruin, its people fleeing death, dismemberment, dislocation and terror, speaks volumes of accidental encounters of a potentially disastrous consequence.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet