05.10.2015 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Can Russia Make a Difference in Syria?

S7684333As soon as Russian air forces began bombing terrorists in Syria, a perfectly timed and thoroughly planned anti-Russian media campaign was launched in the Western media. In those loud and defiant cries to stop bombing “valuable US assets in the region” one can clearly trace the true goals and objectives of Washington and its associates. It is clear that the ultimate goal is to represent Russia as a monster, the ultimate aggressor, for it to replace the American enemy №1 – terrorism in the foreseeable future.

Biased “experts” are already sensing the imminent Russian defeat, predicting that Syria will become “a new Afghanistan” for Russia, but for some reason they keep forgetting about the “American Vietnam.” Russian experts at “Voice of America”, for instance, are saying that Russian air strikes can serve as a catalyst for global jihad, since extremists can take advantage of Moscow’s actions in Syria to recruit new fighters. One can only note that the same jihadists, despite the fact that they are supposedly being bombed by the international coalition led by the United States, for some reason, are not waging jihad against the latter. Apparently, the answer lies in the fact all these terrorists are being paid with American money.

Western tabloids were let off the leash to hound Russia with false claims that its aircraft have been bombing residential neighborhoods and civilian populations. Out of the blue they’ve managed to locate “witnesses” capable of telling distinct features of Russian planes with Russian pilots flying at an altitude of five thousand meters. All these false claims have been accompanied by unseen photos of destroyed houses and killed Syrian civilians. However, nobody can prove that these photographs were taken in Syria, or in a particular part of it. It is curious that all these fabricated stories were launched long before the first Russian jet even took off to bomb ISIL positions. “Regarding information in the media that the civilians were affected, we are ready for such information attacks and I would like to direct your attention to the fact that first information that there were casualties among civilians were published before our planes took off.” – said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.

It should be noted that the Russian Ministry of Defense has shown that it can hold a skillful and transparent media campaign to inform the world of its activities. For example, the Ministry released the clear footage of airstrikes against militant positions (which, by the way, are nowhere to be found in case of American, French or Saudi raids against terrorists). One of the released videos shows terrorist field camps along with an ISIL command bunker getting obliterated by a Su-34 strike fighter . It is reported that Su-34s, Su-24Ms and Su-25s carried out 18 sorties while destroying 12 targets affiliated with the Islamic State. The better part of the sorties – 10 – were carried out at night. As a result, ISIL’s command post and communications center were destroyed in the area of Dar Taazza (province of Aleppo) along with weapon stores and fuel depots in the area of Maarat al-Numan. And all that damage has been done in just 24 hours!

In the same time-span the “mighty” international coalition led by the United States has carried out a single drone attack, which, according to CENTCOM, has done an “extensive amount of damage to terrorists” – two excavators were destroyedApparently, Syria’s Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad was right when he claimed that ever since the establishment of the US coalition against the Islamic State, the area controlled by terrorists in Syria has only been increasing. According to the head of the Syrian Foreign Ministry Walid Muallem, the US coalition has been simulating a fight against ISIL, that brought no results whatsoever after nine thousand air strikes in Iraq and Syria. In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said that Moscow has information indicating that the US is well aware of where the positions of the Islamic state terrorists are, but it is reluctant to strike them. Explaining Russia’s position Sergei Lavrov said: “As far as I understand, the coalition announced ISIL and other associated groups as the enemy and the coalition does the same as Russia [does]. Somehow some people try to present the coalition action as leading to a political settlement and Russia fighting the same people is being perceived or presented like defending the regime. It’s absolutely unfair.

The anti-Russian campaign that has been unleashed in the Western media has clearly manifested in the fact that neither the United States nor its allies were planning to fight international terrorism in Syria. But this fact is hardly surprising, since all of these organizations like al-Qaeda, ISIL, and Jabhat al-Nusra with a handful of others have been created by the West and its allies to overthrow legitimate Arab governments including in Syria. In this respect, one can take a look at the publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which openly confirm the fact that among others, Russian aircraft attacked “moderate forces” that had been trained by American instructors from the CIA. Thus, Russia has been destroying “viable assets” that were trained and armed on the money provided by American taxpayers. Those claims reveal that the US has been waging a kind of a hybrid war against Bashar al-Assad and his government, while using semi-legal and completely illegal means of getting rid of him.

BBC journalist Jon Sopel went further than others in admitting the level of US involvement in Syria by asking: “What if the Russians start hitting US backed and armed rebel groups? That is not going to end well. And who knows how many US special forces there might be on the ground helping those rebel groups? What if they find themselves coming under fire – do they call in US close air support to see off their Russian attackers?” On this occasion, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed that US and Russian military officials will coordinate their actions in Syria.

It has all came down to the Pentagon discussing the possibility of using military force to protect its terrorists, according to the Associated Press. Some US officials spoke on a condition of anonymity stating that the US Department of Defense is assessing the political and legal risks of fighting for the “moderate forces” that it trained.

But maybe one should listen to the opinion of Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who stated that Islamist terrorists carried out attacks both against the US and Russia, therefore declaring a war on the modern civilized world. This member of the US House of Representatives is convinced that their barbaric acts and crimes in Syria prove one thing – they must be destroyed. International experts, at least those who are not receiving paychecks from Washington, seem to agree that the US is incapable of waging war on Islamists on its own, so any help that Russia can provide should be welcomed.

This position can only be confirmed by the following fact. The strikes that Russian pilots carried out against command centers and warehouses of the terrorists have not simply undermined ISIL’s fighting capabilities, but their faith in the success of their entire enterprise as well. As it was reported across the Arab media, those militants who have families in Syria have started evacuating them urgently to neighboring Iraq. A column of cars carrying such “refugees” under the heavy protection of armed terrorists was spotted in the outskirts of the city of Raqqa, heading towards the border. According to Syrian intelligence sources, Russia’s actions in this counter-terrorist operation have had a striking impression on the military command of the Islamic State, after US coalition strikes have long-failed to inflict any serious damage.

The shameless and vicious media campaign against Russia has highlighted the fact that the West is willing to push the blame of mass extermination of the civilian population in a number of Middle Eastern countries on almost any international player it can – besides itself. Yet, the recent attack on the hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz resulted in at least 19 people being killed. The humanitarian organization Doctors without Borders which ran the hospital stated that “this attack is a serious violation of international humanitarian law”. Doctors Without Borders has already called for an independent investigation of the tragedy. Earlier, NATO officials have blatantly declared that US air strikes “could cause collateral damage to local medical facilities.” What makes this situation rather odd is that over the past month this humanitarian organization provided exact locations of all of its buildings to NATO officials, yet the bombardment lasted for more than an hour even after US officials were told that their forces had been hitting the wrong target.

It is obvious that the anti-Russian media campaign will not just be carried on, but it’s going to be expanded broadly, while a number deceitful and malicious methods of fooling people will continue to be used by US propaganda and its servants. Washington doesn’t want to lose the position of  “world leader”, so it’s going to use a wide range strategies to put obstacles in the way of Russia’s drive for a settlement in the Middle East to disrupt that position, and which, if successful, will allow refugees to return to their homes.

Victor Mikhin, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”