11.04.2016 Author: Martin Berger

Has Washington Learnt Anything from Russia’s Intervention in Syria?

546456555As the situation on the ground keeps changing against the radical militants that invaded Syria, Syrian troops along with Russian airpower have managed to deliver a crushing blow against them, particularly the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS). Western media sources are desperately attempting to explain why Russia succeeded against ISIS where the US-led coalition failed.

According to French-based Le Figaro, Vladimir Putin was the only one to stand up and confront terrorism while all others were running for cover, crying “every man for himself”. He had a clear concept of who his enemies were and how one should fight them. If he failed to support Assad when he needed it the most, Syria’s religious minorities, the Christians, Yazidis, Shia’a, and others would have been completely wiped out in Syria. Without Russian warplanes launching attacks day after day, and with US President Barack Obama and the inconsistent French diplomacy led by Laurent Fabius alone, Palmyra would have never been recaptured. Le Figaro is convinced that the resilient opposition Russians have shown against terrorism glorifies the Russian Federation, showing that it stays true to its famed military and diplomatic roots.

Earlier, the same newspaper noted that there’s a drastic difference between the actions of Russian and Syrian troops acting together in the fight against terror and the fruitless attempts the US has been making in both Syria and Iraq. Former US Ambassador Chas Freeman told Le Figaro we are witnessing a brilliant strategical plan being put into action by Russia. While Americans are trying to convince the world that they can still fight effectively against ISIS, nevertheless, US Secretary of State John Kerry failed to push Russia into forcing President Assad to step down, which has been the prime US objective in Syria from the beginning.

The Washington Post is also presenting us with a pretty interesting take on the situation in Syria:

Unlike the majority of US special forces that are currently advising Iraqi and Syrian militants from behind the lines at the battalion and brigade levels, Russian special forces are participating in combat alongside Syrian troops at the tactical level. The presence of Russian special forces and advisers on the front line has, in turn, helped Syrian troops and President Bashar al-Assad’s allies consolidate gains and take ground across the country.

In turn, the Daily Beast stresses that Russian airstrikes in recent battles may serve as evidence of Russia’s commitment to the fight against ISIS. This media source has no doubt whatsoever that the Russian involvement in Syria has been a game changer. Moreover, the recent victories allow Russia to portray itself as the defenders of civilization over barbarism.

The National Interest would go even further by admitting:

Russian intervention helped turn the tides of war in the Assad regime’s favor. Russian intervention has done a great deal to undermine US foreign policy in the diplomatic arena.

However, the influential Canadian media source Global Research would note that the West is taking a somewhat selective approach to the coverage of the Syrian conflict and the fight against the Islamic State, by trying to downplay the role Russian military forces have played at every turn. The journal notes that should American allies become victorious over ISIS, no matter how extreme or brutal they are, we’d see Americans cheering in the streets like they did after the alleged assassination of Bin Laden. This would inevitably lead to speculations of who among those so-called allies might be Syria’s ‘first democratically elected government’.

The American business newspaper The Wall Street Journal is stressing the fact that there’s lessons that the United States should learn from Russia’s limited involvement in the Syrian war by noting:

Vladimir Putin’s splendid little war in Syria did not go off without a hitch. Yet it took Mr. Putin just six months to show the world that modest military inputs can decisively tilt the balance of power, and that not every Mideast intervention descends into quagmire. Too bad it was in the service of propping up two dictatorships-Russia’s as well as Syria’s.

So what should the US do in Syria Here’s a thought:? Give up on a unitary Syrian state. Support Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria and an Alawite state around Latakia, backed by Russia, with the proviso that the Assads must go. Destroy ISIS and other Sunni jihadist groups by combining massive US air power and a coalition of Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian troops.

Against the background of such a coverage by the Western media the dirty plans of the White House and the CIA for the substitution of the fight against international terrorism and, in particular, ISIS with the toppling of the government in Damascus and the elimination of President Bashar al-Assad from Syrian politics look particularly dishonest. This plan, along with a number of similar ones, is being carefully described in a book that went on sale a few days ago under the title, “Left of Boom.” It’s written by a former CIA operative that was directly involved in a number of similar “operations” in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria – Doug Laux.

The White House had plans to annex a portion of Syria and use it to launch attacks against the government in Damascus back in 2012. However in 2015, this strategy was expanded even further by a publication released by the Brookings Institution. It was drafted by Michael E. O’Hanlon and released under the title – “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war.” This article states that the only chance for Washington to achieve a somewhat satisfying result in Syria is to dismantle this state by the creation of a confederation of several autonomous regions. This plan that was approved by the Obama administration implies that the White House should carry on pursuing the overthrow of Syria’s legitimate president and reduce the state he once headed to a number of ungoverned zones that would be contested by warlords, rebel fighters and terrorist organizations.

However, there’s a little problem with this plan, since not a single soul in Washington today believes that the jihadists supported by the United States would be able to defeat the joint Russian-Syrian forces which are gradually taking the militants apart across Syria. That is why there is a “plan B” that was introduced which implied the creation of a safe haven for terrorists along the Syrian-Turkish border. This zone would allow the US and its “partners in crime” to carry on arming, training and sponsoring terrorists. There’s no doubt that US special forces are being sent to Syria in large numbers in recent days are tasked with monitoring the operation to ensure that everything goes “according to plan”.

But maybe it’s high time for the White House to put an end to its vicious policies in the Middle East. Instead of devising cunning anti-Russian plans, the US could finally start an actual fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to protect the world from this “black plague of the 21st century”. Maybe then Washington will finally get some genuine praise in the media for its actual actions, for Washington’s real contribution to the fight against international terrorism.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Please select digest to download: