Syria is a hellish problem. Looking at it from the Russian perspective: they had no alternative but to attack ISIL because it threatens to spread lethally into their own southern Muslim underbelly – Russia is 10% Muslim and that includes Russia’s poorest and most mistrusted communities. And their ex-Soviet southern neighbours.
To attack ISIL they had to defend the far from perfect Assad regime, which meant also attacking Turkey-supported Islamic extremists (not ISIL) in the North of Syria, who present the most immediate serious military threat to Assad. This led in reply to the terrible Sinai act of terrorism, (and who really did it? ISIL or other Islamist extremist crazies?) the enormity of which the west has made no effort to comprehend or acknowledge. Somehow Russian deaths did not seem to matter so very much in the west, a point brought home starkly to Russians after the world hue and cry over the Paris attacks a few weeks later. Still, Russia did the right thing at G20, pushing for a united global response strategy to ISIL under UNSC resolution cover. Hollande understood and supported them, but did Obama? No way, he is still equivocating. Then the Turks, a NATO member (!) treacherously ambushed a Russian bomber over Syria, killed two Russian servicemen and destroyed a Russian plane, and their local Turkoman allies killed a parachuting survivor in the air and blew up a rescue helicopter. And the West calls for calm heads on all sides!
I guess I finish up in the position – I would have voted Yes in the House of Commons vote on the 3rd of December, because there is no alternative now to a UNSC-approved military intervention coalition to take out ISIL and the almost equally nasty Islamist extremists in Syria’s north, and to leave Assad more securely in charge of his country Syria, and to begin an internationally-supported healing process and return of refugees who wish to go home from nearby camps to Syria. There is no realistic humanitarian alternative.
I just wish Obama and Cameron understood this. I fear they are still confused about their war aims. Which means we are too.
– Tony Kevin
Image: A military investigator from Russia stands near the debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)