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Interests above principles in Syria


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Interests above principles  in Syria

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THE CARNAGE in Syria continues unabated with no resolution in sight.
It constitutes a major blot on humanity’s desire to hold on to power at all costs. Though far from this region, it is not difficult to empathize with the Syrian people.
The charade continues despite the outward movements by the regime, the opposition and the international community. The divergence between international positions on Syria is increasing, as was demonstrated by the recent meeting between the presidents of France and Russia.
France’s President Francois Hollande has pushed for sanctions to help force Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad from power, while his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin said such pressure would push the country toward civil war.
Russia has ruled out military intervention, while Hollande said it remained an option, if it has the backing of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution. This was rejected by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
This final stand is taking place before the eyes of the world even though two powerful countries, namely Russia and China, decided last week to once again use their veto power in the UNSC to defeat a resolution against the Syrian crackdown on people opposed to Assad’s rule.
So this is no domestic matter affecting Syria alone. The most immediate impact will be felt by Iran, which stands to lose not only its pivotal Arab ally but also a gateway to Iran’s proxy force in Lebanon, Hezbollah.
Without Syria, Iran will lose that vital strategic bridgehead into the Arab world; even if, thanks to the United States-led invasion in 2003, it can now consider Iraq as friendly. But it goes deeper than that.
Russia maintains its stance steadfastly in the knowledge that the United States and its allies have no teeth to face it down. Russia is fighting for its existence in the Middle East and is unlikely to risk giving that up easily.
Russia says it is also trying to suppress the takeover of Islamists, which might spread to its borders. In this, Iran and Russia share similar objectives. Because of this threat, Iran will support the Syrian regime until the very end.
Further, the West itself is suffering economically and is not in the mood to enter an adventure that would rock any boat. The United States is still reeling from its ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the nation has no desire to become entrenched in another conflict.
Russia, China and Iran know this very well and so does the Syrian regime; a fact which explains its nonchalance to all condemnation heaped against its regime. This state of affairs represents a golden opportunity for the regime to continue its rampage.
In addition, Russia sees Syria as its only foothold in the Mediterranean.
Therefore, its support for the Assad regime has more to do with its strategic interest than any love for the Syrian people.

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