Sometimes you don't get what you want

Sometimes in  life you don't get everything to happen the way you'd prefer - adults are supposed to have learnt this lesson, little children usually still struggle to accept it.

Western countries have intervened in the Syrian Civil War because they had and have a strong dislike for the pseudo-jihadist bunch that made up one of the major rebel groups. Well, it seems as if those countries have it their way; the jihadi wannabes were so hopelessly inept that just about everyone in the region and at least four great powers became their enemies, and they have no real allies. The bombing maybe kept them from winning the civil war before they doomed themselves with their strategic idiocy and delusion.

But the West wasn't alone in its intervention, nor were the Arab brothers in arms the only other powers to intervene. Russia played jihadi whack-a-mole again (not for the first time, but they usually do it in the area of the former USSR). This was fine, but quickly everyone became aware that it was little more than a fig leaf for their real early stage objective of their intervention; they wanted to help Assad Jr. defeat the pseudo-pro-Western rebel groups first and foremost. The West cried foul, of course, including hypocritical critique about civilian casualties.

It appears that Assad Jr. is going to win that civil war, for the West wants to ensure the failure of the pseudo-jihadists, the Kurds are ready to accommodate themselves as de facto autonomous region (which Assad Jr. will likely tolerate) and the Russians are supporting Assad in his efforts to defeat the other rebel groups, including the less loudmouth-y pseudo-jihadist group in the Northwest that didn't really get hammered  by Western powers so far.

The Western great power gamers are not content with this. Their primary objective of defeating the pseudo-jihadist loudmouths lies ahead, but their secondary objective of 'regime change' for a Western-friendlier Syrian government seems out of reach.
Some warmongers are arguing for attacks on the forces of Assad, or even for defending the anti-Western rebel factions  against air attacks.

I think these are cry babies who don't want to accept that they are not going to unilaterally dictate what happens in Syria. Russia's position is strong - not because Russia is strong, but because the circumstances are overwhelmingly in their favour. They will almost certainly save the Assad Jr. regime, maintain a naval and an airbase in Syria and have Syria as arms customer and proxy in  the region.

The Syrian government is a government, so attacking it is very different from attacking a rebel group with the government's toleration. An attack on the Assad Jr. regime would be a war of aggression - a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, of the North Atlantic Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Russia would actually have the moral and legal high ground in defending the regime against foreign attack. The Syrian civil war is tiny enough compared to Russia's military capabilities for it to ensure regime survival by its support.

I expect Russia to "win" this conflict, and the West should be content with having participated in the whacking of the loudmouth pseudo-jihadists.
Syria is suffering greatly. It did not only waste years of economic activity, still has issues with poor rainfall - it also suffered greatly in life and health, in real estate, in civil society structures and so on. It may take five or more years to return to the pre-war economic output and 10-20 years to materially recover from the conflict. The likely continuation of corrupt and inefficient dictatorship is not going to help, nor is the near-certainty of this regime favouring supporter regions in recovery efforts by the government.

Western powers imply that they want to help the people of Syria when they reject the continuation of the Assad Jr. regime. There's a way how they could really help the people of Syria: Work for a quick end of this war, and then assist the country post-war in ways that make the life of the common people (particularly in the regions neglected by the government) better. Food security / affordable food would be a great help considering the agricultural crisis that will likely go on.
Jordania and much of Lebanon have avoided becoming the stereotypical Near/Middle Eastern hellholes, both are neighbours of Syria. Both may exert influence on the development of the Syrian society. Helping them to keep out what plagues much of the Near and Middle East may help the Syrian people indirectly.

That, of course, would be  no entertainment for warmongers who want to play great power games, games in which people get killed, preferably foreign brown people.


1 comment:

  1. English translation of interesting Russian article: https://citeam.org/here-s-why-assad-s-army-can-t-win-the-war-in-syria/