Tuesday, June 26, 2012

syria - writing is on the wall

menafn | It was expected that US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met in Mexico last Monday, would agree to disagree over international action to stop the 16-month-old bloodbath in Syria and bring about a political solution to the crisis. What was surprising was an Iranian announcement on the same day that Russia, China and Iran are planning a joint military exercise in Syria.

Details of the exercise or the contribution of the three countries - and that of Syria itself - have not been released, but it is being called "the biggest of its kind ever staged in the Middle East", with 90,000 personnel, 400 airplanes and 900 tanks taking part.

China has reportedly sought Egyptian permission for 12 naval ships to pass through the Suez Canal in late June, heading for the Russian naval base in the Syrian port of Tartous. Russian naval vessels with soldiers on board are already heading for Tartous.

Iran, which has thrown its weight behind its staunchest Arab ally, Syria, has not announced how many vessels and soldiers it will offer for the exercise, which will mark the first time that Russia and China would be introducing such a substantial military strength to the Middle East.

There could only be one conclusion from the exercise: Russia and China are moving to preempt foreign military intervention against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Not to be outdone in the effort to save the Syrian regime, Iran is chipping in.

Reports in the US media have spoken of a plan by Obama to stage a "limited offensive" against Syria that could involve an enforcement of a no-fly zone and air strikes that would weaken the deeply entrenched Alawite officers in Syrian military.

The operation will also see the Syrian opposition forces getting heavier weapons. Apparently, the US hopes that the combined impact of grounding Syrian warplanes and helicopters, and of the advances that the rebel forces could make on the ground would prompt Syrian military officers to realise their vulnerability, defect or stage a coup against Assad. But that bet is off now because the planned large-scale Russian and Chinese presence in Syria will be a deterrent against the US plan.

The question that is unanswered yet is whether Russia and China will fight a war with the US-led West to save the Syrian regime. Of course, Iran is ready to do so.

The introduction of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian military into the conflict, under whatever pretext, will change the rules of the game. The planned joint military exercise is a clear declaration that Russia and China are determined to enforce their resolve not to allow the US and allies to stage military operations to end the Syrian regime's violent crackdown against dissent. It also signals the end of the UN effort led by former secretary general Kofi Annan to broker a peaceful transition of power in Syria.


Big Don said...

How sweet it is to have a strong no-nonsense warsocialistic arsenal of the latest advanced smart weapons and well-equipped troops...
BD sleeps well at night...

Tom said...

Sweetie we've been pulling what Hitler did, or Napoleon, or the British empire-building periods. Taking down one weak country after another. Sooner or later people gang up to try to stop you. The British were smarter at diplomacy than warfare, and people had a lot of trouble ever putting that critical alliance together. We ... well, diplomacy isn't exactly our specialty.

Tom said...

"British in their empire-building pds." Not that you'd know the difference.

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