The Truth About The Russians: With Their Stubborn Stance And Support For The Syrian Regime

06 June 2012

By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed

Russia's stances have not only been negative towards Syria, but also with regards to most major issues. Thus, when we look for signals from Moscow in the hope that it will change its stance on the Syrian tragedy, perhaps we are deluding ourselves. In fact, all the justifications we make for the Russians are not true; they will not change their stance until after Bashar al-Assad's fall.

I can give a long list of similar Russian stances dealing with dangerous international crises, from Bosnia to Herzegovina to Kosovo to Libya, and now to Syria. In all these cases, Russia stood alongside the villain until the end. Even its stance on the Palestinian issue - which is better than that of the US has always been a mere stance of solidarity. Russia's position in support of Iran has encouraged the latter to go to excesses in its nuclear project, and has led to dangerous regional and international ramifications in the Gulf region.

Of course, all superpowers have their own policies; they do not behave in accordance with the pressures of the news and the media. In major crises, however, we expect these states to be realistic when it comes to serving their interests and the interests of others. The Americans were pragmatic when they realized that their ally Hosni Mubarak was a hopeless case in Egypt. Before that, the Americans were also realistic when they saw that Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was unable to do anything. As for Moscow, it always adopts a bizarre stubborn policy. In the 1990s, Moscow backed the butchers of Belgrade until the last moment, and later did the same in Libya. For the past 15 months, it has been supporting Bashar al-Assad despite the horrific crimes that his forces have been perpetrating since April of last year. Not a month passes without horrible scenes and acts of widespread killing and torture throughout the country against the civilian population. Russia is supporting a falling regime, a regime that has no value or popularity in the region, a regime that is not productive or influential in the wider world.

The truth is that Russia's stance has prolonged the Syrian crisis, and perhaps it has also hurt Moscow's ally al-Assad. A compromise political solution could have been agreed upon in the beginning. However, Bashar al-Assad's attitude that he can disobey the world confident that Russia will protect him in the Security Council against any resolution to fight him has led to the adoption of a savage and oppressive policy. This policy has since made it impossible for him or for any member of his regime to be rescued in the future, regardless of the duration of the crisis. Now, despite all their efforts to support it and protect it, the Russians will not be able to keep the regime standing on its feet, it will suffer an ugly fall. A war consisting of more than 70 percent of the Syrian people against the regime is now under way. Al-Assad will fall no matter how long it takes.

With their stubborn stance and support for the Syrian regime, against the wrath of the Syrian people and Arab and international indignation, the Russians are imperiling al-Assad just as they did with their ally Muammar Gaddafi last year. At one stage during the confrontations, the Libyan dictator was prepared to accept a solution proposed by the government of South Africa that would have allowed him to step down and live in exile with international guarantees. It was a political solution that would have preserved Libya. However, Gaddafi was then reassured by Russia's military and political support; he thought that he was leaning on a solid wall. In the end, however, he suffered a horrible fall.


Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.



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