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Syria: lull before the storm?
Material posted: Publication date: 21-11-2013

The intensity of conducting of information campaigns around hot spots can largely be judged on the approach of important events that might affect the situation not only in the region but also worldwide. No exception and the situation in the zone of the Syrian conflict and the middle East.

Since the second half of September the interest of the world media to the topic of Syria has diminished. After a massive information attack the end of August, when it seemed that nothing would save this Arab country from the U.S. "retribution", like a lull has brought forth a sense of possible imminent end of the conflict. However, the past shows that, as a rule, the key players who take off the cream in such a game, rarely agree even on the draw. Such pauses have always been used by them to regroup, change tactics, find new allies. After that usually followed a surge of tension. The facts are not far to seek. Suffice it to recall how the situation developed in Syria from April to August of the ill-fated 2013.

In the spring of 2013 into a military initiative to the Syrian government army was accompanied by a sharp reduction in the number of publications about the conflict in the Western media. Then the edge information of the attack was transferred to Russia. At the same time, a series of disinformation about the alleged cases of the use by the Syrian army of chemical weapons, senior American military and politicians began to make predictions about a possible military solution to the Syrian problem. The climax was a provocation with the use of WMD on August 21.

If to shift this logic of development of events at the moment, the phase of rearrangement has been completed. Players are prepared to play a prepared party. It is felt by the resumption of activity of the information campaign in the Western media. Facts with a high degree of accuracy allows to predict that in the near future we can expect a sharp aggravation of the situation in the conflict zone. The situation is greatly complicated by the fact that too many want to solve their problems at the expense of others, while their goals are often diametrically opposed planes.

The most transparent in this case, the position of States that support the current government in Syria.

For Russia Syria, on the one hand, it is a chance to reaffirm itself as a power capable of influencing international environment and to consistently defend their interests. On the other hand, the loss of SAR meant a loss last ally in the middle East that will immediately entail a series of negative geopolitical consequences – the deprivation of the black sea fleet access to the Mediterranean sea, to the Turkish expansion in the Caucasus and increasing instability on its southern borders. In the case of a loss will be fatal and image loss of Moscow, from which it is very difficult to recover.

In the history of young Russia had already a sad experience, when military victories on the battlefield turned severe defeats on the diplomatic front. Suffice it to recall the famous shot of Russian paratroopers at the Pristina airfield during the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia. So the Russian government is making every effort to ensure that its initiatives for a peaceful exit from the crisis were unsuccessful. Otherwise, Russia may depart from the club of great powers, where she and so on to the Syrian events was not the leading roles. The position of Moscow is complicated by the fact that now she had been virtually forced to fight on two fronts, declaring in the midst of the struggle for Syria of the decision of Ukraine to become an associate member of the European Union, which undoubtedly makes the Russian government "pull" a considerable part of its forces to maintain its leading position in the former Soviet Union significantly weakened the Syrian direction.

The interests of China lie more in the economic sphere. He is interested in stable energy supplies to support economic growth. The overthrow of Bashar al-Assad will lead to a rise in tensions with Iran, one of the key suppliers of hydrocarbons to China, and its gradual falling under the influence of the West, which, in turn, will significantly weaken the economic power of the PRC, seeking in the near future the first economy in the world.

In General, Iran currently is the only country in the region (Syria can not be considered), which is able to pursue an independent policy from the West. This state is a geopolitical enemy of Israel and the Gulf monarchies, and has the audacity to claim to regional leadership, which is very unnerving the US. Therefore, Iran will probably was initially one of the main goals, which was labeled the instigators of the Syrian war, since the fall of Bashar al-Assad means the final international isolation and imminent collapse. This explains the determination of the position of Tehran on the protection of the current government in Syria, as a matter of life and death.

As to the opponents of Bashar al-Assad, their common position is briefly expressed U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. During a recent tour of the Middle East he said that despite different approaches to the "tactics" of the end of the civil war in Syria, the ultimate goal of the U.S. and its allies are changes in the power structures of this country. However, the overthrow of the incumbent President is probably not even goal of the anti-Syrian coalition, but a means. But their goals are quite diverse, because in this camp there are even geopolitical rivals such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Western countries in the Syrian issue yet follow in the footsteps of the United States. At the same time, many European capitals are already beginning to understand that the United States is far beyond the ocean, and from permanent crisis in the middle East suffer the most. Hydrocarbon prices are rising, increasing Muslim population in European countries, and therefore there is a growing number of adherents of radical Islam and may soon be another "Arab spring" will spring somewhere near Paris.

The most interesting in the context of the Syrian crisis, the position of Israel. Since the beginning of antigovernment protests in North Africa and the middle East, he showed his characteristic passiveness, occasionally stating that despite strained relations with the Arabs, the Jewish state is beneficial to the preservation of the well-known stable of old regimes, not the coming to power of radical Islamists. Although normally Israeli politicians and media tend to be emotional, even hysterical reactions to affect them questions. Suffice it to recall how the Israeli political establishment responds to doubt the Holocaust. In this case one after the other neighbours is torn to the power radical Islam is the most ardent enemy of Israel, and him so listless response. However, if you carefully consider the situation in the region the situation, it becomes clear that this passivity is only apparent. Apparently, Israel is beneficial to the maintenance of tension in Syria and other neighbouring States. Israel thus solves several important problems:

  • the destruction of the Syrian army, the purpose of which originally was the war with Israel. It is the second year leads contrarians exhausting struggle, suffering heavy losses in men and weapons, using the resource of the already old technology. Even in case of victory over the opposition, the armed forces of the RAA for a long time can not restore the combat potential;
  • the weakening of Hezbollah participating in the fighting on the side of Assad. Associated fighting in Syria, it suffers considerable losses (according to some sources, the organization has already lost over 250 people killed and over 1,000 wounded, with a total population of about 20,000 military wing), and also can not conduct simultaneously and actively against Israel;
  • after the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, Israel remains the only country in the region possessing weapons of mass destruction, which drastically increases its impact;
  • the weakening of Iran, which risks losing its main ally in the region, and also has to spend considerable resources to assist, which places a serious burden on the already weakened sanctions the economy;
  • grinding of terrorists, the majority of which relates the battles with the Syrian army and thinks about how to survive rather than how to harm your sworn enemy – Israel.
  • the possibility of solving its territorial problems in the event of the dissolution of Syria into several small and weak States.

Israel is beneficial to the Arab world remained divided. Only then he can not worry about its existence. And the war against Iraq, and the so-called "Arab spring" was beaten primarily on the States that have a strong or charismatic leader, have the potential to unite quite disparate Islamic state or a strong army, or both. Already killed Hussein and Gaddafi. Iraq, Egypt and Libya who once were the flagships of the Arab world, weakened and torn by internal contradictions. Syria two years is a bloody civil war, and Bashar al-Assad, the latest in the Arab world, a strong leader, not to unite the Arabs. And while Israel clearly was not involved in all these conflicts, but the benefit of such development of the situation obvious to him. And of course the Islamic terrorism threat, but does not purport to be an assassin of the state. With him, Israel has learned enough to successfully fight.

Main Arab ally and the lender of the USA , Saudi Arabia, previously preferring to remain in the shadows, recently began to show nervousness. Being the main sponsor of the Syrian rebels and giving them support considerable resources, the Saudis believe that should be the main recipients of dividends. Sensing that it can "to throw", Saudi Arabia has decided to proceed to open action, sweep demonstrative demarche at the UN, and even threatening the United States. The decision of Riyadh is perhaps a signal that he currently feels very insecure. Kingdom now hard and with great anxiety watching as the United States, the main guarantor of its security, devoting more attention to solving their internal problems. In addition, Iran, a regional rival of the Saudis, probably, soon will be able to significantly improve its relations with the United States. Moreover, Tehran has made considerable influence in Iraq, where most residents are Shiites.

The Royal family of Saud, which rules the country, now faces growing discontent of its people, fueled by the events of the "Arab spring", as well as with reduced influence in the international arena, due to various reasons, in particular to the depletion of its oil reserves. In this situation the ruling house decided to weaken Iran. Wooing away the key ally is one way of weakening. To do this, the Saudis not only have no regrets funding the militants, who for the second year fighting in Syria, they are even prepared to pay a possible strike on Syria by Western countries led by the USA.

However, the main threat to Saudi Arabia seems to still not from Iran, whose own problems right now, but from its friends-the Americans. When you do not want to give money, you can just merge the ailing lender, arranging his "Arab spring". Just the other day in the Western media appeared the news that Saudi Arabia allegedly intends to acquire in Pakistan ready ballistic medium-range missiles with nuclear charges, and already has ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. What is not a reason for another "triumph of democracy"?

In the near future the main battle will be around the conference Geneva-2. As already reported "Military-political review", it is most likely that the overall efforts of the anti-Syrian coalition will be focused on delaying its implementation, with subsequent breakdown. Steps in this direction have already been taken by the United States and its allies. Will be developed in parallel attempts to seize the initiative in combat operations against Syrian government troops. Such tactics would gain the time, needed to somehow glued together from disparate political wing of the opposition a semblance of "legitimate" government and present it as the only legitimate authority.

At the same time the West will be made unprecedented steps towards Iran, to weaken his help Bashar al-Assad in exchange for significant economic concessions. If the U.S. and its allies succeed, the official Damascus will have little chance of winning. Tehran this is not very useful, since the lifting of sanctions is likely to be a ploy of the West and, once it reaches its goals, Iran will again be subjected to economic and political pressures.

In this tense context, in the most difficult situation is Russia. In case of failure of the conference Geneva-2, it may be declared the main culprit for the protracted suffering of the Syrian people.

Whatever it was, judging by the current situation and Syria and the entire middle East is still very long will see the peaceful sky over your head. Whether so it actually, we will see in the near future.

Vladimir Abugov


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