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Development around Syria
Material posted: Publication date: 14-03-2012

One of the most notable recent developments around Syria was a certain shift in Russia's position. It is known that Syria is an important Russian foreign policy importance in the middle East.

Situational observation

It is known that Syria is an important Russian foreign policy importance in the middle East. It is through Damascus, Moscow has managed to establish a presence in many regional developments, and the loss of Syria will seriously limit the possibilities of Russia in the middle East. Therefore, since last March, when Syria began mass unrest, and in recent months pressure from the US and its allies on the regime of al-Assad gradually grew, Moscow's position has remained unchanged – to preserve the status quo1.

However, in recent weeks in the Syrian issue in Moscow, as already noted, there has been some progress.

After 4 February, Moscow and Beijing have used in the UN Security Council veto against proposed USA, France and great Britain resolution2, on 7 February in Damascus there arrived the Minister for foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and head of foreign intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov. Although the results of their negotiations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had unveiled exclusively the official language, the fact that Moscow to Damascus were aimed such a key figure demonstrates the challenge of achieving a new solution with al-Assad3.

But if the talks with the Syrian side of the goal the Russian side is not particularly mystery – to mitigate the attitude of the regime of al-Assad (in favor of this, in particular by the fact that after the visit of Lavrov and Fradkov stated that in the near future in Syria will adopt a new Constitution that will give the population more political power), something unknown, what is the objective of Moscow in the negotiations with the Western powers. And that such talks take place, evidenced not only by the statements of Western leaders ("to understand and explain Moscow"): for Russian and Syrian sides would be illogical to come to any agreement without the agreement of the U.S. and its partners.

No coincidence that after the visit of Lavrov and Fradkov went to Damascus, Deputy foreign Minister of China Zhai Jun, where he held talks with Syrian President. In the end, on February 18 it became known that Russia was invited to participate in scheduled at the end of the month in Tunis international forum called "Friends of Syria", which should be discussed the issue of applying new sanctions against the regime of al-Assad.

A key indicator of a developing around Syria situation, of course, is the approach the US and its partners or, more precisely, the evolution of this approach.

If you look at the issue only in the context of Western countries information policy, clearly, today Syria is the first line of the Western agenda. After Libya, the Western society is prepared to permanently change the regime in Damascus.

The toppling of Bashar al-Assad in Syria will definitely bring a huge geopolitical dividends Western countries, and in this respect the most important, perhaps, is the deepening isolation of Iran. However, there is another circumstance: given the fact that in two key countries of the anti-Syrian coalition, the United States and France, soon after the presidential election, but foreign policy has traditionally been and remains a chance for some of the incumbent candidate for the administrations of Obama and Sarkozy's defeat or retreat in the Syrian issue is highly undesirable.

Meanwhile the Western coalition today only increases the pressure on Damascus. Some experts, given certain events of the past weeks, has said that the West began to realize the program of the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.

In early February, the United States, France, Britain and several European countries evacuated their diplomatic missions from Syria, after which their example was followed by all the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf, Libya and Egypt. It is noteworthy that after this official Moscow expressed its concern: the representative of the Russian foreign Ministry said that the removal of the diplomatic missions from Syria may indicate that the planned military action. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the decision to withdraw their missions from Syria, the West adopted after Russia and China used the UN Security Council veto against the Syrian resolution, which caused serious discontent in the Western countries.

The next remarkable fact is the appearance of the leader of the Syrian opposition. On February 16 it became known that the main opposition Alliance Syria, the Syrian national Council, has re-elected its leader Burhan of Galuna, and this seems to have ended the struggle for leadership in this structure. Almost simultaneously acting in Syria armed opposition groups have stated that consolidating creates a new structure, the Supreme revolutionary Council, which should coordinate their actions.

As a last important indicator are observed appeared in American, European and Israeli media publication that the Pentagon was preparing for military action against Syria, and to this end the American drones are already making reconnaissance flights over Syrian territory and that Syria already operational British and Kuwaiti troops of special purpose. Of course, it is possible that these publications – only information and psychological pressure on the regime of al-Assad, but if the West decided to overthrow the current Damascus regime, ultimately this can be done solely by military means, as happened in Libya.

By the way, against this background, it is noteworthy appearing February 12 in the Internet video message of the current leader of al-Qaeda, in which he calls on Muslims to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad.


The situation in Syria is progressively destabilizing, and today works in favor of Western countries. On the other hand, if we consider the resources of the parties, the advantage is again on the side of the West. Therefore, for the USA and their partners, at least at present, it is illogical to recede, and soon the pressure on the regime of al-Assad will only increase.

In this case available for Bashar al-Assad's options, it seems, is not so much to continue the war or to resign. However, there is also the factor of the allies. According to the assessment of the overwhelming majority of the international expert community, the only country that can provide military assistance to Syria, is Iran, as in the case of both Russia and China's relations with the West today have more strategic importance than the Syrian issue. However, given the disparity of resources, it is difficult to say how effective will the Iranian aid to Damascus.

The next important question is where you can wait for news. It is unlikely that the news will come from the axis of the West-Syria: judging by the growing momentum in Syria bloodshed, there is still a dead end. Instead, it is likely the flow of news from the negotiations between Russia (and maybe China) to the West.

1 With this purpose Moscow even resorted to unusual for its foreign policy step – show of force: Russian warships headed to Syria.

2 According to this resolution, if within 30 days, the Syrian authorities did not stop the country's ongoing violence, the UN Security Council will reserve the right to apply sanctions against Damascus. Moscow and Beijing have declared that they have fears that Western countries are using the UN security Council resolution to implement in Syria "Libyan scenario".

3 indicator of the shift in the Russian position in the Syrian issue is the change to the coverage in the Moscow media. If earlier the situation in Syria were presented exclusively in the light of "foreign intervention", today it is not uncommon to find criticism of the regime of al-Assad.


Artashes Ter-Harutyunyan


Tags: Russia , Syria

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