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Syrian war: possible scenarios
Material posted: -Publication date: 04-12-2012

Military-political actions unfolding in the middle East and especially in Syria in the context of the "Arab spring", in the domestic news flow was interpreted mainly from the point of view of security of the Armenian communities. Of course this issue is most relevant today, and the security of communities is one of the most important task of our national security.

In this regard it can be noted that, unlike 2003. when due to the American occupation of Iraq, the Armenian community of virtual collapse, today's Armenia is committed to assist in a difficult situation of the Syrian Armenians: about 5,000 of our compatriots were transported to Armenia and if possible provided to all necessary, also organized training for students.

At the same time, development in Syria influence the security of Armenia. Sometimes the public is not paid to this circumstance neglected, partly due to the policy of some media. Such TV channels as CNN, Euronews, BBC, RBC , etc., as a rule, one-sidedly describe the events, interpreting the phenomenon of the "Arab spring" revolutionary events, due solely to domestic factors of a country. In particular, the situation in Syria, the difficult situation is presented as a primitive clash between government forces (who are accused of violent acts against civilians) and "fighting for freedom" opposition. Meanwhile, in occurring in the country involved in the development of not only regional, but also a major geopolitical actors seeking to implement their strategic goals. I.e. it can be stated that apparent local Syrian war is in reality the epicenter of global conflict.

1. The causes of war

The structure of the current Middle East, according to the idea forming its geopolitical architects, among other things, must satisfy one fundamental prerequisite: in this region should not be centers of public and political will, which can fundamentally endanger the political or economic interests of the U.S. and its ally, Israel1. I should also say that this program is consistently being implemented: this is evidenced, in particular, the precedents of Iraq and Libya, where regime change took a few months. However, in the context of the ongoing strategy of the main opposition actors in the region – Iran and its ally Syria2, despite the many used against Iran sanctions and de-facto declared war on Syria, for nearly two years, managed to maintain sovereignty and their inherent national-state system. Of course, this situation is not only the result of volitional qualities of the authorities and societies, resources and a coordinated policy of these two countries. Here the crucial point is that Iran and Syria in this conflict supported by the geopolitical heavyweights – Russia and China. It can be argued that, perhaps for the first time after the Cold war the West is in some kind of coordinated resistance. Although it is too early to speak about global conflict, the West-East, however, in the case of amplification of the current trends in the Syrian war are indicated such scenarios. In this context, it is also possible that the current aggravation of Sino-Japanese relations over the disputed Islands – a pre-planned action that aims to constrain China through the creation of regional problems and to distract the attention of the superpowers from the middle East areas3. It is obvious that the deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations is extremely important: in particular, it is enough to recall that several years ago was put in circulation the idea of an Asian NATO, which were supposed to include not only these two superpowers, but also both Koreas. But back to today's realities.

2. The conflicting parties

Description and analysis involved in military operations in Syria forces, their military and political reasons, religious and ethnic factors is a task of more extensive research. So I will try to briefly present the realities, based on today's information sources.

Presented in the media as opposition to the so-called Free Syrian army (FSA) consists mainly of infiltrators into Syria from Afghanistan, Libya, other Arab countries and even from Azerbaijan mercenaries, some of which are to Islamic terrorist organizations. Anyway, according to many foreign experts, and the Syrians in that army, Syrian citizens are a minority4. With such a wide variety of FSA, of course, far from being a single organization and still has no Central command. The same can be said about the political opposition body – the Syrian national Council. At the same time, the decentralization gives the mercenaries a certain tactical benefits, because this makes their actions even more unpredictable. Plus, being in the ranks of the liberation army of the Islamic radicals blow themselves: it is known that against this form of terrorism, in Syrian conditions, it is almost impossible to fight effectively.

The number of militants, according to various estimates, ranges from 30 to 70 thousand people. The funding and provision of ammunition is carried out mainly at the expense of the so-called "acharistskali tandem" – Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Mercenaries get intelligence, military and other support from the intelligence services of countries-members of NATO (particularly the USA, the UK, Turkey and France).

Anti-government forces especially big support from Turkey, military training in the territory which, before they enter Syria, is a significant part of mercenaries. The Turkish armed forces de facto deployed in Syria, military action, and that participation was not limited to reconnaissance flights and attacks on Syrian territories: it is sufficient to note that the Turkish officers in command of about 12 thousand operating in Aleppo mercenaries5. There are Turkish sources confirmed information that Syria had captured a Turkish General and about 30 military advisors6.

Some analysts are inclined to think that Turkey can undertake a full-scale invasion of Syria, and this opinion was fixed after the Turkish Majlis "gave" conducting such a military operation. However, this step is associated with many international, domestic and (given the relatively high readiness of the Syrian army) military difficulties. Today against the Syrian so-called "strategy of exhaustion" is much more effective than direct invasion. At the same time cannot be completely ruled out large-scale Turkish attack on Syria: it is possible in the context of collective military action the US-NATO7. To this question we still will return.

Opposing FSA Syrian army (according to prewar data – about 320 thousand people) is not acting alone. According to numerous sources, military and material support to the Assad regime provides Iran. According to some media reports, soldiers of special units of the army of that country (often called "revolutionary Guards") are engaged in direct military operations. Iran is a party of the conflict in the Syrian war. There are also unconfirmed reports about the presence of Russian military advisers. Military equipment and ammunition to the government forces supplied mainly by Russia and partially China, there is also North Korea, with which the Assad regime maintains traditional ties. Syria also receives support from some Arab countries (in particular, the Shiite government of Iraq) and Shia organizations. Based on the current situation in the region – particularly in Syria and Turkey have intensified Kurdish factions. In Syria there are about two million Kurds who seek autonomy, but at the same time fighting against the PAS8. Given the fact that the Kurdish militants in Turkey actually fight against the regular Turkish army, should be taken into account that at least at this stage, the Kurds assist Syrian government forces. It is noteworthy that in each situation, government forces, as a rule, achieve superiority over the mercenaries. This gives rise to some commentators to opine that the Syrian army can win in this conflict9. Overall, however, the situation of the Syrian state and the socio-economic system is successively decomposed, in almost all parts of the country disrupted normal life, there are tens of thousands of victims, and the number of refugees exceeds two hundred thousand people. To make predictions in the current situation, more than difficult, but let us try to consider schematically several scenarios of possible developments.

3. The possible development and scenarios

As information flows, Iran and Russia in various negotiating formats, making attempts to find ways of ending the conflict, which is considered even the resignation of Assad and the formation of a transitional government. However, the West and regional actors believe that time is on their side, do not respond to these attempts and find yourself inadmissible for a controlled change of power in Syria10. Note that in purely military terms in Syria there is a unique dynamic equilibrium: government forces using aircraft, armored vehicles and artillery, site-specific manage to suppress the enemy, but also penetrate into the country armed with modern anti-aircraft and anti-tank complexes new armed groups that extend the geography of the attacks. The impression that if the present tendencies will continue and there will be new unexpected circumstances, such war may be delayed.

However, along with the "hot war" against Syria and Iran is also "cold war" in the form of economic sanctions and information-psychological action (which is extremely active Qatari TV "al Jazeera"), the purpose of which is to undermine the state and the socio-economic Foundation of these countries. As a result, Iran and Syria face significant challenges, particularly in the economic sphere, but to talk about the destruction is quite flexible Iranian economy too early. As a result of all these circumstances the situation which has lasted for two years and needs to be solved.

As one of the possible scenarios you can consider the above-mentioned intervention in Syria by NATO forces led by the United States. This style of action can be resolved only military tasks: after the missile and air strikes by government forces, perhaps, lose their superiority over the mercenaries, and those – perhaps with the support of the Turkish army and capture Damascus. Note, however, that such a scenario is to bypass the UN decisions is a direct challenge to China and Russia and could trigger a military-political rapprochement of these powers against a "common enemy". This is highly undesirable, but, nevertheless, is the strategic perspective of the future. Today, perhaps, much more essential direct response of Iran, which will take intervention as the beginning of an inevitable war against their own country. This can lead to the fact that the struggle against the new authorities in Damascus can be conducted according to the same recipe, according to which the current mercenaries are fighting with Assad, and military operations delocalised and spread throughout the region. It is not excluded that as a result of actions from both parties will form the situation (if, for example, will close the Strait of Hormuz that transports approximately 30-40% of the world's oil), when "hot" conflict, the US/Israel-Iran will be inevitable. This scenario could become tragic for the region (and not only), because theoretically it cannot be excluded that in the course of the war can be caused by the nuclear strikes, and this can make not only Israel: is not considered fantastic also the possibility that during the implementation of its nuclear program, Iran has managed to create a limited number of nuclear weapons.

In any case, this scenario is a major challenge for Armenia, and not only in terms of the consequences of nuclear war11. The current military action in the case of some unfavorable for Syria and Iran scenario developments can lead to disruption in the balance of power in the region and the establishment of the Turkish hegemony. There is no doubt that the strengthening of Turkey, which has taken an uncompromising stance on NKR issue and engaged in the blockade of our borders, inevitably will further toughen its position towards Armenia. It is remarkable that even today some Turkish politicians urged to establish an Islamic NATO and Islamic peacekeeping forces, thereby resuscitating the program's ideological father Erdogan – ex-Prime Minister Erbakan TR12. Individual attention also to the nuclear program of the country13, the implementation of which will be a serious challenge first of all for Israel, Greece and Armenia.

It is obvious that even the probability of such a hypothetical scenario with its unpredictable consequences is not "to deceive" not only the countries of the region, but today's main global geopolitical actor – United States. The created situation forces the search options and scenarios "of the world". Perhaps this aspect should be taken article by Kenneth Waltz14printed in the prestigious journal of the American Council on foreign relations Foreign Affairs, the main thesis of which is that if Iran will have a limited number of nuclear weapons, it will contribute to establishing stability in the region. Similar ideas are expressed in the article by the President of the Council on foreign relations Richard Haas'15, printed in Foreign Affairs. Note that the previously "peaceful" scenario in relations with Iran was expected in the scenarios of the head of the analytical center "STRATFOR" George Friedman16. In the above context should be considered accidental that the American press reported that between the US and Iran proceeded direct negotiations17. Both sides denied this information, but not so convincingly that allows you to think (judging by other information on the subject) that certain attempts to find common ground and compromises, however, are made.

Of course, negotiations are not a guarantee of peace in the same time period the U.S. and Israel have begun joint anti-aircraft and anti-missile exercises and military circles of Iran was harsh and uncompromising statements, which, of course, you can comment on, including, as strengthening their own positions in the ongoing negotiations (of course, if you have them). Note also that the improvement of relations between Iran and US/Israel is not a sufficient condition for peaceful resolution of the Syrian war. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the current environment are not always inclined to obey the calls outgoing from the region of the United States to cease hostilities (which in a particular case may not be contrary to the interests of the United States).

1 Գագիկ Հարությունյան, nor Dar Մերձավոր Արևելք, իրողություններ և հեռանկարներ, Գլոբուս, #3(24), էջ 3, 2012 (Gagik Harutyunyan, the New middle East: reality and prospects. The globe #3(24), p. 3, 2012, in Armenian.lang.).

2 In the analytical community are harping on the idea that if we manage to solve the Iranian question, then you can update also the question of disintegration of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Especially actively discussed the future of Turkey, where the Kurdish issue became topical, but in a society compounded of the so-called "identity crisis". Plus, escalated political tension between supporters of the current Islamic and former shokoladnoi development models. Some analysts have convincingly noted that the Prime Minister Erdogan's aggressive foreign policy based on the ideology of neo-Ottomanism, also contains significant risks (see, for example, Gevorg Minasyan, the Imam did not keep his excitement. Expert, #30-31 (813), p. 69, 2012; Olga Vlasova, Gevorg Minasyan, Big mistake Turkey. Expert, #42 (824), p. 18, 2012).

3 Is an attempt to aggravate relations between China and Vietnam in connection with the ownership of Yongxin island (see, for example, http://topwar.ru/16899-kitay-obyavil-spornyy-ostrov-svoim-gorodom.html). It is noteworthy that the nationalist sentiment in Vietnam around this issue was achieved through the use of virtual social networks.

4 Krasko V., the Year of spring. – M.: Postum, 2011.

5 About the destabilization of the situation in Syria, Foreign Military Review, #8, p. 99, 2012.

6 Syria: a record of events. Foreign Military Review, #9, p. 103, 2012.

7 Cm., for example, The killing fields, The Economist, v.405, #8807, p. 15, 2012; Sergei Balmasov, Preparation of intervention in Syria, http://rusrand.ru/pubpoll/pubpoll_506.html.

8 the Syrian Kurds have United to fight the rebels, http://lenta.ru/news/2012/11/23/join/.

9 See, for example, In the Syrian conflict overcomes Bashar al – Assad- the European diplomat, http://www.regnum.ru/news/1583305html.

10 Cm., for example, Turkey's foreign Minister: "Yemen scenario" for Syria is no longer possible, http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/20121021050011.shtml.

11 the Discussion of this scenario see Gagik Harutyunyan, the collapse of the system and shaping the future, p. 178, Yerevan, 2011.

12 In Turkey, there are calls to create an "Islamic NATO" and "Islamic peacekeeping forces", http://www.regnum.ru/news/1551857.html.

13 Gagik Harutyunyan, the collapse of the system and shaping the future, p. 247, Yerevan, 2011,

Գագիկ Հարությունյան, Թուրքական միջուկային սպառնալիքը (Gagik Harutyunyan, Turkish nuclear threat, in Armenian.lang.), http://noravank.am/arm/articles/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=6451, Արա Մարջանյան, Միջուկային Թուրքիա (Ara Marjanyan, Nuclear Turkey, in Armenian.lang.), http://noravank.am/arm/articles/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=6470.

14 Kenneth Waltz, Why Iran should get the bomb (nuclear balance would mean stability), Russia in global Affairs, vol. 10, #4, p. 138, 2012, Foreign Affairs, # 4, 2012.

15 Richard N. Haass, Time to Test Iran, http://www.cfr.org/iran/time-test-iran/p29300?cid=nlc-public-the_world_this_week-link16-20121019#.

16 George Friedman, the Next 100 years, "Kommersant", "EKSMO", 2010, George Friedman, the Next 10 years , "Kommersant", "PENGUIN" 2011.

17http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/news/2012/10/21/n_2580417.shtml.

"Globus" analytical journal, # 11, 2012
 

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