Should Russia take part in the hostilities in Syria? The ‘how’ and the ‘why’


September 23rd, 2015 – 

Alexander Vassiliev – Rusvesna – 

Translated for Fort Russ by Joaquin Flores – 

War – it is bad, wrong, inhumane. Unfortunately, our world is arranged so that it’s best to be stronger. This is true whether it’s in nature, where the strongest male gets the best female or in human society. Who in kindergarten gets to play with the best toys? The strongest. Accordingly, in international politics generally the use of force has not been outmoded.  The proof of this – the US actions, using military force where they have to defend their interests.

Should Russia get involved in the Syrian conflict? The decision on this issue appears to have been made, now they are actively negotiating with interested parties on the format of the operation, and structure of a possible coalition.

Telephone conversations with defense ministers of Russia and the United States, a permanent dialogue between the heads of the foreign ministries of the two countries, as well as contacts between the SVR and the CIA confirm this assumption. Moreover, on Monday the Prime Minister of Israel, accompanied by the Chief of General Staff of the IDF, and the head of military intelligence, arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian President.  They discussed “a wide range of issues of mutual interest”, i.e. Syria. And the content of the talks is unlikely to be made public.

So why did Russia get involved in the Syrian conflict, both independently and as part of the international coalition?

Firstly, Russia will be able to strengthen its international position in the Middle East, doubly increase its role in solving regional problems and, by extension, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will think twice before they once again to arrange a “swing” with oil prices.

Second, Moscow, even when participating in joint operations with the Americans, will be able “to press” Washington, towards a multipolar world, and finally have this become a reality. This certainly would have Russia get support from Beijing, New Delhi and Teheran – and finalize the new center of power, which pulls other countries disgruntled with US hegemony in the world.

Thirdly, causing damage to the “Islamic state”, Russia will stabilize oil prices, which have fallen in part due to enter the international market of raw materials from well-controlled terrorists at dumped prices (around 20 dollars per barrel).

Fourth, we will support our long-standing and perhaps most faithful ally in the region, once again, confirm the thesis that the Russian did not throw these about. And that, as they say now, “boost authority +100.”

This causes the foreign policy plan, and everyone understands the benefits that will bring in Russia’s participation in the fight against Islamists in Syria. But there is a flip side – we have to reinforce their military, and like in any war losses are not excluded. Here the questions, the whyfors, and the answers are somewhat different.

First and foremost, going to Syria are contractors, these are people who choose military service voluntarily. Therefore all objections from the “Soldiers’ Mothers” and other concerns about “human rights” are inappropriate. If someone was in the army in order to wear a beautiful uniform and receive a lot of money, then he made a mistake in choosing a profession. The structure and the money – this is compensation for the fact that at any time you can be sent to any corner of the globe to protect the national interests of the country.

Second, judging by the reports that appear in the Western media, we are talking about the participation of the Russian army in air force operations, most likely in the coalition. That is why to Syria we are actively transferring warplanes and helicopters. Of course, in addition to pilots are those who will work on the ground to maintain the operation, primarily special forces to support the airborne troops. The main objectives of these units on the ground will be the protection of the military base and rescue crews for downed aircraft, if such occurs. But the main burden in the battle with the Islamists will fall on Syrian soldiers, which is quite logical. After all, it is their country, their home.

Third, the “Islamic State” is a real threat to Russia. In the case of the fall of the government of Bashar al-Assad, the Islamists will go further, and be very active. Within a couple of years they may establish control over one of the Central Asian republics and be even closer to our borders. And these boundaries will not only just weaken, but will not even be a consideration. As a result, Russia will be forced to confront the “Islamic state” on its territory – in Tatarstan, Bashkiria, the Volga region, the North Caucasus – at the same time or in succession. And taking part in the Syrian conflict, Russia will fight with the enemy on foreign soil and with mostly strangers (Syrian) hands.

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