The Russian withdrawal: a message for Syria and the multipolar world

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“We are far from Western-style neo-colonial interventions aimed at turning countries into protectorates with puppet governments.”

Ronald ZONCA
In Boulevard Voltaire, March 16, 2016
Translated from French by Tom Winter

March 14, much to the surprise of the West, Vladimir Putin told his Defense Minister to withdraw the Russian contingent from Syria.

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First off, the Russian president had specified when he announced the sending of forces that the operation would be limited in time, and after six months of the intervention, the record is quite flattering. We have gone from imperialist demands to speeches that finally mention the Syrian people. [! –tr] It is now up to the Syrian people to choose their destiny. 

By withdrawing, Russia shows that it does not impose a choice. This intervention has allowed us to see two camps: That of democracy through the ballot box, and that of the illegitimized army supported by those who exploit chaos.

The Syrian Army, with the transfer of Russian matériel and of technology, is from now on capable of conducting effective military operations against the Islamic State, and, above all, has recovered its morale in reconquering its national territory.

Even though centered on the defense of its own territory, the Russian Army has shown that it is capable of projecting force rapidly and efficiently beyond its frontiers. The effectiveness of the resources committed to the project has imposed on NATO the necessity of sheathing its usual smugness. And Russian arms companies have demonstrated the quality of their production in the field and will certainly derive competitive advantages.

The coming months will also let us see whether Iran will strengthen its influence in the Middle East. The Kurdish question is goint to be  a major test for Iran’s diplomacy. It is a good bet that, under the influence of Tehran-Moscow diplomatic axis, we will witness a stabilization of the region because of the decline of Western nuisances.

Russia has brought a decisive aid to Syria but though Russia agreed to help she does not want to replace Syria in its struggle for its own rights. It is on the Syrian people to take their destiny in hand, to choose their leaders and modes of government. It is for Syria alone to decide through the ballot box any possible departure of its president.

No offense to critics of Russian foreign policy, but Russian policy has delivered an important message for the emerging multipolar world. Russia is ready to assist States militarily to regain their sovereignty. We are far from Western-style neo-colonial interventions aimed at turning countries into protectorates with puppet governments.

In calling for the withdrawal of the Russian contingent in Syria, Putin has just shown that Russia knows how to use its military power to restore the democratic order in a country, and not turn it into banana republic. 

Highlighting the principles of international law which are the basis of its action and the withdrawal of its forces, Russia is sending a strong message.
People can count on Russia to help them recover their sovereignty within a framework of international legitimacy.

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