Russia’s Greatest Achievement of 2016: Syria still stands strong!

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September 29, 2016 – Fort Russ News – 

RIANovosti – translated by J. Arnoldski – 

Russia’s main achievement over the last year of the Syrian campaign is that Syria still exists as a state, the chief editor of the magazine “Russia in Global Politics,” Fedor Lukyanov, believes.

“Russia’s main achievement is that it managed to prevent the complete collapse of Syrian statehood. If Russia had not intervened a year ago, then it is likely that neither Bashar al-Assad nor the state of Syria itself would exist. The risk of such a scenario in the summer and autumn of 2015 was very real,” Lukyanov said in an interview to Sputnik.

At the same time, the expert remarked, it cannot be said that the situation in the country has only moved towards stabilization since the moment that the Russian operation in Syria began.  None of the contesting sides can win by military means and, at the same time, the political process is stalled in its place because the warring sides do not understand that the conflict cannot be resolved by purely military means. 

The situation in Syria is constantly complicated by Moscow and Washington’s accusations against each other and their unwillingness to coordinate their operations in the format needed to defeat the Islamic State. The result of this confrontation has been the breakdown of the ceasefire, which the US publicly blamed Russia for without any proof.

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“The level of distrust between the US and Russia is practically 100%. Against this backdrop, the information war is part of the overall confrontation in the Syrian conflict. After all, Russia plays a very significant, almost the main role in Syria today from the point of view of being able to influence the conflict. This causes great irritation among the Americans,” Lukyanov pointed out. 

According to the political analyst’s assessment, the ceasefire agreed upon today by Moscow and Washington has no future prospects. The largest problem standing in the way of its realization is the absence of a unified position among the Americans.

Lukyanov posited: “There are some among the Americans who are really predisposed to such an agreement. I think that President Obama and State Secretary Kerry are oriented towards this. But the Pentagon clearly has another position.” 

At the same time, Barack Obama, the outgoing president, has all the less opportunities to hold his line while the Pentagon does not trust Russia at all, the political scientist added. In Lukyanov’s opinion, the situation of the Syrian opposition is becoming more complicated and involving more factors, but the risks of the conflict spreading throughout the region are lower now than a year ago. 

“Before, the main players in the Syrian confrontation besides Russia and the US were regional countries such as turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iran. Now everything has essentially changed. The essence of the conflict has changed. Regional countries have moved slightly to the side and everything is focused on the Syrian players. Now a lot depends on them,” the expert believes. 

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