Contents

Introduction

First: the historic Russian-Syrian relationship

Second, Russia’s position towards the Syrian issue

  1. Pre-intervention phase
  2. Post-intervention

Third: What does Russia expect from meddling in the Middle East

Fourth: Russia’s intervention reflections on regional relations

Fifth, the Russian-American Aleppo agreement and the Aleppo truce

Sixth: Two superpowers on the Syrian territory

Seventh: The aftermath of the Russian intervention in Syria

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Direct Russian intervention in the conflict in Syria had some drastic effects and complications on the situation in whole, deterring any possible political solution, prolonging the war, and exacerbating the Syrian tragedy through the barbaric bombing carried out by its own air force, targeting civilians and formations of the armed opposition all over Syria, and on top of all these disastrous effects, the Russian interference has unveiled a conflict on the regional and international influence and agency war. What prompted the Russian intervention? And could Russia withstand the political, economic and other related consequences? What is next?

 

First: the historic Russian-Syrian relationship

Syrian’s relationship with the former Soviet Union, and its descendent Russia dates back to the fifties of the last century when the Cold War was at its peak. Syria, who had rejected the Baghdad Pact and the Fertile Crescent project, aiming to limit the Soviet expansion, needed Russia to arm its army, and perhaps inherited the Egyptian-Soviet relations after the collapse of the Syrian-Egyptian unity. This relationship had also seen a remarkable development in the early eighties of the last century when the two countries signed a “friendship and cooperation agreement” in October 1980. Since then, this relationship continued after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the heir Russia, who did not bother by the Soviet debts owed by Syria, and found silent methods to wipe them off.

 

The Syrian regime was always keen on sustaining and deepening the relationship with the Russians, not only because of the need for Russian arms, or because the Syrian army has adopted the Russian methods in military organizing, training and fighting, but also for political and economic reasons, and especially as Syria was the main beneficiary of this relationship in all its manifestations; and had been similarly careful to have a good relationship with the Americans too, regardless of its attitude in the media towards them. Now more than ever, it is easier to understand the significance of the saying that had echoed for decades that the Syrian regime was flirting with Moscow and going to bed with Washington, after the functional role that has been set for it by the international players, including Russia, was exposed, calling for a better and more calculated relationship with all parties involved.

 

On the other hand, Moscow was also keen on its relationship with the Syrian regime, considering it was the most faithful ally in the Middle East, and it didn’t do the same as Sadat, for example, when he expelled the Soviet experts on the eve of October 1973 war, on the contrary, it worked to secure its interests at all times, even though they weren’t that tempting in a strategic sense, until 30 September 2015 at least.

 

Second, Russia’s position towards the Syrian issue

Russia’s attitudes toward the Syrian issue could be followed in two distinct but complementary phases, separated by Russia’s direct military intervention on 30 September 2015: the pre-intervention phase and the post-intervention phase, both in terms of technique and tools or in terms of results.

 

A. Pre-intervention phase

Moscow had made no effort to hide its clear and firm position since the start of the Syrian revolution on 18 March 2011, supporting the regime and providing it with all kinds of gear needed for its war on the Syrian people, not to mention experts and intelligence. Most importantly, Russia provided the efficient political cover and the protection from legal prosecution in the international forums, particularly in the Security Council, which was defaulted three times through the use of its veto power, one of which was a double veto with its partner China. Russia has also prevented the Council, which is supposedly entrusted with the peacekeeping and security, many times even from merely issuing a presidential statement to condemn one of many crimes committed by the regime against the unarmed civilians, and it even saved the regime, and let it go unpunished, when it used chemical weapons on  August 2013 in the eastern and western Rural Damascus (Alghota), killing hundreds of civilians, mostly children, by the poison gas sarin, by the Russians/US agreement (deal) of disarmament of chemical weapons from the regime’s warehouses. That unprecedented deal, was believed by many observers to affect the credibility of the international community and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the co-sponsors, especially as it separated the crime, from its tool and the criminal, merely withdrawing the tool from the hands of the offender. On this front Moscow has also disabled all the articular resolutions passed by the UN Security Council over the years of conflict, even though it was a partner in the formulation and promulgation, beginning with a statement in Geneva 1 in 2012, and resolution 2118 of 2013, Resolution 2254 of 2016, as well as both statements of Vienna 1 and Vienna 2 for the years 2015 and 2016, respectively; all to secure Al-Assad’s future, and leave him out of the debate and the solutions, and no better example of this fact, when Lavrov addressed the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September 2016 that “the opposition’s demand for the departure of Assad constitute a violation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council”.

 

On the other hand Moscow’s practices in their political coverage and support of the regime are not the least serious of what they have been doing on other levels, though it had miserable results in practice so far, as they tried to divide the Syrian opposition, and confuse their weak political work, when they worked and extolled an opposition who would accept the Russian vision of a political solution, conflicting with international resolutions and the Geneva statement 1; this vision dwarfed and minimised the solution to merely creating a broad government led by Assad with some cosmetic reforms.

 

In the poor Syrian political field, deprived by protracted decades of tyranny, Russia managed to find some group who could see it as friend and saviour under the guise of “left-wing ideology,” covering their fear or their minority claims or sectarian-lined positions. Consequently, there came the conferences Moscow 1, Moscow 2 and Astana 1, before moving these conferences and discussions to “Humaimam” air base in Latakia province, in order to save the effort of the “Syrian opposition”, and to confirm the practice of their role on the Syrian territory, suggesting or announcing their influence in the Syrian reality.

 

“Moscow’s opposition” or “Humaimam’s opposition” is still hoping that its Russian ally or guardian would reserve a place for them in Syria’s future next to Al-Assad, which can be considered equivalent to them being complicate and silence on the Syrian blood shed by the regime and its allies, including Russia, without harbouring any doubts or concerns that this “ally” is tricking them, so you see them busy with confidence in the preparation of the constitution and federal projects, and correcting and straightening of de Mistura’s plans whenever his pen slipped away from the path of the Russian vision. “The national coordinating body” which claims to represent “the opposition inside” was no different from this trend, particularly when they attended the Riyadh summit, and joined the negotiating body that emerged from it, in a move that was surrounded by doubts and questions about their goals and the role expected of them when it is time; in other words, is this committee intended to be the Achilles heel of the negotiating body? A Question that is confirmed every day by their practices and rhetoric which is still, in one way or the other, faithful to Moscow’s resolve.

 

Many have wondered what about the American attitude of the Russian irrationality in the Security Council and disabling the UN role? The answer is in the US strategy in managing the Syrian file, the stated or the concealed, which is based on a “no winners no losers” formula in this conflict, requiring keeping all parties involved weak to accept or remain satisfied with this solution. As long as the Russians effort, or others, serves the final destination, regardless of their intentions, why not let Moscow bear the moral and political burden of the “blunders” committed against the Syrians, whether in the Security Council or in other international forums, or on the ground!

 

B. Post-intervention

Moscow’s purpose, by providing unlimited logistical support and efficient political cover, protecting the regime from an international legal prosecution, and finally its direct military intervention, is to provide opportunities, one after the other, to allow the regime resolving the conflict by its own forces, or with the help of Iran and its militias, who intervened since the first months of the revolution. But, in the spring of 2015, a huge development took place on the ground to the benefit of the armed opposition forces, when they swept the whole province of Idlib, and threatened the regime’s forts in Latakia, Iran and the regime were horrified, with Al-Assad admitting the defeat of his army in Idlib, and that his army was suffering a shortage of human resources and, therefore, he would have to defend only what he called “beneficial Syria”, launching his famous slogan “Syria belongs to those who defend it”.

 

With this major shift in the course of the conflict, which marked the imminent collapse of the regime, Qassem Soleimani rushed to Moscow asking for direct intervention, and prepared with the Russian the intervention stages and its political and financial requirements, and the distribution of roles and influence, causing of course Iran to lose some of its influence to Russia.

 

In addition to the above factors that drove in the direction of a direct Russian intervention, there is an important factor stemming from the Russian psychology which is inhabited by tsarist inheritance: it is revenge, or reprisal against the West, so to speak, who betrayed Russia in Libya after being lured to approve the UN resolution for military intervention to protect civilian Libyans in Benghazi, and ended practically by liquidating old ally Gaddafi regime, and solely enjoying the full Libyan cake, depriving Russia of its huge interest and influence there.

 

Russia announced a formal intervention in the thirtieth of September 2015, limiting the intervention timeframe to three months, which was later extended for another three months. In spite of its announcement of withdrawal on 15 March 2016, having “achieved their intervention objectives” as claimed by the Russian Defence Ministry, it turned out later that this intervention had expanded in quantity and quality, and was in fact followed by ground troops in the form of militias, and their presence was recently revealed in the east of Aleppo.

 

The Russian presence in Syria under a specified time limit was merely a fib, as it was disclosed later by the Russians about a secret (ominous) agreement signed between Putin and Assad in 26 August 2015, a month before the start of the military Russian intervention, giving Russia the right to deploy troops in the Syrian military bases and cities, and protecting its members from prosecution in the case of war crimes, and absolving them of any responsibility for their actions, and giving them complete immunity from any legal prosecution, in anticipation of any government in the future proceeding against them for any war crimes they may have committed, and to ensure their unlimited presence, without being subject to any restrictions by the Syrian authorities, and preventing the Syrians from entering Russian military bases without permission from Russia, all of which in return to protecting the rule of Assad.

 

Russia, in its intervention, has exercised brutal aerial bombardment, similar to their practices in the Chechen, destroying cities and lives, and their latest but not last atrocities in Aleppo stand as a witness of their crimes. They killed deliberately hundreds of unarmed civilians, and influenced actively on the balance of power in favour of the regime. However, the biggest risk resulting from this intervention, is transforming the conflict in Syria from being a local and regional conflict to some extent, to an international one, turning  the people’s struggle for freedom, dignity and justice in the face of a regime which wants to perpetuate its authoritarian character and functional role, into a conflict of influence on Syria between active states, a conflict can no longer be solved without being linked to a host of conflicts of colliding interests whither in the region or in the world, making it harder and harder to find a solution.

 

Third: What does Russia expect from meddling in the Middle East

When trying to justify their intervention in Syria, Russia argues that they are abiding by the international law, which emphasizes respect for the sovereignty of states, and prevents interference in its internal affairs, and does not permit regime change by force; conjuring Iraq and Libya as examples of the failure of intervention policy of the West in the post-Cold War. Such flimsy arguments are contested by the facts of the Russian intervention and their daily actions in Syria.

 

Moscow’s concerns in this aspect do not stem from its commitment to the international law, but out of fear that this intervention may reach the old Soviet-space up in the Central Asian republics, wither via coloured revolutions, or across the consistent and steady expansion of the Atlantic toward the western and southern borders. This is confirmed by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in an interview with 60 Minutes in September 2015, when he said: “It is not acceptable at all to solve the internal political issues of the former Soviet republics through coloured revolutions, or through a military coup, or through the overthrow of power in an unconstitutional manner, ” and when he accused Clinton of flaring up the demonstrations in Ukraine to protest the election results in 2011, when she doubted the results and described the elections as:” being not free nor fair “; consequently, overthrowing the Ukrainian president, Viktor Bankovic, in 2014 amid widespread controversy in Ukraine against the backdrop of the economic recession experienced by the country. Is it correct to conclude, in this case, that the war of aggression waged by Moscow against Syria is a defensive war with an offensive nature? The facts say yes, because  it is not a common practice in the modern Russian politics to adopt a military intervention and occupation policy which characterised the former Soviet era, away from diplomatic and open options dialog, while the Russian intervention in Syria is the second time Russia has swerved from their usual policies, after the occupation of the Crimea, and their intervention alongside the separatists in eastern Ukraine Banibas region, without considering  the Russian intervention in Georgia as it had different circumstances.

 

Perhaps the most important aim of the Russian intervention in Syria, is forcing the West and America to end the isolation and sanctions, which exhausted the Russian economy, and were imposed as a result of the Crimea annexation in March 2014, and their support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. America and the West believed that Russia was responsible for solving the crisis in Ukraine, and America rejected Russia’s insistence on linking the Syrian and Ukrainian files, and both America and the European Union insisted on the need for Russia to comply with the roadmap Minsk 2, and allow the Ukrainian forces to exert control over its external borders, as an indispensable condition for the lifting of sanctions against it.

 

Russia also wanted from the intervention in Syria, and its overall political and military mobility in the international arena in recent years, to re-draft the diplomatic relationship with the United States, and to be treated on as an equal in international relations. Although Obama has described previously Russia as a “regional state”, some Kremlin leaders seriously have similar ambitions, and that was enhanced after Putin managed to convince Obama to bypass the red lines on the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons, and only to pull the weapon from Al-Assad after using them in August 2013, especially that Russia believed that the Obama administration’s policy practiced withdrawal symptoms and was not ready to effectively intervene in Syria. The question that arises in this context, could Russia’s potentials with its various manifestations turn these ambitions into reality, so that America and its international peers and others are obliged to acknowledge Russia in this role?

 

Other objectives of the Russian intervention include a claim that Russia came to fight “terrorists” in Syria, as some of them have come from the former Soviet republics, and kill them away from the Russian territory; in fact, Russia was trying to invest in the international war on terror as it is the most popular merchandise of the current international politics blockbuster at, and they often expressed their willingness to participate in an international alliance in the fight against terrorism led by the United States, but they were still rejected because America didn’t want Russia to benefit from this investment to cover their existing or future  military interventions, or to take advantage of the intelligence held by this alliance, but they didn’t mind that Russia was contributing in hitting  “Daesh” sites individually and outside of this alliance. Russia was also trying to persuade the United States to accept the participation of the Syrian regime in the international effort to fight terrorism as a “victim of this terrorism.”

 

On the other hand, Russia believed that the conflict in Syria was an expensive yard for experimenting with new weapons on the sidelines of this war and market them, and it was a free field for training the army, for its project of modernizing and development of fighting methods that was launched in 2008, as long as Iran would bear the costs of this intervention.

 

There is no doubt that Russia has logistical and economic interests in Syria (Humaimam and the port of Tartus) Airport, and the historical relationship with the Syrian regime makes this intervention as something that is not out of the ordinary. On the other hand, if it is true that the conflict in Syria has given a chance for political and military mobility for Russia, allowing them the possibility of returning to the Middle East after being kept away since the end of the eighties. However, are all these motives worth the burden of the Russian adventure, with its political and moral consequences and implications for the future relations with the people in the region? Logic says no, and therefore, the motives of the Russian intervention condense, in the final analysis, to Russia trying to swap intervention, and to contribute to end this conflict, with other sticky files with the West, files that are weighing and weakening it on the strategic level; and therefore Moscow’s bill, if the West was forced to pay, would be spent outside Syria.

 

Fourth: Russia’s intervention reflections on regional relations

– Russia’s intervention in Syria necessitated the rearrangement of its relations with the regional states related to the conflict which, because it is natural to cause tensions with some parties, and lead to alliances or understandings with others; and perhaps one of the easiest arrangements was with “Israel”, where Russia pledged to guarantee the border security  from the Syrian side, which was translated on the ground in subduing the active (at the time) southern front in cooperation with Jordan. They also agreed on the exchange of information and coordination of air traffic over the Syrian airspace. It is not unlikely too that there would be an undeclared understandings regarding the political solution and the nature of the future regime and its relationship with “Israel”, and the peace process in the Middle East, including taking Israel’s interests into account, because Russia is interested in making “Israel” happy and not disturbed.

 

– As for the relationship with Turkey, with whom tension had peaked when Turkey downed the Russian warplane which had violated its airspace. There was a wide disagreement between the Russian and Turkish positions on the conflict in Syria, as each saw the conflict from a different perspective, depending on their interests, roles and policies toward Syria and the region. Still both sides, even at the height of the tension, were very careful not to let their differences drag them down into a military confrontation; but the Turkish President’s gesture to apologise about downing the plane, and the quick Russian response restored their relations to normal, at least on the economic level, which was the side that received the most damage. Their relations have been re-shaped, separating between the political and the economic. Moscow believed that one of the pros of this agreement was that it narrowed the gap between them in the Syrian file. The Russian Newspaper (Sputnik) went as far as suggesting  that “Moscow and Tehran were ready to help heal the rift between Ankara and the Assad regime under the pretext of combating terrorism”, Turkey reaped the fruits of this reconciliation from Russia’s silence towards the Turkish troops incursion  in Syrian territory in the Euphrates Sheild Operation, and perhaps the only reservation that Moscow bashfully had, according to the Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, on 24 August  2016 when she expressed concern about “ igniting the conflict between Kurds and Arabs because of the Turkish incursion.” What did Turkey offer? And what was the demands of Moscow? The Answers for these questions will be revealed in the future.

 

– As for Iran, the nature of their relationship is more complicated, since Iran is working on an expansive national project characterised by a sectarian ideology, and is determined to go through with it regardless of the human and material costs; they also believe that their direct presence on the ground, and the survival of Assad’s authority are essential to guarantee the fulfilment of their project.

 

Tehran and Moscow both agree on the need for Al-Assad’s survival, but they differ on several other issues such as preserving the unity of the Syrian territory, as well as another controversial matter as Moscow does not encourage the spread of Iranian militias or the Syrian militias sponsored by Iran, or those formed by the regime, because it believes they can hinder the restoration of the Syrian army, which has become very weak, lacking human resources and high morale. It is not known whether Moscow still hold this position after having examined the fragility of this army, drowning in corruption and chaos.

 

And despite the fact that Iran had played a role in calling on Russia, it has always complained of the weak air coverage of their troops and militias in several fronts where they were defeated.

 

It seems that the Russian-Iranian relationship is suffering from deep and unspoken lack of trust, which has become clearly evident when Iran allowed the Russians to use the Hamedan Air Base, then reneged on this matter. Does Iran fear Russia’s abandonment in case Moscow was forced to chose between them and “Israel”, or would Russia ignore Iran’s interests in Syria if they had facilitated a deal with the West? In contrast, Does Moscow fear that Iran would choose a relationship with the United States if they were ever given a choice? Or was the real issue the distribution of power and decision-making authority on Syrian territory, which Russia has taken over, undoubtedly on the expense of Iran?

 

– With regards to the deep ties between Moscow and Riyadh, it does not take a great effort to see the arisen tension, but Saudi Arabia is deliberately keeping silent, and this is generally the nature of the Saudi policy. But the tension has gripped since the early months of the Syrian revolution, with Moscow’s extreme bias for the benefit of the regime, especially when it began to disrupt the work of the UN Security Council by the frequent Russian veto; and the tension rocketed after Russia’s military intervention, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia did not officially object to it.

 

Saudi Arabia and its allied Gulf states have tried, in more than one station, to influence the Russian position and ease their bias in favour of Assad, but to no avail, and Moscow turned its face on all the joint ventures and investments promised by the Gulf states to entice Russia into the fruitful relations with the Gulf, because Russia didn’t want to buy fish in the sea.

 

On its part, Moscow offered its efforts to Tehran to improve Iranian-Saudi relations but failed, because Iran was not likely to abandon its expansion projects in the region, and that Saudi Arabia was unwilling to overlook the Iranian threat after receiving a stab in their Southern side.

 

It can be concluded that Moscow did not make an objective assessment of its relations with the regional states concerned with the Syrian file, and the extent of the damage done to these relations following its intervention in Syria, so do they see that they have a good relation with “Israel”, Turkey, the Assad regime and the Kurdi “Democratic Union Party,” and a reasonable and viable coexistence with Tehran, leaving the fate of its relationship with Saudi Arabia to time.

 

Fifth, the Russian-American Aleppo agreement and the Aleppo truce

After much effort and many shuttle visits, starting from the fifteenth of last July, each of the foreign ministers of the United States John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Lavrov, agreed on a truce agreement in Aleppo to be applied from 12 September 2016, and the full text of the agreement was not published at the time. Although the truce was similar to the one that preceded it on February 2016, suffered many violations, which came mostly from the regime and Russia from the first day, Russia was quick to request a session of the UN Security Council to be convened to support the agreement by a UN resolution, and threatened to publish the details, but America in return prevented the meeting.

 

Later, when the details of the agreement were published through the (Associated Press Agency), the Russians have not contradicted what reported by the agency so far, and it seems that the whirlwind they have made to suggest that the agreement contained some confidential clauses that could confuse or embarrass the US administration, concealing targets, and perhaps also hiding their worries, which could explain the Russian debauches and burning the city of Aleppo and its civilians, despite condemnations echoed by many officials of the countries concerned, and by the heavy diplomatic mobility on the side-lines of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and the international isolation that surrounded the Russian diplomacy as a result of the terrible crimes committed by Russian air force. How can a responsible state in the international community behave in such a way?

 

According to the published text, it seems there were two points that the Russians may have considered as a great political gain, that they wanted to enhance them with a UN resolution. The first point was related to the fact that the agreement did not touch on the fate of Assad, although US officials always repeated that there were no place for Assad in Syria’s future, and that Assad has lost his legitimacy. Perhaps the Russians have felt a decline in the American discourse in this regard, noting that this administration was in its final days, and was no longer concerned with the fate of Aassad, and was in the process of transferring the entire file to the next administration.

 

The second point, which was the most important for the Russians, related to the agreement on forming a strong executive cell, with officers from the both sides to exchange intelligence on the locations where the military opposition formations exist, and to be distinguished from other factions, which both parties agreed were terrorist, and what was being referred to here in particular was the Fatah al-Sham front (formerly Al-Nusrah) from those who were moderate. The Russians held establishing this cell to a high degree of importance, which would offer them a precious treasure of information enabling them later to exterminate all armed opposition wither moderate or extremist. Perhaps they thought that this joint work with the Americans would be an entry point for their involvement in the international coalition to fight terrorism. However, the firm and public rejection to share any information with the Russians by the Pentagon and the CIA, the two most influential bodies in the American institutions, with respect to strategic decisions, had put an end to establishing this cell and evaporated the Russian ambition. These two institutions required a condition that the truce should last for 7 consecutive days, then the US bombing the regime forces in Mount Therdeh in Deir El-Zor, and seven Russian soldiers were among causalities, the Russian responded by bombing a convoy of UN aid in the Great Orme, practically declaring the end of the truce.

 

Russian Analysts, close to the decision-making centres, explained the failure of the agreement that the United States “did not want the truce to activate a political solution, but to ease the conflict, if that was the case, Russia was not interested in installing the truce.” Then, Russia had wanted to rush a political solution in the end of the current US administration which was considered lenient by the Russians, before a new administration with unknown inclinations come to power; while the Obama administration has decided to migrate the solution to the new administration, without burdening it with confused agreements, so there was nothing wrong with cooling the conflict if possible. So, who lured whom? In the outcome, it seems as if the two parties had logged enough points in this timeout and bloody conflict on the expense of the Syrian blood, and the UN Security Council which failed in its meeting held on 25 September 2016 to issue a decision to stop the barbaric bombardment of Aleppo, and seemed to suffice in reviewing a flood of convictions and mutual accusations about who is to blame for the collapse of the truce, a proof of their naked failure.

 

Sixth: Two superpowers on the Syrian territory

The Syrian regime, from the very beginning, pushed to internationalize the Syrian Affair hopping to secure allies and supporters in its military and security option, prolonging the conflict and bringing Russia and the US face to face in a calculated and cautious confrontation in the Syrian conflict, each with its vision and objectives and strategy in this regard; however, it is unlikely for them to slip their relationship into a collision, even though some errors and events could make this a possibility. Where do the two strategies converge and where do they meet?

 

– Both parties declared the political solution as the sole solution to the conflict, and excluded military takeover. At a time in which America was committed to this position, setting the rhythm of the conflict with all its capacities, indifferent to its enormous humanitarian cost, Russia was exercising the contrary of its stated rhetoric, using excessive violence to defeat the opposition and break the will of the Syrian people.

 

– Both parties agree on preventing the arrival of Islamists to power, and they do not see in them an acceptable alternative of the regime under any circumstances, at a time when it has become clear, that America’s problem here, is that there is no alternative satisfying the Americans. There is no doubt that the US position has prolonged the conflict, and worsened Syrian tragedy.

 

– Russia sees no alternative to Al-Assad, and do what they can to perpetuate him as the only option. Namely, they maneuverer the UN resolutions and disrupted the political solution so far, to pass this vision; while the United States, and since the famous 2003 Colin Powell memo, did not work to change the Assad regime, and never adopted an approach to do that, but were always demanding him to change his behaviour. However, it does not seem that America is interested in the survival of the Al-Assad’s regime itself, as much as their interest in Syria remaining a “friendly country”, playing its role within the US strategy in the Middle East.

 

– American officials and politicians are always repeating, that their main effort is focused on the fight against “the organization of the Islamic State” (Daesh) in Syria and the region only, and America does not object to any effort in this direction from any party whatsoever, as long as it does not arrange the political commitments or strategy in terms of influence. So they did not object to Russia’s military intervention, which was justified by the fight against terrorism, but were reluctant to allow Russia to enter the international coalition that it led to that end, bearing in mind that the United States was inhabited by its ability to turn around any equation that were troubling them whenever necessary.

 

In turn, Moscow has intervened for a number of objectives, perhaps including teasing up Washington and testing it and its preparations to enter the bazaar (market) exchange of services and interests and share power, based on its illusion of the withdrawal policy of America in the Middle East, rather than a request for rivalry on the international stage, which it does not even have its qualifications.

 

Seventh: The aftermath of the Russian intervention in Syria

A year on the Russian intervention, when comparing the results achieved with the objectives that they had, the legitimacy of questioning the intervention and its aftermath increases. It is true that Russia has been able to help the regime on its feet after collapsing in Idlib, and it is also true that the intervention weakened the armed opposition to the point that cannot be accurately measured until the final features of the end of the conflict could be figured out; but they did receive defeats making them unworthy of being a major state in the northern countryside of Hama last spring of this year, and in the battle of the colleges in Aleppo after occlusion of the blockade in Alcastelo, and still were not able to achieve a strategic turn in the power balance, unless this could happen as the battle of Aleppo that is still raging now, and failed to manufacture a political opposition that could accept a political solution, which it is still unable to pass, not to mention the huge damage in its reputation because of the committed crimes, increasing its diplomatic isolation. More importantly, the fact remains that Russia was keen not to get involved in the Syrian quagmire, the facts seem to speed up the pace towards it objectively, and the possibility for them to retreat is no longer available.

 

As for the intervention goals on the international dimension, it does not seem that America and the European Union are susceptible or obliged to resolve the outstanding files with Russia, not even with each other’s.

 

The facts surrounding the Russian meddling in its first year, are all indicating that the intervention has turned into an expensive trouble, has Moscow been convinced yet that they were in a real dilemma in Syria? The level of violence practiced, and the force they use, in Aleppo and other fronts, in a confrontation that does not require this level of force or such type of the weaponry, adding to the confusion in the political discourse, pushing on the answer: Yes, Russia is in trouble.