“Syria is now a kaleidoscope of fiefdoms.”
That’s from FT, assessing the state of affairs in Syria as the country’s bloody civil war drags into its sixth year.
Aleppo, the country’s second largest population center, is on the verge of falling to regime forces backed by militiamen loyal to Iran and a Russian air force that despite rhetoric from The Kremlin, never really left the country. Here’s FT again:
With the help of his powerful backers – Russia, Iran and regional Shia militias such as Lebanon’s Hizbollah – Mr Assad has basically won back control of what some observers cynically call “useful Syria”. That is, the central cities and major population centre that stretch from Syria’s north, along the Mediterranean coast and Lebanese border, and into the capital of Damascus.
“They [Russia and Iran] can take back territory for the regime but they cannot act as its police force, they cannot be their security services, their administrative services,” Osama Abuzeid, a member of the Homs Revolutionary Council said. “They cannot be their government.”
The US’s decision to back rebel forces that in some cases amount to Sunni extremists has fueled a misinformation campaign that frequently paints Russia and Iran as liberators and Washington as a state sponsor of terror for its role in arming the opposition. Lending credence to this characterization of the conflict is Turkey’s shadowy alliance with Sunni fighters and purported ties to ISIS.
While there are some very real questions about America’s involvement in the conflict I, as a trained political scientist, have heard just about all I care to hear from the “alt. media” about Russia’s role as a kind of savior in a land of US-sponsored terrorists.
Moscow is nothing of the sort.
The Iranians have some legitimate claim to their role in the fight. They need to preserve the Shiite crescent or risk losing their foothold at the tip of the Arabian peninsula. The Russians are just there to establish a new Mid-East military base and to grab a little extra influence over the Saudis just as tensions in the oil market peak. If you think Sergei Lavrov or his lap dog Maria Zakharova (look her up) give two shits about the people of Syria you are sorely mistaken. Consider the following from the NY Times:
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said family members had reported that they had lost contact with men aged 30 to 50, echoing several interviews The Times conducted in which Aleppo residents said their males relatives were arrested or forced to join the army.
“Given the terrible record of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances by the Syrian government, we are of course deeply concerned about the fate of these individuals,” Mr. Colville said.
He also said that two members of the pro-government forces that took over Aleppo’s al-Halk neighborhood on Sunday were reported to have summarily shot in front of their families four men suspected of working with the opposition.
The government’s offensive over the last week has left rebels in east Aleppo facing near-certain defeat. On Friday, Russian officials said that 93 percent of Aleppo had been captured by the Syrian Army.
There has been some talk of at least a temporary cease-fire to allow for evacuation of the city, but on Friday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei V. Lavrov, said that military operations “will go on until bandits leave eastern Aleppo.”
What say you Russian government?
Of course that’s from a “leftist”, US government “shill” news source, right? The “real” story is that the Russians are saving thousands of lives and killing hundreds of terrorists each and every day, right?