Is Syria a Trial of Strength Before Striking the CIS?
Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 09:25
In terms of religious identity, Syria is a rather unique country. The Alawite sect constitutes about 20 percent of the country's total population and has been running the state for nearly 50 years, with Sunni Muslims representing the overwhelming majority. The Alawites are believed to belong to the right-wing Shiite school. In fact, they are waifs and strays of the Armenian population that lived at the beginning of the 11th century in a state called Kilikian Armenia, situated in the territory of today's Lebanon, Turkey and Syria. In length of time, being surrounded by Muslim states, Kilikian Armenians created a new religion that had outward features of Islam, but retained many elements of traditional Armenian Christianity.
Today, one of the causes of the bloody conflict in Syria is that the country is ruled by a religious minority who can barely be considered Muslims, according to the radical Sunni Muslims.
Unlike many recent direct military intervention operations, Syria is a pilot project on eliminating a legitimate government in a “democratic” way by the efforts of the radical opposition. The country has a legally elected government, but it matters naught to the initiators of the war in Syria. The West is not comfortable with the current Syrian president. Formally, an irreconcilable opposition formed from the citizens triggers fights with Syrian security forces. In reality, Syria has become a testing ground for terrorists from many countries, including the former Soviet republics. Certain publications on the Al Qaeda and Taliban sites point out that the war in Syria bears an international character. The official regime is the first party; the other one consists of those encouraged to act by the slogans “Struggle for establishment of a fair government!” “Restore the rights of the majority practicing the true Islam!” and “Establishment of an Islamic state!” The political intentions of a number of Western countries happened to coincide with the ideological (religious) dogmas of the radical Muslims. Opponents of Assad's regime have shortage of neither arms and ammunition, nor human resources, nor information support against the Syrian armed forces. Syria is the only country where the West has managed to bring armed clashes between the Sunni Muslim and the Shiite Muslims to a large scale. Opponents of Assad have strong support from a number of prominent Sunni radicals and religious figures. The Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri is known to have supported the jihad in Syria in an early 2012 speech of his.
The Shiite Iran did not shut eyes to the armed attack on the Syrian authorities and began to help the Assad regime.
Turkey is another state interested in the affairs of Syria; it assumed a principled position of “saving the Syrian Sunnis.” Ankara is also known to have another reason to care about Syria, considering the country a Turkish territory forcibly detached in 1918. Together with the Alawites, the Kurdish factor makes Turkey feel uncomfortable.
Among the external participants of the Syrian events, Saudi Arabia is very active, but its role is largely confined to solving financial issues. The Syrian intelligence services are convinced that the funding for opposition groups is mainly provided by Saudi Arabia and the Taliban-controlled territories. According to the Internet site “Intelligence Online” (intelligenceonline.com, France), the Saudi intelligence and Saudi Crown Prince Bandar bin Sultan personally are the founders and main sponsors of the armed opposition in Syria. The security services of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar's Military Intelligence, and National Intelligence Organization of Turkey provide current operational information for the Syrian opposition.
With Israel expressing its official attitude to the Syrian issue rather vaguely, it is quite clear that Tel Aviv is interested in the dismemberment of Syria. In this case, Israel will cope with its weak neighbors easier.
Analyzing the events in Syria, we cannot ignore the fact that the main forces of Al Qaeda are concentrated in this country.
The political technology on the Syrian problem consistently implemented by Washington is worth special mentioning. In 2005, the US began to expand the so-called “opposition projects,” which involved active funding of the Syrian opposition. The Syrian National Council was created and took over the role of the main opposition force. Washington Times describes it as “an umbrella group uniting rival groups outside Syria.” The SNC ensures close ties with Western countries and seeks to put the idea of organizing foreign intervention into the global public consciousness. A variety of projects (the summit “Friends of Syria” and others) were created to internationalize the Syrian problem.
Successful implementation of a project requires both a good idea and competent performers. A resident of Paris Basma Kodmani is a figure implementing the Syria-related plans of the West; she believes that “no dialogue with the ruling regime is possible. We can but discuss shifting to a different political system.” In her speeches, Kodmani also pushes the idea of using Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows to employ force to subjugate a regime. Kodmani manages the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) research program launched by the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which is known to include many high-ranking diplomats, intelligence officers and financiers. Not coincidentally, Kodmani was director of research at the International Diplomatic Academy specializing on “promoting development of modern diplomacy.” The said Academy is headed by Jean-Claude Kusseran, former head of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security), French foreign intelligence service.
A prominent role in organization and information support of the war in Syria is played by the American non-profit organization Democracy Council, which funds the channel Barada TV. The Democracy Council assists the US State Department in the implementation of “The Initiative to Support Partnership in the Middle East.” In 2006, the State Department announced its new program “Democracy in Syria,” but allocated only 5 million dollars for this purpose; in 2012, the Syrian Business Forum project was launched with budget of as much as $300 million.
The events in Bolotnaya square in Moscow and on the Maidan in Kiev, speeches of radical young people in Issyk-Kul on the activities of a gold mining company, rallies in Bishkek after a member of parliament was accused of corruption and arrested, speeches of Osh residents after the mayor's resignation – all these anti-government protests begin to sound differently amid the Syrian events. It is becoming abundantly clear that the events in Syria are nothing but a continuation of the liquidation of secular states in the Islamic world. Whereas none of the former Soviet republics has a clear program for effective response to the spread of radical Islamic ideas, the “Syrian conflict virus” can be reasonably expected to settle in the countries of Central Asia. The first victims of the “Syrian syndrome” will be non-Muslim citizens of the Central Asian countries – Orthodox Christians and atheists. Further, the US will try to spread this epidemic in the North Caucasus, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. The best scenario for Washington is maximum departure of the Russian-speaking population from these republics. In turn, this will eliminate Russian influence in Central Asia and in the Russian-speaking Muslim-populated republics, which is a major US objective.
Of course, the main dream of initiators of the projects implemented in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria is Russia and its integrity. Whereas the United States have taken root in a number of CIS countries, chances that Washington turns the Islamic fundamentalism resources against the former Soviet republics and Russia are high, especially while none of the countries except for the US has a vast experience of cooperation with Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and other Islamic radical movements.
Figuratively saying, the events in Syria are to protect the integrity of Russia and stability in the Central Asian states.
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