Paradoxical indeed that United States President Barack Obama, who was conferred with Nobel Prize for Peace, has been primarily responsible for wrecking the fragile peace prevailing in the Muslim countries and West Asia. His animosity for Syria and its ruler Bashar Al-Assad has been so acute that he remains dismayed with the fall of Aleppo to the Syrian government. It is a rude shock to him as he nursed the idea of victory in Syria till the end of his tenure.
Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, and other countries has succeeded in pushing ISIS and an assortment of other terrorist groups (Anti-Assad ‘rebels’) out of Aleppo. While the Russia-backed Syrian government forces have recaptured Aleppo, ISIS has regained control of the city of Palmyra in Syria. It was only nine months ago that the terror group was driven out of the old cultural city by government forces.
Obama, whose country is funding and training anti-Assad militants was "not optimistic" about the Arab state’s future. "I am not optimistic about the short-term prospects in Syria.” A former NATO supreme allied commander Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis observed that President Obama would regret not doing more to help the anti-regime opposition in Aleppo, Syria.
To the chagrin of the USA administration, almost all its prominent allies have turned their back on them. This is nothing but a manifestation of their lack of trust in the America's leadership. A new churning has started in the Muslim world about their existence and their relation with the global fraternity.
Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey were once diehard opponents of Syria’s President, Bashar Al-Assad, but have now softened their attitude towards Syria and have openly come out against US-backed rebels and ISIS. Egypt and Turkey have even extended support to Russian move for reshaping the Syrian fight against the terrorists and rebels. Since July 2012, Syria’s armed opposition backed by the United States, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia has fought the Russian and Iranian-supported Syrian regime for the control of Aleppo, the country’s largest city and its commercial and cultural heart.
In fact, their support to Syria has been key to significant gains for Assad and Russia in Aleppo. The Syrian government's recapture of Aleppo after a prolonged war has been the defining moment in the country's devastating civil war. It conferred on Assad the status of being the ruler of Syria. With the ISIS and terrorist fighters leaving Aleppo, Assad is in control of almost all the key urban areas and poised to perform a significant role in the world community's broader war against Islamic State (IS) militants. This change in stance and attitude of the three countries has boosted the image of Russia across the globe. In the changed situation, the Muslim countries of West Asia have been looking to Moscow for support as Russian intervention transforms the conflict in Syria. This elevation of the Russian status is reminiscent of the Soviet clout and status.
The three countries tilting towards is much to the dislike of the US administration and American think tank. Baring Saudi Arabia, no major Muslim country at present echoes the views of the USA. The anti-Muslim rhetoric of US President-elect Donald Trump has further complicated the situation and its relations with the Muslim countries. After backing the opposition for the past five years and calling for the Syrian President to step down, Turkey opted to support Syria. This symbolises a significant dimensional change in the geopolitical relations among the Muslim countries.
But the ISIS and terrorists raising their heads in Palmyra have been a matter of concern for Syria and Russia. This shift in the personal relations and emerging power equations would also have a significant impact on the Shia and Sunni relations in the region. Though they nurse high level of differences for centuries, the USA has simply aggravated the situation in recent years. It is not going to be smooth sailing for Russia, but the manner in which the former Soviet Union had handled the complicated relations one can safely presume that Vladimir Putin would not want these differences to exacerbate.
The beginning appears to be good. Jordan has tilted away from Saudi Arabia and toward Russia. It is a Sunni country, whose support for rebels has been crucial. Turning an ally of USA has proved costly to Turkey. Now the Turkey leadership, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim are not ready to concede any mistakes in foreign policy. They are determined to rescue Turkey from its increasing political and diplomatic isolation in the international arena. Turkey is now keen to repair its relations with some countries, including Israel, Egypt, Russia, and Syria.
The most disgusting have been the role of the media. The capitalist and western media has been using their might to malign Putin and Assad. “The wounded and dead are lying in the street. No one dares to try and retrieve the bodies,” claimed AFP while reporting on the Russian intervention in Aleppo. Many among the Western media have given the impression that the Russian “invasion” has completely ruined Aleppo. They create the impression that while the terrorists and ISIS are engaged in the war of survival, the ordinary citizen has become the victim.
The US has the expertise of resorting to this type of warfare. George W. Bush triggered the Iraq War by planting irresponsible reports on the Iraqi nuclear effort. Usually, false propaganda is resorted to silence the power of ethics. The USA, in fact, has been resorting to this tactic to complicate the Syrian situation and accuse Russia of carrying out a massacre of common people, particularly children. France also joined the Western countries in accusing Russia of constantly lying over its role in Syria, saying it was claiming to battle the Islamic State when it was only interested in backing Bashar al-Assad.
However, for Russia the fall of Aleppo is a major victory against terrorists, as it and Assad characterise all the rebel groups, both Islamist and nationalist, fighting to oust him. But at the UN, the US said the violence in the city, besieged and bombarded for months, represented “modern evil”.
A further worry for the Syrian opposition, particularly the USA and Saudi Arabia is that the Assad regime’s victory will solidify Iran’s hold on Syria, which is the crown jewel of Tehran’s sphere of influence in the Middle East. The Syrian opposition also feels abandoned by the Obama administration and its European allies.
(The views expressed are strictly personal.)