Millennium Post

Call of Duty: Russia and Syria

Back in February, 2012, Martti Ahtisaari, the Finland President had attended a meeting with the envoys from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin was also invited and laid out a crucial 3-point plan in order to initiate a peace plan ensuring the closure of devastation in Syria. The key point to highlight here though was Russia’s demand to compel Bashar al- Assad, Syrian dictator, to drop his presidential seat in order for this peace plan to successfully take place. Ahtisaari further added saying that it was an opportunity lost because the Western <g data-gr-id="69">super powers</g>, mainly US, France and Britain were so convinced of taking out the Syrian dictator then that they rubbished the proposal. The over confidence has definitely cost many lives of militants, soldiers and thousands of innocent people. Ahtisaari was sent to the meeting on account of his reputation which he developed and maintained for over 30 years in ensuring peace and solving international conflicts among nations. He was also the winner of the Nobel Prize in 2008 for his successful endeavours of critical international conflicts including those within Namibia, Kosovo, and Iraq amongst many others.  However, the Finland President fell short of his convincing abilities as far as this meeting was concerned on the February 22 which only added to chaos. Russian president Vladimir Putin has maintained his stand against the Islamic extremists and the ISIS. His <g data-gr-id="71">no nonsense</g> attitude came into display when Putin deployed his special air force regiment for bombing Syrian towns, Homs and Hama for over 24 hours. As many as 33 air strikes have been reported. Syrian Government also released a statement saying that the surprise bombardment has caused a number of civilian deaths. Russian defence ministry also announced the establishment of a hotline with the Israeli air force in order to inform one another on their plans to further avoid any airtime clashes between the two.  The civil war now in its 5th year has taken a new turn as President Assad has lost control of over two-thirds of Syrian territory on account of the loss of manpower and the lack of basic resources ever since the bombings began from September 30. Syria which is now a greater ally of Iran was once an ally and intelligence provider to Russia. However, the relationship between the two nations weakened in August 2013 when Assad denied to follow Moscow’s order and went against the latter using chemical ammunition during war.

President Barack Obama on the contrary rubbished Putin’s actions further quoting Russia’s activities as a “recipe for disaster”. He further added that his Russian counterpart is an absolute failure in distinguishing between the ISIS extremists and the moderate <g data-gr-id="72">sunni</g> opposition whose only objective is for Assad to surrender. The <g data-gr-id="73">US led</g> coalition to have 28 airstrikes on the ISIS planned in Iraq and Syria. However, the UN also reported that the sudden bombings by the Russians have caused immense damage in accordance to which the UN hasn’t been able to provide sufficient humanitarian aid in support of their ceasefire agreement. Russia’s major strategy so far has looked to attack the central and north western areas of Syria which geographically form a gateway to Damascus and the coastal regions. Alexei Pushkov, a leading Russian foreign affairs official spoke on French radio confirming possibilities if a chain of airstrikes which may last for over 2 to 3 months; the objective being to eradicate the ISIS. The past has been witness to a number of faulty decisions in relation to Islamic countries and extremist organisations which have lead to the formation of the Taliban in Afghanistan. With a demand for peace in Ukraine over Syria during a recent US- led meeting in Paris, priorities seem to be diverging with the real objectives at question.
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