Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Did the Russian “Holy” War Come to an End? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55348603

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on Russian plane crash in Egypt at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin

Nothing beats the accuracy of economic feedback when analyzing political decisions. As soon as Moscow announced its forces withdrawing from Syria, the Syrian pound suffered a 20 percent fall in worth. Thus it clearly stipulates which party is most affected by the Russian recent decision.

Russia had called its intervention in Syria, months ago, a “holy war”, yet still pulled out.

It doesn’t matter why Moscow took a sudden decision, nor is it significant if the departure is real or a mere tactical move. What truly counts is that Moscow has registered a thump against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for the first time since Russia took the chance to strike an alliance with the ruler against his people.

The extent of effectiveness the Russian decision accomplished will be made clear during the upcoming Geneva peace talks.

Russians outdid all others when it came to supporting Assad’s regime, in addition to being accomplices in all the crimes committed. When Moscow announced intervention in Syria, it was justified for reasons of counterterrorism, however, the world was later shocked that the guns were aimed at the moderate Syrian Opposition, while terrorists couldn’t be more unattended.

Moscow will not invest its whole self in a 5-year-old complex crisis which is going on indefinitely. At the end of the day, Russians want to end the mounting crisis. Even though Moscow doesn’t share the Opposition’s vision for Syria, yet at the same time, it doesn’t share Assad’s outlook for the country either.

Assad’s regime has disregarded the limits to its power, forgetting that it only rules a quarter of its fragile state.

The regime operated as an independent government, while failing to recall that the strings of its administration are all well-pulled.

In the ballpark, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem’s last announcements stunned the Russians more than it ever did Assad’s adversaries.

The good news is that Russia began the process of rectifying the disastrous mistake it committed six months ago when it unwarrantedly intervened in the Syrian crisis.

Ground facts state that the Russian intervention did not achieve any true tangible progress; we can go as far as saying that the withdrawal was put into effect after accomplishing an insignificant fragment of its principal targets.

Numbers show that Moscow needs 30 years to succeed with anchoring Assad’s regime in its place, given that operations maintain a high frequency. When Moscow launched its mission, it expected that by pounding the moderate Syrian Opposition, instead of terrorists, it would turn tables on the battlefield.

However, Russians have utterly failed and the theater of war gravely disappointed Russian President Putin, the same person who had declared defeating ISIS as the goal for the Russian intervention.

Putin’s alleged target against terrorism in Syria failed utterly.

On the other hand, Assad and his administration had a completely misguided reading for the military Russian intervention. Assad took the Russian intervention for granted. The Syrian president believed that the interference will be an endless, free-of-charge swift game changer. He completely disregarded the economic and geopolitical factors that stand in the way of the Russians doing the regime’s job, especially with the latter displaying terrible ego as it vetoed the whole political process, a step that even Moscow didn’t take.

Assad’s administration believed that it had complete control over the game.

Eyes will be fixed on the upcoming Geneva events, and will definitely be zoning in on the Syrian regime, instead of the Syrian Opposition. Tables are completely turned. The Syrian Opposition has successfully been able to set the tune of the negotiations to its benefit, and continuously put the regime under spotlight.

The world will closely watch the Syrian regime’s delegation have a better understanding of the incredible Russian measure.

Withdrawal was decided in Moscow; however, its entailing details would be justified in Geneva.

Who knows, perhaps U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was right when he described the upcoming period to be the best chance, in years, for peace in Syria.