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CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

 

ARTICLE
PRABIR PURKAYASTHA | 6 OCTOBER, 2015

The Syrian battlefield has changed dramatically with the entry of the Russian forces and its airstrikes in support of the Bashar al Assad government. The Americans and its NATO allies are now condemning the Russian support to “butcher” Assad, with of course, no problem in their supporting and even participating, in a far more brutal and one-sided campaign of their close ally Saudi Arabia against Yemen. Or even “remembering” their various regime change wars — from Afghanistan to Libya, which has ravaged not only West Asia, but also much of North Africa. Bashar al Assad regime's survival is crucial, if the brutal onslaught of the Salafist-takfiri gang is to be halted in the region. And this gang is headed by Saudi Arabia, whose brand of Wahabi Islam is no different from the Islamic State (IS), al Qaeda and their various avatars.

The game changing politics in Syria started with the Turkish-US agreement for the use of Incirlik airbase by the US airforce, allegedly for bombing the IS bases in Syria and Iraq. This agreement appeared to have a hidden corollary – it gave the Turks a free-hand to attack the Kurds in northern Syria and Iraq. The second was the refugee influx into Europe, which suddenly became a huge international media event, even though it's only a small fraction of the people who have been displaced by the various regime change wars in West Asia. Was it a show staged by Turkey and international media to build a case for a NATO intervention to remove Assad? The last, and this is what is making international news right now, is Russia entering the Syrian civil war and bombing the forces that are attacking the Syrian government. Hezbollah and Iran are also reportedly deploying their ground troops in support of the Syrian government. Are they isolated events connected only by a common timeline, or are we seeing the Russians intervene to forestall a concerted attack by Turkey, NATO and the Gulf monarchies in tandem with various takfiri-jihadi forces, against the Syrian government?

Before the entry of the Russians, the Bashar al Assad's forces were clearly on the defensive. They appeared to have been exhausted by the 4-year long civil war, and were facing an array of forces armed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf monarchies, as well as the US. They were facing attacks from across the Iraqi, the Turkish, the Jordanian and finally, the Israel borders. Israel even acted as the air force for the Jabhat al Nusra, the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, providing it air cover.

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