21st Century Nakba: No Quick End to the War on Syria
by Waiel Awwad on 14 Mar 2016 1 Comment

The war on Syria entered its sixth year which coincides with a century old Sykes - Picot accord that divided the Arab nation into 19 states after promising them independence if they joined in toppling the Ottoman Empire. 

The ceasefire in Syria or cessation of all hostilities is holding to a large extent despite the violation and reports of continuous supply of arms and mercenaries by the Erdogan government in Turkey in the rural areas of Aleppo. There has been a sudden appearance of newly printed anti-government slogans on white cloth, and the French mandate flag in these areas. 

An understanding between US and Russia led to the birth of the UNSC resolution for a truce which allowed many Syrians to breathe with some relief. The residents in many affected areas were able to come out to buy essential goods. 

Till August last year, many experts predicted the end of Syria in its present form, saying that it would be broken in little pieces, ruled by different factions. However, the Russian military support to the Syrian government changed the paradigm of the war since September 2015 when the Syrian army and allies started re-taking territories lost to different militia groups supported by Saudi, Qatar, US and Turkey. 

The prime minister of Israel flew to Moscow to persuade Putin to let Israel conquer 154 sq mile of Syrian territory under the influence of rebel groups supported by Tel Aviv, including the Al Nusra Front. This land was close to Israel-occupied Golan Heights, where oil has been discovered. However, Putin rebuffed Netanyahu and reminded him of Syria’s sovereignty and integrity as a nation. 

On the other side, in Turkey, Erdogan was furious to see his government-backed rebels losing in Aleppo with the supply lines from Turkey being effectively blocked. Erdogan then started bombarding the Kurdish areas in Syria in retaliation, and in a bid to ensure that al Nusra operating in Aleppo was not defeated. 

Ankara has no problem with Al Qaeda controlling territory in its vicinity. Al Saud (House of Saud), on the other hand, is not comfortable with the idea of Syrian President Bashar al Assad emerging victorious from the long drawn war, with the fear that he could then turn the Syrian military guns to target his adversaries in the region. Riyadh, thus, sent its F-16 fighters flown by mercenaries into the Incirlik air base in Turkey as a show of strength. 

Moscow is determined to eliminate Daesh and the Al Nusra front in Syria, because it considers these terrorist organizations as a threat to its national interest. President Putin took the decision and started his surgical operations to fight terror. His action yielded success. Even Beijing supported the Russian military action in which hundreds of Chinese nationals from the Uyghur community (ethnically a Turkish minority) brought by Turkey into northern part of Syria, were eliminated. Moscow was also able to eliminate a large number of mercenaries from the Caucasus region. Such Russian success forced the US and its allies to transfer the Chechen leader to Libya. 

For the US and the West, they do not want to see Putin emerge as a winner in the Middle East and hence, they intensified the supply of arms and mercenaries. Despite this, Moscow and Damascus were steadily gaining the upper hand in the war. The US-Allies sent SOS messages to stop the onslaught and called for a pause and “cessation of hostilities”. 

Many observers see it as a pause to regroup and arm the terrorists to ensure that the war on Syria does not come to an end. 

The Syrian war and the Iranian nuclear deal unraveled the covert alliances
between Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel. Tel Aviv spoke openly about secret visits by Saudi officials including the non-princely foreign minister [Adel al-Jubeir –ed]. While the Erdogan government lost its direction, being unable to cope with its internal turmoil against AKP policy toward neighbors, curbing freedom and imposing economic austerity measures because of Russia’s sanction, in spite of the grants from Saudi and EU, trying to woo Israel on the one hand and on the other turning to Tehran to help in calming tensions with Moscow and the Syrian front. 

The US-Russia brokered 2268 resolution in 27-2-2016 on “cessation of hostilities”, supports the UN Security Council resolution 2254 that speaks of a political solution to the Syrian crisis and the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, a skilled diplomat, understands the task assigned to him. 

The Syria war should not be seen in isolation of the war on North African states, Yemen and Iraq. It is a part of the plot to eliminate the arch of resistance to US-Israel sponsored New Middle East Order that US former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice spoke of during the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006. 

Syria has the support of Russia and Iran, unlike Iraq in the 2003 US invasions. This support is invaluable in ensuring that Syria is able to counter all the enemies in this proxy war. The new war doctrine of the US is not to put their own boots on the ground as they have enough stooges to carry out their wars. 

We may not see a third World War but an emergence of new alliances and a cold war scenario that will determine the future of the New World Order. Russia will not allow this truce to jeopardize its success in Syria and will go all out to end the menace of terrorism in Syria, more so if the cessation of hostilities does not bring the rivals to the negotiation table. 

Meanwhile, we Syrians will continue to pay the price for the war imposed on us with our lives. Half of Syria’s population is displaced with the country looted and destroyed. Many areas have been cleansed of all citizens. 

The Syrian catastrophe or Nakba of the 21st century will continue for some time. We may have to wait till the new American president is elected and new war frontiers opened. 

(Dr Waiel Awwad is a senior Delhi-based journalist from Syria, a political analyst and West Asia expert) 


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