Russian Warning Shots
The nature of the Syrian crisis has changed. The process of destabilization that was to open the path for legal military intervention by the Atlantic Alliance has failed. Removing its mask, the United States has publicly announced the possibility of attacking Syria without the approval of the Security Council, as it also did in Kosovo. Washington must be pretending not to have noticed that the Russia of Vladimir Putin is not that of Boris Yeltsin. After being assured of Chinese support, Moscow literally fired two warning shots in the direction of Washington. The continuing violations of international law by NATO and the GCC threaten to unleash a global conflict.
President Vladimir Putin began his third mandate under the sign of sovereignty in the face of direct threats launched against the Russian Federation by the United States and NATO. Moscow has repeatedly denounced the expansion of NATO, the installation of military bases, the deployment of a missile shield on its borders, and the destruction of Libya and the destabilization of Syria.
In the days following his inauguration, Mr. Putin reviewed the Russian military industrial sector, his armed forces and his treaty alliance system. He pursued this course of action while choosing to draw in Syria a line in the sand that must not be crossed. For Putin, NATO’s invasion of Libya was equivalent to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Third Reich and that of Syria, should it occur, would be comparable to the invasion of Poland that started WWII.
Any interpretation that what is currently happening in the Levant is the result of an internal dynamic of revolution/repression within Syria is not only false but a distortion of the real stakes involved, and simply amounts to more political maneuvering. The Syrian crisis is first and foremost a further stage in the project of “remodeling of the greater Middle East”; a further attempt to destroy the “Axis of Resistance” and the first “war for gas” being played out.
What is actually at stake in Syria is not whether Bashar al-Assad will be able to democratize the institutions he has “inherited” or whether the Wahhabist monarchies of the Gulf will succeed in destroying the last secular regime in the region and impose their sectarianism, but to determine the lines of separation between the emerging power blocs of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization).
Some of our readers will be startled to read the preceding phrase. Indeed, the Western and Gulf media have been hammering the point day after day that President El-Assad is a “sectarian dictator” working to the advantage of the Alawite minority, while the armed opposition to his authority is portrayed as the incarnation of democratic pluralism. Just a glance at recent events is enough to belie this version.
Bashar al-Assad has successively convened municipal elections, a referendum, as well as legislative elections. All observers unanimously agreed that the elections unfolded in a transparent manner. The degree of popular participation was more than 60% even while the West was denouncing the electoral process as “a farce” and while the Western-backed armed opposition was preventing citizens from getting to the polls in the four districts under its control. At the same time, the armed opposition stepped up its attacks not only against security forces but also against civilians and all the symbols of national culture and of Syria’s multi-confessional character.
They assassinated progressive Sunnis, then randomly killed Alawites and Christians in order to force their families to flee. They burned more than fifteen hundred schools and churches. They proclaimed an ephemeral Independent Islamic Emirate in Baba Amr where they instituted a Revolutionary Tribunal which condemned more than 150 felons, who were then beheaded in public one by one by an executioner. It is certainly not the woeful spectacle of some vagrant politicians, meeting up at the “Syrian National Council” and erecting a facade of democracy having no relation to the reality of the crimes being committed by the so-called Free “Syrian” Army, that will prevent the truth from coming out much longer. In the circumstances, who can believe that the secular Syrian regime, whose exemplary character was celebrated not so long ago, would have turned into a confessional dictatorship, while the Free “Syrian” Army, supported by the Wahhabist dictatorships of the Gulf and obeying the injunctions of Takfirist preachers would conversely be advanced as a paragon of democratic pluralism?
The announcement by U.S. leaders of a possible international intervention outside a U.N. mandate in the same fashion as NATO dismembered Yugoslavia elicted both apprehension and anger in Moscow. The Russian Federation, which until now held itself in a defensive position, has moved to take the initiative. This strategic shift flows from the urgency of the situation from Russia’s point of view and favorable shifts on the ground in Syria.
Moscow proposes to create a Contact Group on Syria that would bring together the ensemble of concerned states, meaning Syria’s neighbors as well as both regional and international powers. Its purpose is to put in place a forum for dialogue to substitute for the current bellicose approach imposed by the West under the Orwellian rubric, the “Friends of Syria Conference.”
Russia continues to support the Annan Plan—which is in fact the scarcely modified plan submitted earlier by Sergei Lavrov to the Arab League. Russia deplores that the plan was not implemented, assigning responsibility for that failure to the opposition faction which took up arms. According to A.K. Lukashevich, spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, the Free “Syrian” Army is an illegal organization according to international law. It is assassinating twenty to thirty Syrian soldiers each day yet is publicly supported by NATO states and the GCC in violation of the Annan Plan.
Positioning himself as a peacemaker confronting NATO warmongering, Vladimir Putin has demanded that the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) ready itself to deploy its “blue chapkas” in Syria, to both separate the belligerents and combat foreign forces. Nicolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the CSTO, has confirmed that he is ready to deploy 20,000 men trained for this type of mission and immediately available.
This would be the first time that the CSTO deploys a peace force outside of former Soviet territory. Cut to the quick, Ban Ki-Moon attempted to sabotage the initiative, countering with his own sudden effort to organize a Contact Group. Convening in Washington the Sanctions Working Group of the “Friends Of Syria Conference”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defied the Russian proposal and raised the ante in favor of regime change.
In Turkey, opposition legislators have visited the Syrian refugee camps. They have confirmed the absence of more than one thousand refugees registered by the United Nations in the main camp and noted, by contrast, the presence of an arsenal in the camp. They have also demanded in Parliament that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reveal the rising amount of humanitarian aid being given to phantom refugees. The deputies maintain that the refugee camp is a cover for a secret military operation, sheltering in reality combatants, principally Libyans who are using it as a rear base. The deputies are asserting that the combatants are those who were introduced in the district of Houla when the massacre was being perpetrated.
These revelations confirm the accusations of the Russian ambassador to the Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, according to which the Special Representative of Ban Ki-Moon in Libya, Ian Martin, had used U.N. funds destined for refugees to bring al Qaeda combatants into Turkey.
In Saudi Arabia, the fracture between King Abdullah and the Sudairi clan has reappeared. At the invitation of the monarch, the Supreme Council of the Oulema issued a fatwa stipulating that Syria is not a land of jihad. At the same time, however, Prince Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been calling to arm the opposition against the “Alawites.”
Thursday, June 7 was a day of many significant events. While Ban Ki-Moon and Navi Pillay, respectively Secretary General and High Commissioner of Human Rights, were pleading their case against Syria before the U.N. General Assembly, Moscow proceeded with two test-launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Bulava missile draws its name from an ancient Slavic mace used as a baton by the Marshall of the Cossack Armies.Colonel Vadim Koval, spokesman of the Strategic Missile Troops of the Russian Federation (RSVN) confirmed the test of a Topol—launched from a silo near the Caspian Sea, but has not confirmed that of the Bulava from a submarine in the Mediterranean. But the firing was observed from all over the Near East, Israel and Armenia and there is no other known armament that leaves similar tracings in the sky.
The message is clear : Moscow is ready for world war if NATO and the GCC do not comply with the international obligations as defined in the Annan Plan and persist in aiding terrorism.
According to our sources, this shot across the bow was coordinated with the Syrian authorities. Moscow equally had encouraged Damascus to liquidate the “Islamic” Emirate of Baba Amr once the Syrian authority was confirmed by constitutional referendum, as it also encouraged the goverment to wipe out mercenary groups present in the country as soon as the new Parliament and new Prime Minister were installed. The order was given to move from a defensive strategy to offensive action to protect the population from terrorism. The national army moved to attack the strongholds of armed groups. The combat in the coming days is going to be difficult, all the more so in that the mercenaries possess mortars, anti-tank missiles and, as from now, surface to air missiles.
To lessen the rapidly-increasing tension, France immediately accepted the Russian proposal to participate in an ad hoc Contact Group. Washington hurried Frederic C. Hof to Moscow. Contradicting the statements made the day before by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr. Hof also accepted the Russian invitation.
The time is past to lament the expansion of combat into Lebanon, or to conjecture about the possible regionalization of conflict. Over the past sixteen months of the destabilization of Syria, NATO and the GCC have created a situation without exit that might well degenerate into global war.