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Essay: Relationship between Russia-Syria

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  • Subject area(s): International Relations
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: February 28, 2016*
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  • Relationship between Russia-Syria
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To declare the relation between Russia and Syria, It is necessary to talk first about the start of the war in Syria in 2011. Syria was entangled in a war that is part of the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring was a serie of protests and demonstrations in several countries in the Middle East like Tunesia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. The civil war in Syria started with the arrest and torture of students in the city Deraa who painted antigovernement graffiti on a wall. After this decisive event, Syria started to fight against the government, corruption in the country and they wanted to rescue the political prisoners. The effects of these protests were not big because Assad’s government still had the power after the protests. The purpose of the war was to get peace, freedom and democracy but after some years, none of this goals are achieved in most of the countries in the Middle-East. For example in Syria and Lybia there is still an civil war and Egypt has no government since 2012.
Most of the protests and the biggest part of the Syrian war was against Assad and between different regimes. The biggest part of the rebels consist of sunnis and the extreme religious movement Jahbat-al-Nusra. A smaller part consits of the Kurds, who wants an autonomious region. In 2014 the whole situation changed when the Jihadistic extremist militant group IS came. They are part of the group of Al-Qaida, but they fight in Syria under the name ISIS. They are fighting for a caliphate, of which the leader is a caliph, which is a successor of the Prophet Muhammad. As a caliphate, they want religious, political and military power over the whole Muslimcommunity worldwide. In a short periode of time, they conquered a big part of Syria and they also form a treat for Europe and the VS. Why a treat for Europe? Many radical muslims go to Syria to join IS and when they come back, they have radical ideas and form a treat for the country. This is also the case in Belgium, a lot of the fighters come back from Syria, they prepare terroristic attacks and aim mainly at the police. For example, in January 2015, the police could arrest 13 people in counterterrorism operations in Belgium. From now on, IS has also officaly been designated a terrorist organisation by the United nations, european union and member states. A lot of countries are directly or indirectly waging war against IS, including the VS, who is already presented in Syria for almost 2 years.
The VS is presented in Syria since 2014. Since then it started with launching air strikes on IS and other Jihadist groups because they are supporting the National Coalition, the main oppostion alliance. But since october 2015, Russia began to interfere in the conflict. Russia supports the adverse oppostion, the party of Assad. Putin says that he also fight againt IS, but his first interventions in Syria were in parts of the country were IS was not even presented. It looks like the first intervention was just to support Assad’s troups. The intervention of Russia started after Obama’s statement that he cannot only bring stability to a country like Syria. This is why he took some steps back because he said he need the help of countries like Russia and Iran. The danger is that Russia only will make the war even worse by increasing radicalization and worsen the humanitarian situation. On top of that, Russia creates some chaos. For example, (de vliegtuigen die tegen elkaar vlogen)
In the end, a powerfull country like the United states need to intervene anyway.
But why wants Poetin to support Assad exactly? For the answer on this question, we need to go back to the cold war in the second half of the 20th century. Rusland gave during the sovjet union a lot of economic and military support at Syria under the form of money donations. During this period a strong relationship between these two powers was build. Still now, they sell a lot of weapens in Syria and their only naval base is located at the Syrian coast. An other possible explanation for the strong relationship between those two is the similarities between the two leaders. They were both elected in 2000, both of them promised many reforms and the fought against separatism. In the end, none of this reforms came true and ended in a situation of autoratism.
The West had a lot of commentary on the choice of Russia to ally with Assad. The West wants Assad to resign and Putin wants the government of Assad to stay. If none of the two parties are gonna change their opinion, the situation in Syria will stay like it is now.
Solution: The key countries in the syrian war started with peace talks in Vienna at the end of october. VS and even Iran and Russia, allies of Assad were presented. Belgium is represtend by Frederica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who presents the Europen Union in this conference. As a solution fort his four years during war a transition period is proposed because most of the countries think it is not possible to get peace if Assad remains in power. They discussed about elections and a transitional government for 6 months. Even Russia and Iran, who always supported the Assad’s regime, started to change their mind. This are evolutions in the right direction, if Russia stops supporting Assad, then the VS, European Union and Russia can form a united front against Assad. Like this, we can set the first steps to a peacefull Syria.

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