With the rise of the so called “Arab Spring”, of which many including myself are still not sure if this was as spontaneous as we are to believe, Syrian opponents of the ruling Presidency and its system launched an armed rebellion against the Government. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Western countries jumped to the opportunity of overthrowing an opposed regime without getting their own hands dirty. Weapons supplies and financial means were made available to whomever opposed the ruling party and President, using the open borders of Turkey and Iraq. Within weeks, the rebel forces were supplied with TOW and Stinger systems and anyone with some common sense understands that such systems are worthless without training.
Rebel forces launched assault after assault and were able to severely weaken the Syrian Arab Army, conquer territory and confiscate further supplies from the overthrown SAA units and abandoned positions. Various rebel forces appeared on the battle field and within months some not only battle with the government forces but also amongst themselves. Reports suggest that rebel fractions armed and trained by the same countries to overthrow the Syrian Government even started to fight each other in their frenzy for power and control over the territory gained.
In this power vacuum in Syria, Daesh/ISIS was able to build an impressive fighting force and “out of the blue” conquer significant parts of Syria and Iraq. With their crusade through Iraq, Daesh swept through Iraqi Armed Forces positions and stock piles, gaining access to the latest-greatest which was provided by the USA after its occupation of Iraq. The question to be asked is where did Daesh get its fighting force and weaponry from prior to its rapid crusade through Iraq?
Questions and possible answers
Another question to be asked is why Daesh stayed basically unchallenged, mainly in Syria, until Russia entered the equation in Syria? And why suddenly the International Coalition is rushing in to attack Daesh in Syria now that Russia has started to target them? A possible answer could be the often failed concept of “Frenemies – Enemies of your enemies are your friends”. Although Daesh was hitting the objectives of the International Coalition hard in Iraq, Daesh was also hitting the Government in Syria and the narrative “Assad must go” might have been more important than combatting the terror-regime of Daesh with their beheadings and destruction.
Since Russia pitched in with rapidly growing military intervention in Syria, the International Coalition has changed its focus from “supporting rebels in Syria and fighting Daesh in Iraq” to “fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq but we need to agree on who we fight and who we support in Syria”. Invented concepts like moderate rebels should be applied according to the International Coalition to separate good from bad. In reality, there is neither good nor bad and Daesh is the result of the vacuum created by the malicious “good rebel / bad rebel” concept.
As we have seen in the past months, Daesh is not a “local problem”. Any effort to obstruct forming of a coalition between Russia, USA, Iraq and Syria to fight Daesh and their supporters is enabling Daesh to remain a threat to all of us. Any armed rebel force fighting against the Syrian Armed Forces is enabling Daesh to remain a threat to all of us. In short, creating these armed rebel forces was and is enabling Daesh to remain a threat to all of us. ALL OF US!
The Russian Campaign in Syria
There is a lot of criticizing of the Russian campaign in Syria for attacking those so called moderate rebels and the Free Syrian Army, conveniently overlooking that many of those armed rebels cooperate with Daesh on various fronts. The Russian approach in this campaign is however relatively transparent and straight forward: whomever weakens the Syrian Arab Army is strengthening Daesh and its supporters. From a military point of view, there is basically nothing to be said against this strategy. No strategic planner would design a campaign fighting one force and leaving the other force which is fighting you with its full fighting capability. The most simple and direct rule in military campaigns applies here: “you are either with us or we are against you”. It is and will always be that simple!
When all this is really about fighting and defeating Daesh and everything it stands for, no bombing campaign will “do the trick”, no matter how intense and how many countries participate in it. Ground forces will be needed at some point in time to wrap up the military campaign and when that is concluded, the real battle starts. The battle for stability and the right to exist in peace in a democratic country according to the standards and traditions of those countries. And as long as Daesh exists, there is no such thing as democracy, stability and future for those living in the countries the rape on their crusade.
It is Syria who has to deal with that, it is Iraq who has to deal with that. Not Turkey, not Saudi Arabia, not any member of the International Coalition and not even Russia which has been a traditional partner of both countries. I am not, never have been and never will be a fan of Assad just like I never was a fan of Saddam or Kaddafi and that doesn’t matter for the simple reason that it’s none of my business. Whomever is in charge of Syria is up to the Syrians to decide. Without a proper UN Mandate, no country in the world has the right directly or indirectly rage a war against the population of Syria. A look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria makes clear that Human Rights and Self Determination are not part of the equation for the foreign influences there.
What’s it really all about…
So what is all the fuzz about? Politics and nothing other than politics! The political agendas which determined that a regime change in Syria was needed and therefor started to arm, train, supply and finance the civil war in Syria which has hundreds of thousands killed and millions on the run. The political agendas which determined that even when Daesh emerged and started their crusade against the population of Syria and Iraq, they were “frenemies” fighting the Syrian Government. The same political agendas which allowed the destruction and destabilization of whole countries, all of which by coincidence happen to have fast natural resources. The same political agendas which by coincidence also happen to represent the largest exporters of weapon systems. That is what all the fuzz is about!