04.04.2016 Author: Tony Cartalucci

Reports of Russia’s Defeat in Syria are Greatly Exaggerated

1037241522In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s announcement of a partial withdrawal from Syria upon accomplishing its initial objectives, pundits, politicians, and analysts in the West attempted to capitalize on it by portraying Russia in retreat, broke economically, and attempting to avoid a quagmire it had entangled itself in.

However, more honest and thoughtful analysis noted that Russia’s partial withdrawal was more diplomatic than strategic – a grand gesture by Moscow to the West that it was able and willing to give the perpetrators of this proxy war a graceful exit out – and that enough Russian assets would remain in theater to ensure all gains made by Russian and Syrian forces were not only maintained, but expanded upon further in the near and intermediate future.

Since the announcement, this analysis has proven to be accurate, with Russia continuing to conduct effective military operations in Syria, and most notably, helping the Syrian Arab Army liberate the ancient city of Palmyra – which was overrun by the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) ironically at the height of the United States-led coalition’s alleged battle against the internationally listed terrorist organization.

Despite the fact that Russia is assisting the Syrian government in eradicating an internationally listed terrorist organization from Syrian territory, Western analysts are now crying foul over Russia’s continued military activity in Syria despite its announcement of a partial draw down.

Brookings “Insight” – No Matter What Happens, It’s “Russia’s Fault…” 

The Brookings Institution, a Western policy think tank representing the collective interests of the Fortune 500 who fund it and chair its board of directors, published analysis upon its “Order from Chaos” blog titled, “Why Russia is accountable if the Syrian ceasefire fails.” In it, it claims (emphasis added):

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of victory in Syria has already been eclipsed by his announcement on his willingness to use military force against violators of the ceasefire if he doesn’t get assurances from the United States about how it will control the truce. Meanwhile, it’s become clear that more Russian military hardware is going into Syria instead of leaving, and that Russian forces are openly engaged in ground combat. 

Is Putin really offering to secure peace in Syria? Probably not. The conditions that led to Syria’s death spiral into civil war have still not been addressed, and Russia’s withdrawal is a facade. Putin’s announcement highlights that while Russia is a main player in the Syrian conflict, it is far from willing or able to assure peace.

Brookings analysts appear disinterested in the fact that Russia’s forces are fighting ISIS, and that many of the “violators” of the ceasefire are openly collaborating with other listed terrorist organizations, including the Al Nusra Front. The March 30th post fails to make any mention of the liberation of Palmyra days earlier by Russian-backed Syrian forces – in complete defiance of reality.

Brookings concludes by stating (emphasis added):

The Russian military intervention is about Russian interests and gaining an advantageous position within a world order in which it demands to be an equal but sees no equals. Military intervention is meant to upend the international order to the benefit of only Russia and those who align with its interests. The Syrian ceasefire began because Russia said it could. It represents a strategic pause for Russia to reposition itself both politically at home and abroad, and militarily on the battlefield. If it ends, it will likely be because it claims the United States is not living up to its terms, as well as if conditions become favorable for Assad to resume military operations to reclaim lost territory. This is hardly the mark of a nation seeking to lead the peace process and cessation of hostilities. By resorting to the use of force, Russia will be accountable for the ceasefire’s failure, and will prove itself unwilling to peacefully advance the terms it agreed to in order to secure a lasting peace.

It is perhaps ironic that the United States, who has for over a year, unilaterally intervened militarily in Syria to allegedly fight ISIS, is now crying foul when a nation – Russia – has also intervened, only with Syria’s permission, and is actually defeating ISIS in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the force used by the US and its allies. The implications of this run deep including the fact that Russia and Syria are defeating ISIS by cutting their supply lines running straight out of NATO and US-allied territory, but there is at least one point Brookings makes that is valid.

Russia is indeed upending the “international order.”

Russia is upending it, if one understands that the term “international order” actually means the economic, sociopolitical, and military projection of power by Wall Street, Washington, London, and Brussels across the entire planet. Considering that in the West’s “international order,” it is acceptable to unilaterally bomb a sovereign nation without acquiring permission  from that nation’s government, it seems upending such egregious, unchecked injustice, it is not only acceptable, it is mandatory.

That Russia has done so in a measured, prudent, and proportional manner, respecting the principles of the multipolar order it seeks to replace the current “international order” with – one that respects the primacy of national sovereignty over monopolized and skewed notions of “international law,” is probably why it has been so successful in Syria. Considering that every alleged principle underpinning the “international order” Brookings refers to has been subverted first and foremost by the West itself, it is no surprise that a crisis of legitimacy has finally begun to take its toll on Western foreign policy objectives.

And while the US and its policymakers attempt to blame Russia already for a failed ceasefire that has yet to manifest itself, it is the US who is still openly training militants along Syria’s borders in an attempt to further perpetuate the violence that has ravaged Syria now for 5 years.

It is not a surprise that the West’s foreign policy circles, politicians, and media are attempting to frame the Syrian crisis as everyone’s fault but their own, however, doubling down on a failed policy and continuing to frame it dishonestly when much of the world now sees the truth, only deepens the crisis of legitimacy that has led the West to this particular cliff’s edge. Continuing forward rather than taking a step back, ensures the West’s legitimacy plunges further still.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.