Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Russia's opposition to action against Syria

Up until a few months ago I thought that ISIS was just a pub along Silksworth Row in Sunderland.  It turns out that an Islamic extremist group of that name has emerged which is more barbaric than Al Quaeda.  It is a well-armed, well-organised and well-funded terrorist organisations intent on creating an Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and has variously been called ISIS, IS and now ISIL.  Whatever it is, it's not a state and it's not Islamic.  

Russia has been warning the west for years - long before 9/11 - about the rise of Islamic extremism, having experienced it on its own soil.  The Russian position has consistently been to ask who would govern Syria if Assad is deposed, and to point out that by arming the rebels, you fuel Islamic extremist groups, making matters worse. Whatever Russia's motivation and allegiance are in this, it is nevertheless a reasonable question to ask.

I have previously viewed Russia's support for Assad, and both Russia and China's opposition to intervention and the military action against Assad's murderous regime, to be morally reprehensible, self-serving, obstructionist and realpolitik at its worst; but, given the rapid rise of this radical terrorist organisation, comprising circa 30,000 fighters from Syrian rebel groups, the Russian position seems remarkably prescient and sensible.  

There is now talk in some western circles about engaging in dialogue with Assad with a view to assisting him crush these rebels.  There was the meeting of foreign ministers this week, which included Russia's Sergei Lavrov, on the pressing need to do something about the ISIS/IS/ISIL. On the news this morning, I heard that the US was taking military action to protect Syria's border.  

What's going on?  Its just like the shifting alliances in the perpetual war depicted in Orwell's novel "1984".

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