“In international political affairs, a visible defeat can never be ruled out as an ultimate victory”
Among all the chaos and speculations, Bashar Al Assad reign over Syria has lived on. The UN Security Council has placed its “Nobel” seal over the arrangement agreed between the Big 2, Moscow and Washington. As per the draft, Syrian regime will accommodate the UN and other actors in the safe disposal of chemical weapons, to ensure that neither they get used in the ongoing civil war nor they end up in wrong hands in the coming future.
For someone like Bashar who just a week back was bracing for an all-out US invasion, this comes nothing short than a triumph in his 2 yearlong brutal civil war with the rebel forces. As a statesman, Bashar has succeeded in achieving what many before him failed, although their reign surpassed him by decades. Leaders like Saddam and Gadaffi were never able to divide the East and West themselves, like the days in Cold War era. For this, he deserves all the credit for holding onto his nerves till the last.
A reflection over the entire episode leaves a lot of questions unanswered, especially the way Obama and Cameron fought the case of Syria in their respective domains. Cameron haste can be best described for the historical vote in the British Parliament which ruled out any chance whatsoever of England partnering its long term ally America in the Syrian expedition. Toward Obama, there is a brigade of follies and errors which have contributed to Washington “Roll Back” on Syria.
The Syrian insurgency is here for the past two years, and one gets confused as to why this issue remained on the back burner while the momentum was set during the height of much questionable “Arab Spring”. This lapse had definitely given the due time to Obama’s counterpart in Moscow, Vladmir Putin to rethink his approach to the changing dynamics in Arab peninsula, especially considering Libyan episode.
Moving ahead, the phenomena of “Rebels” have become over complicated considering the way US, France and their allies have failed in the transition in Libya. The memories are still fresh of rebels (and some invaders as well) dragging an injured Gaddafi in the streets while as per agreed norms he should have been secured and brought to a platform for accountability of whatever charges labelled against him and his regime. Moving further, the same rebels in Libya an year later were seen dragging the American Ambassador in the same manner, after a controversial security compromise lead to the storming of his compound and later into his death. The most alarming element has remained the spillover phenomena of a rebellion like this, and in Libya it has definitely moved ahead to areas including Mali as per reports. For this, Obama was always on a loose ground against Bashar and Putin from the word go, and strange enough he did little to overturn this disadvantage.
War has no moral binding and this has stayed the same since the evolution of mankind, but the Syrian case is highly vocal to this fact. The “rebels” were vague from the start of the insurgency and it has stayed the same till now. Their composition has been highly questionable in the aftermath of reports that Al Qaeda and many different elements were making up their ranks. The Syrian war has remained active through leaked videos from different cities making its way to the media screens. Whereas most of the documented evidence reflected the regime crushing protests and bombing cities, rebels ruthlessly showed their brutalities toward captured Syrian soldiers by killing them by road sides with head shots. I was amazed to see one of the most trusted British News Channel running a documentary on a rebel commander who had captured a regime soldier, slaughtered him and was eager enough to eat his organs just to display his hatred. The same commander was shown on the forefront of later expeditions with top rebel commands. With rebels resorting to cannibalism on media screen, it was highly naïve of the West to provide arms at the same time. This had virtually ceased their “just” case in Syria against Bashar at home, as well as globally.
Being a veteran himself, Putin was offered the perfect opportunity and he had no reason to let it go. Far from rhetoric, Putin was able to reflect Bashar and Syria as its line of Defense against the allies, and he did it right.
As for now, its Bashar who has lived to see the next day for his regime whereas Vladmir Putin has recaptured the limelight from Washington to Tripoli through his successful defense of Syria. The other losers include the Gulf Alliance headed by K-S-A(Saudia) for their wicked role in the civil war, while thousands were getting slaughtered every passing minute. Obama’s handling of Syrian chapter have raised many eyebrows across the Globe and Capital Hill over his acumen on foreign affairs. But I would like to leave a door open for his “might be” intentions or game plan. Like in Libya, US umbrella to Syrian rebels would have made matters extremely difficult in the aftermath of Bashar’s fall. Where Libya is considerably away from epic center, Syrian surrounding makes it an entirely different case. The spillover would have brought Hezbollah, Israel, Iran and Palestine (HAMAS) to the verge of a military confrontation, with unimaginable consequences. Avoiding a case like in Afghanistan in the 1990’s, US engagement in Syria with rebels would have been very lengthy, tiring and expensive. Weighing these options, the “roll back” seems a logical and calculated affair from Obama to say the least.
Lastly, do not mistake this resolution as an end to Syrian chapter. The rebels still are present and they have plenty of suppliers to fuel their needs. In no time media screens can be seen flashing with renewed violence from both sides, and Putin and China will have a tough time defending Bashar on international spectrum.