Unrest In Syria And Geopolitical Games

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When few people suggested military operation against left wing extremists (naxalites), UPA government opposed the idea. Some human rights activists and NGOs were even against the use of paramilitary forces in fighting maoist menace. Army is just not meant for operations against its own fellow citizens. Its mode of operation is different than that of  police and paramilitary. Military ruthlessly uses force to eliminate its enemies.

Even though naxalites aim to overthrough government and establish their ideology and even after cold blood murder of hundreds of ‘police informers’ and police personnel, India being a democracy is cautious in using military force to quell the ‘biggest internal security threat‘ within its borders.

Come to Syria, where freewheeling military tanks of its army are busy shelling parts of Homs – epicentre of mass protests against the rule of president Bashar Al Assad. UN General assembly condemned human rights violations in Syria yesterday. But tanks are still impounding the city. More than 7000 people have been killed by Syrian army since 2011 January.

Few days ago, Russia and China together vetoed UN Security Council’s move to pass a resolution asking Assad to step down and make way for political reforms. Russia sells its arms to Syria and it still maintains Soviet era naval base in the city of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast. Any regime change will be injurious to its regional interests, as the new regime will be a puppet of USA and EU. China’s opposition was just a choice between following USA or Russia – it chose Russia.

President Assad belongs to a minority Alwaite sect which forms less than 9% of Syrian population in a predominantly Sunni country (74%). He inherited power in 2000 after his father Hafez’s death, who  had ruled Syria since 1971. Following a one party rule and suppressing political rights of its people, the regime  did not realize that Arab spring would haunt them too. The regime has its supporter in Iran, a Shia dominated country, but it has more enemies than friends in the region. Arab league has called for arming opposition groups in Syria just as in Libya. This move has its own dangerous implications in perpetuating civil war once the ruler is gone – armed civilians, rogue elements will grow as Frankenstein’s monster. Remember Taliban?

USA and EU are hellbent on regime change mainly to weaken and isolate Iran in the region. By installing puppets in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and in future in Syria,western powers can loot the region’s rich oil resources and use the region to counter growing influence of China and Russia.

But history and even current developments tell us different stories. In 1979 when Shah was overthrown, people of Iran voted for the establishment of Islamic republic. In 2011 Egyptians voted Muslim Brotherhood to the power – both are anti west. When  dust settles, people in the region will grow more anti west. Pakistanis hate Americans as much as they hate Indians.

Assad lost his opportunity to reform and remain in power. He can not prolong murdering his own people (though he says they are terrorists). He will go anyway, but the question is – how will the west counter growing radical Islamism in the region who are filling the vacuum created by falling regimes, which might become safe havens for Al-Qaeda and like minded terrorist organizations?