The Global Impacts of Russian Intervention in Syria


We break it down, you get the facts:

Western forces have been working diligently to help efforts at peace talks along in Syria and to increase aid contributions to the war-torn country.  The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus compares the strategies of Russian and Western nations, finding that despite Russian efforts help little to create lasting peace, it does appear as if its efforts to bolster the Assad regime have been highly successful.

The WAC take:

With each passing day, the conflict in Syria becomes even more complicated. With so many nations involved, the international stakes of Syria’s fate are rising. Russia’s recent military involvement has been particularly concerning. Breaking with post-Cold War patterns, Russia has begun re-arming at an alarming rate. NATO members have been painfully aware of this development and have begun slowly increasing military spending to counteract Russia’s increased might. While NATO blames Russian aggression for this development, the Russians claim that their increased military force is only defensive.

Jonathan Marcus, a diplomatic correspondent for BBC News, weighs in on the subject in his article “How President Putin is getting what he wants in Syria.”  While Western countries have approached the Syrian crisis with the mindset that military might will not be able to end the conflict, the Russians have entered the fray by supporting President Al- Assad. By using raw military force to support Al-Assad and his soldiers, the Russians are gaining ground in a way no one thought possible. Marcus points out that from a Western perspective, “Putin is in the doghouse”; however, he does not have the same degree of public accountability as Western politicians, and up to this point, his military intervention in Syria has gone almost completely unopposed within his own country. Instead, we see Putin closing in on his political goals in Syria by supporting Al-Assad, who already has substantial military power; with these actions, Russia has the potential to establish permanent influence within the region.

Marcus believes that given the current state of affairs in the long run, the nation will be divided into two “Enclaves”: one being the Russian-backed Assad, who would control the coast, while the rest of the country would most likely fall under the control of the Islamic State. While the Russians have chosen to use direct military force primarily as air support to Assad, the West has chosen to support various local factions in tandem with countries like Turkey. Marcus criticizes Western nations for addressing the problem from a self-interested strategic perspective instead of working towards stability in Syria as an end in itself.

–Matthew Favaro, World Affairs Council Intern
Photo credit: BBC News