Assad’s Faithful Ally

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Yet Russian solidarity with Syria is more than an act of defiance against the West. It is also based on the cold logic that an international campaign to bring accountability to an undemocratic regime could be leveled against Russia, as well as Syria. Vladimir Putin is not Bashar al-Assad, even if Russia’s ruthless military intervention in Chechnya bears more than a passing resemblance to the Syrian government’s suppression of domestic opposition. But as the recent mass rallies in Moscow show, in the eyes of many Russians, Putin’s claims to democratic legitimacy are no more credible than Assad’s. It’s little wonder, then, that Russia has been so adamant in blocking regime change in Syria. As Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin revealingly observed this week, once Western countries begin initiating regime change “it is difficult to stop, then you will start telling what kings need to resign and what prime ministers need to step down.” Including, say, a certain prime minister with plans to reinstall himself as president.

In reality, any such Western effort is unlikely. The Obama administration, seemingly unwilling to accept “no” for an answer, continues to pursue its “reset” policy toward Russia. In the meantime, Russia’s intransigent backing for the Assad regime ensures that Syrians will continue to suffer. Since the government began its crackdown last March, over 6,000 people have been killed, the majority of them civilians. And the government shows no signs of backing down. Just last month, Assad vowed to use an “iron fist” to crush the Syrian opposition movement.

With their country on the edge of civil war, Syrians are in a precarious position. But with Russia effectively blocking any meaningful international attempt to intervene, the Assad regime need not count its days. For the foreseeable future, Russia’s “red lines” guarantee that the regime can continue to shed Syrian blood with impunity.

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  • Fred Dawes

    wasn't he are best friend one time? this is getting to look like 1984, but soon we will be the enemy of the state.

  • Geneww

    Russia understands the impact caused from control by Muslims. Those trying to ruin capitalism welcome it such influence and control.

    The tenets of a Muslim society (Koran) hates everything that God loves and established. However, the Bible will stand since it is authored and preserved by God …


      Absolutely the truth, Geneww.
      The same thing that happened in Libya and Egypt is happening in Syria.

      Of course it looks like they are killing innocent people, but the facts are; They are fighting off radical Jihadists, this is all part of the "Arab Spring" where the Muslims want to take total control, and Hitlery wanting to help them should PROVE exactly what is happening.

  • KKKK

    Assad has many faults, however, he is certianly better than any potential Islamofacist regime that would come in the power should he abdicate. the Christians are treated badly by the Al-Qaeda-linked protesters.


      I agree, kkkk.

  • Lawrence Kohn

    Laskin omitted Iran from the circle of Russia's allies and overlooked its outreach to Hamas and its links to Hizbullah. There is nothing symbolic about its attachment to Syria. The article itself points out the continuity of Syrian-Russian alliance from the Soviet to post Soviet era. The fact is that the elite of the Soviet Union continue to control the country. In an effort to get into Western economic institutions and to revitalize its internal control the KGB led government transformed itself and retreated from direct control of Eastern Europe but never let go of the reigns of power. Now it is returning to its goal of hegemony and using its nuclear weapons modernization program to undergird its power. Syria and Iran play a key role in its return to the Middle East and it will accomodate itself to the rise of the Muslim brotherhood and make an effort to exploit the recent changes in the Middle East even as it tries to bolster faltering allies like Syria.

  • steven L

    The main reason for Putin to support Assad is to proetct Russian interests in Iran.

  • mrbean

    Putin regards Obama as not even a lightweight, a clown on a stage, and refers to him always as "Obambi" with a contemptuous laugh and scorns Hillary Clinton as an unkempt charwoman.

  • g_jochnowitz

    The USSR has fallen, but Putin remains a Marxist. Russia under Putin is part of the Marxist-Islamic Alliance. The Left licks Islamic a$$.

  • Marty

    Russian regimes have a long record of destroying their own people. The syrians have been tutored by russian power elites since the 1960s. They were taught well. It is a sad state of affairs that russia and iran are syria's strongest (and only) allies. Western democracies should be doing everything possible to de-stabilize the asad regime by supporting rebel groups. It is a really good idea to enable syria to completely disintegrate into several statelets based on ethnicity (such as the Kurds) and religion (based on a variety of islamic sects). russian and syria would lose their most valuable client state in the middle east and be somewhat less of a threat to the United States and to Israel.

  • Flowerknife_us

    Let them do unto each other as they do unto themselves. Outside of protecting the remaining Christan comunnity there is no sane reason to involve ourselves.

    "Protecting" Civilians has put enough of the fundimentilists in power already.

    The "civilians" are the root cause of the problem throughout the Midddle East.

    Let all these pious-peacful people fight for the tryanny they so worship while we prepare to deal with who comes out on top.

  • Fred Dawes

    We may still have the third world war.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Like attracts like, Putin sees himself in Assad, ruthless and intractable without
    moral conscience. It can be said that both are evil men, money and power
    can be legitimate goals but when bad guys are in the mix violence and mob
    thinking comes out. The three do make for and axis of evil, Iran, Syria and
    Russia and in a big way, eventually someone is going to have to fight them.