The League of Arab States looks forward to the return of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) to its fold. This was recently written by Reuters. On the one hand, “the lack of support from Washington and the regional heavyweight of Riyadh will make it difficult to attract investment in the devastated country”, on the other — “Sunni Muslim States must quickly accept the SAR to withdraw Damascus from the orbit of Shiite Iran”. Moreover, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sees Assad as the “only option” to end Shiite influence in Syria and Lebanon.
The opening of the UAE Embassy in Damascus last December was a signal that the “villain Assad” has already been forgiven or will be forgiven. Moreover, there was no special opposition from America. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Anwar Gargash after consultations in the state Department stressed that in Syria “now closed because of the Russians and Iranians,” and there is not enough Arab influence. Thus, indirect contact between the SAR and the United States was established.
It seems that the rest of the Western public opinion has begun. For example, the former special envoy of the Netherlands to Syria Nicholas van Dam, who wrote a detailed book “the Destruction of the nation” about the power in Damascus, is convinced that there has never been a religious Union between the Iranian Shiites and the Alawite political leadership of Syria. For there is nothing in common between the “mad mullahs” and the secular rule of the SAR.vtor is convinced that the civil conflict which has developed into a bloody interfaith war, is a consequence of economic disappointment of internal policy of Assad. In fact, there is a blurring of the established cliché that the current head of the Syrian Arab Republic is an authoritarian and ruthless leader who “strangles democracy in his country”. Say, the head was mistaken with whom does not happen.
To understand what is really happening in Syria and what to expect in the future for our troops in Syria, we should go back a little bit.
As you know, Bashar Hafez al-Assad under the influence of life in London began his reign with the legal modernization of Syria. If you read his inaugural speech, involuntarily there are associations with Mikhail Gorbachev, who is not without “love for the West” gave the start of perestroika in our country. This is to ensure that it was clear what was happening in 2000 in Syria. Then Bashar talked a lot about “creative thinking”, “transparency”, “freedom of speech” and “democracy” as necessary changes.
But due to the lack of political culture and underdeveloped democratic institutions, the specter of conflict between Alawites, Sunnis, and Shiites immediately loomed. Bashar al-Assad hastily and quite rigidly withdrew political reforms, although the economy remained faithful to neoliberalism.
As a result, Syria quickly divided into elite and plebeians, that is, a few very rich and most poor, although the standard of living of the latter still increased compared to the period of the reign of father Bashar Hafez, whose domestic and foreign policy was based on confrontation with Israel. If in 2001 the GDP per Syrian per capita was $ 1,317, in 2010 — already $ 2,985, and the share of ATS in world GDP increased by half — from 0.063% to 0.092%. That is, the country developed faster than the global economy, although it still had an agrarian and hydrocarbon base.
To speculate that “you are when I began to live better than” Assad, however, did not happen because people are worried about not only the growth of personal wealth but also justice in General. From the point of view of Nikolos van Dam, this conflict of public interests led to a violation of the fragile ethnoreligious balance, which was subsequently used by external forces, including Iran, which began to pursue a policy of “Shiite Crescent”.
Ultimately, the world’s media painted an oil painting in which President Assad “turned” into a villain, burning his enemies alive and poisoning children with gas. All because at any cost grabbed the elusive power. And in General, for this reason, it is supported by Putin’s Russia, which is opposed by the “freedom fighter” — the United States.
The scheme was very simple: black is black, white is white. However, the recent support of the Arab League for the SAR violates the established Western logic. At first glance, Syria’s rapprochement with the UAE in particular and with the Sunni world, in General, is perceived as another insidiousness of the current Syrian President, who during the battle with ISIS* used Iran for his own purposes, and now gradually squeezes out an ally from his country.
Like, cost American puppets beckon finger, Assad immediately forgot about those who saved him from certain death. And this is after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the Syrian fronts lost, according to official data, 2,100 soldiers and about 10 Brigadier generals. In this regard, you can even read such malicious comments: “the Americans are right that Assad is a real villain and intriguer.” So, one day there may come a day when Damascus will betray Russia, whose soldiers and officers were killed “on foreign soil.” In fairness, this development may well take place, it is enough to recall the experience of relations with the former republics of the USSR.
However, there is another point of view: Assad, who called Tehran to fight against the “Islamic state”, whose troops had already fought in the suburbs of Damascus, considered Iranian assistance “debt repayment”.
In the book “Syria and Iran”, which became a political bestseller, expert Jubin Gudarzi explained that the current friendship of these countries can explain the past. Damascus was Tehran’s most important military partner during the Iraq-Iran war. If it were not for the support of Hafez al-Assad, Baghdad would have easily defeated Iran, which was weak at that time and then enslaved the Shiite country.
Here’s what Atlantic Council member Holly Dagres writes about it in his blog “Iran Source”: “Almost all of today’s foreign policy of Tehran is based on the results of the Iraq-Iran war.” He recalled that Hafez al-Assad had also persuaded Algerians and Libyans to side with Iran against Saddam Hussein’s strong army, splitting, in fact, the Arab world in two. The Syrians ensured the delivery of Algerian weapons to Tehran and conducted military special operations. By the way, Algeria continues to be loyal to the allies of President Bashar al-Assad in the current civil war and, along with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, is a supporter of the return of Syria to the League of Arab States.
thus, Damascus should not be anything to Iran. The departure of the IRGC and Shiite volunteers is only a matter of secret bargaining with Riyadh and, quite possibly, even with Washington, and behind Moscow’s back. After all, it is the right of a sovereign country, no matter how insulting it is to Russia.
At the same time, rapprochement with the League of Arab States, as well as active support from Egypt, Algeria, and the UAE finds a response in the Syrian government, although the solitary Arab position sounds like this — “there is no place not only for Iranians but also for Russians.” In General, Assad is ready to return to the state before the civil war, which led to a conflict of public interest.
It is sad to admit it, but Bashar al-Assad still bears a solid share of responsibility for the civil war, because he violated the social contract concluded with the people by his father Hafez. Of course, the Americans did everything to make the “Arab spring” take place, but the necessary economic prerequisites were created for this.
* The Islamic State (ISIS) was declared a terrorist organization by a decision of the Supreme court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014, and its activities in Russia are prohibited.