Ragıp Eşref Filiz : The search for a solution in the shadow of a...

Ragıp Eşref Filiz : The search for a solution in the shadow of a blood feud

An Article by Ragıp Eşref Filiz

06 Ocak 2020 - 11:07 - Güncelleme: 04 Mayıs 2020 - 15:36



With the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, a unipolar system had been emerged, in which the US was a hegemonic power. During the period until Russia's 2008 Georgian intervention, Russia had not shown any resistance to the US unipolar order. In this process, Russia declared the Doctrine of the Near Environment and tried to become the dominant power in its region again, especially in the former Soviet geography. In this period, the United States assumed the role of world gendarmerie and tended to intervene alone against the crises in the world. Although the September 11 attacks ended the US unipolar world order, the most serious rebellion against the US unipolar world order was carried out by Russian President Putin during 2007 Munich Security Conference. On August 8, 2008, Russia entered Georgia using disproportionate force and by doing so, declared itself as an active force once again in the international system. The Orange Revolutions and efforts to establish pro-Western regimes in Russia's near geography aroused the feeling of a siege in Russia and Russia needed to show that it would not allow this to happen with the intervention of Georgia. In the early years of the Syrian crisis, the US preferred an Assad-free government, but in time it backed down. On the other hand, Russia has been an advocate of the Assadian solution from the beginning. During the Cold War, the Middle East was a geography where significant struggles were established between the Soviet Union and the United States. Russia's reintegration into the international system in the post-Cold War period has led to the re-emergence of the struggles of influence over The Middle East. Therefore, we need to understand the US-Russia competition in this region in order to establish the conditions for the solution of the Syrian problem. The importance of Syria and the Middle East for the US and Russia should be emphasized, followed by the policies pursued by the two countries within the framework of the crisis. Syria was the last link of the democratization movement, which began in Tunisia in 2010 and later spread to the Middle East. There has been a regime change in Tunisia and Libya. In Egypt, a democratic administration came first, then a military coup followed it. The events that started as a wave of the Arab Spring in Syria in March 2011 turned into a civil war over time. The crisis in Syria began in March 2011 with clashes between the Assad regime and opposition forces and is still going on today. Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of this crisis that has been going on for nearly 9 years. People were left homeless and most of them fled the country and sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon. In March 2011, when the demonstrations against the Assad regime were tried to be prevented by harsh interventions by the regime and the military intervention was applied, the country was dragged into chaos in a short time. While the Arab Spring ended in a short time in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Jordan, the movement started in Syria is still continuing today. The Syrian crisis has continued since March 2011 because the crisis has turned into an international crisis after a while. In this process, many non-state actors, regional and global actors participated in the crisis. When we compare Syria with other Arab countries, we have to accept the difference in terms of geopolitical importance. Syria is an important part of the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah alliance against American-Israeli domination in The Middle East. In the process, Russia took a position behind Assad, the Syrian president, while the US administration argued for a solution without Assad. The United States emphasized that Assad should go immediately in this period, while Russia, on the other hand, emphasized that the problem is an internal crisis and should not be intervened. During this period, both the crisis in Ukraine and the confrontation of the two countries in Syria led to the question of whether the Cold War was happening again. It will provide a better understanding of what happened during the crisis by specifying the Syrian policies and the importance of Syria for these two countries before analyzing the conditions of the solution of the Syrian Crisis in terms of these two countries, Generally, the Middle East targets of American foreign policy can be listed as the establishment of moderate pro-Western governments, the provision of energy security, the security of Israel, and the encirclement of the Shiite axis under the leadership of Iran and the prevention of the establishment of any power outside the US in the region. The 1979 Iranian revolution in the region, the attempt to export the revolution to the countries of the region and the alliance of Syria and Iran at this point, the support of Hezbollah to these two countries in the region threatened both the US hegemony in the region and the security of Israel. Russia has approached the events in Syria within the framework of the mutual benefits of its long-standing good relations with Syria. Russia has argued that the Arab Spring is a game to establish pro-Western regimes in the region, and has been concerned about the loss of its influence in the region. For Russia, Syria was one of the most important countries in the region with Iran. Tarsus base and Laskiye port, which is not only the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea but also has an important place for Russia to establish and maintain its influence in the region, is extremely important for Russia. Russia's loss of these bases and Syria means losing its influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. This would mean giving up this claim for Russia, which wants to maintain its post-Soviet global claim. The conquest of Syria by Western states, or the coming of a pro-Western government, will lead the Middle East region to become a completely US influence zone . After Trump came to the presidency, the cooperation between Russia and the United States in Hamburg was crucial in terms of clearing ISIS from Syria. In this process, Russia, which has been a supporter of Assad regime since the first years of the crisis, has increased its effectiveness in the crisis every day since it was involved in the crisis and thus prevented the collapse of Assad regime. As Trump became the President of the United States, the insistent policy of the US to leave Assad began to weaken. At this point, the crisis was proceeding as Russia wanted. Russia not only maintained the existence of the regime which it had close relations, but also reinforced its presence in Syria and the Middle East. As a result, the permanent settlement of the US and Russia in Syria through their military bases shows that these two countries will continue their indirect neighborhood. In order to solve the crisis in Syria and maintain social peace, reconciliation of the two powerful states with important interests over this country is an indispensable condition. We can assume that, in the long term, the United States will give up its insistence on an Assadless government or It will decide to meet with Russia by making mutual concessions. The first condition for this to happen is the end of the hot conflict in the region and the decline of political tension. Unfortunately, as I write these lines, the situation in the region has become more dangerous with the assassination of Qasem Soleimani by the US in Iraq. It is not possible to talk of a US-Russia reconciliation in Syria in the near future, while Iran is likely to have a hot conflict with the US. However, when we evaluate the situation from a realist perspective, we can think that big countries can sit at the table and convince their middle-sized allies while reaching an agreement. But, as we mentioned before, the reduction of tension in the region is a priority for this. In the absence of Iran-US reconciliation, Russia-US reconciliation will be very difficult.

Ragıp Eşref Filiz


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