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Is Russia/Putin a Reliable Ally for Syria/Assad!

If one could turn back time, Assad would have definitely loved to restart from the year 2009. That was the year when Assad foolishly refused to sign an agreement for an overland pipeline from Gulf state to Europe via Syria. He refused to sign that saying "To protect the interests of Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas". Was there any need for him to do that! Just think what would have happened had he signed that agreement. He would have made hell lot of cash, he could have proceeded with absolute impunity in his ruling, he could most probably be an ally of The United States of America by now and most probably the Tartus port would have been a permanent base for America now. Instead he and his beloved country is facing a six year old civil war and battle for existence.

Trump's missile strike on Shayrat airbase last week would have helped Assad realized his folly of 2009. He refused to sign an oil pipeline deal which could have hurt Russian interests. He had no right to do that. And that he did the same for an ally who apart from teh rhetoric at United Nations Security Council, won't move a little finger to defend Syria. May be it's a bit harsh to criticize Putin for his absolute inaction against US Missile strikes. But then this is not the first time, is it?

For those who has been familiar with the Syrian Civil war, the continuous attack on Syrian Armed forces by Israeli Air force is widely known. It is a part of Al-Queda play boo, whenever they gets bogged down in Golan heights fight; they simply fire some shots across the border (looks like that is the distress call to israelis) and Israelis immediately come and attack the Syrian armed forces. This has been continuing with impunity for some time. This all are happening in the middle of Russian presence is quite baffling. The Russian aircraft nor the Russian SAMs have fired a single shot at these intruders. The recent episode of Syria shooting down an Israeli jet; one has to assume was done without the consent of Putin.

Russia's stance on Israeli and US (there are more to come) attacks is made clear by one statement made by Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian Federation Council's defense committee. Responding to the question why Russia didn't shoot down US missiles he said and I quote "Our armed forces are in Syria to fight terrorism — not to defend against external threats. That’s not our mandate, and we’re not going to intercept anything." What on earth does it mean? How are you going to fight Terrorism when the only force which is fighting terrorists on the ground is mercilessly killed?

Looking deep into the statement and past behavior of Putin, you could make a sense of where this reaction is coming from. Russia entered in the Syrian conflict after a late realization that if Assad falls, it may be the start of the end of Europe's Russian Oil dependency. Qatar and Saudi will gradually cut into Russia's biggest market. Had the 2009 proposal of Pipeline happened, the impact of Russian sanctions following Crimea episode would have at least quadrupled. It's the very fact that many Countries especially Germany was dependent on Russian gas that limited the amount of sanctions. Otherwise we would have seen sanctions hitting even the Oil industry.

But regardless of all these facts, Russia's especially Putin's strategy in Syria was about containment. He wanted to make sure that Assad does not fall threatening Russia's financial interest. But curiously he has never categorically stated that removal of Assad is a no-go for Russia. Which means he is ready to sacrifice Assad if US and his allies guarantee Russia's interest. If tomorrow Trump offers him an agreement where the pipeline proposal to Europe would be cancelled, Putin will give up Assad the very next moment. Such an agreement will be similar like the one Gobashev had about NATO expansion. We all know what happened to that! But regardless of that if Putin is given such an agreement; he will take it without thinking.

In this backdrop Assad may have to start thinking what he planning to achieve by fighting this war. Russia is an ally who will never stand up for its friends. Had they have done once in the past, we would have had better International situations across the globe. Putin is too much of a 'Paper Tiger' and even if Russia itself is atatcked, I doubt he will do something. So standing up for Syria is something he is not gonna do. The earlier Assad realize this the better; he should try to cut some deal with Saudi and Qatar and somehow try to get on the good side of United States of America. Trusting Russia is his biggest folly and he should correct the same immediately.


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