Russia Will Regret Its Support for the Assad Regime

By bombing Syrian rebel groups, Russia only creates more extremists. (Photo: Jamestown.org)

By bombing Syrian rebel groups, Russia only creates more extremists. (Photo: Jamestown.org)

The average Westerner can be forgiven for wondering what Russia sees in the Assad regime. We wonder why, along with China, it vetoes UN Security Council resolutions holding the Syrian government accountable for its crimes. We wonder why it bombs all the rebel groups, when — if you’re into bombing — the Assad regime is worse for the country than any of them.

Among Russia’s main motivations are access to the Mediterranean via its naval base in Tartarus that it leases from Syria. Also, already dealing with its own Islamist extremism problem in states such as Chechnya, it doesn’t want even more of them running riot in Russia. In fact, Russia doesn’t actually seem to be propping up Assad but the Syrian government (as if it were possible to separate that from Assad). As Reuters reports:

Russia will countenance Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaving office, but only when it is confident a change of leader will not trigger a collapse of the Syrian government, sources familiar with the Kremlin’s thinking say.

Getting to that point could take years, and in the meantime Russia is prepared to keep backing Assad, regardless of international pressure to jettison him, those sources said.

Such steadfast support is likely to further complicate already stalled peace talks with Assad’s opponents and sour relations with Washington which wants the Syrian leader gone.

“Russia is not going to part company with Assad until two things happen,” Sir Tony Brenton, Britain’s former ambassador to Russia, told Reuters.

“Firstly, until they are confident he won’t be replaced with some sort of Islamist takeover, and secondly until it can be guaranteed that their own position in Syria, their alliance and their military base, are sustainable going forward.”

Russia is missing the point about stemming the flow of Islamic extremists to Russia. By bombing them and supporting the Assad regime, it is just adding more fuel to the Islamic extremist fire and creating more incentive for Islamic extremist migration to states such as Chechnya and attacks on Russia itself.

  • Heiko Demonus

    We wonder how some people can write still such oldview and biased and stupid articles. 😱

    Why should get Syrians President Al-Assad get responsible for killing people? Why gets the US government and the UK government with Tony Blair does not get accountable for their war crimes, figthing illegal wars under lies and killing thousands of people in Irak, Syria, Libya and finally creates this horrible ISIS who kills us in Europe. Shame on the US politics. Not Syrians Assad is our enemy, it is the wrong politics of big Western States and they still support this danger extremists like Nusra who behead people in Syria like ISIS does. It is a stupid supporting of extremists in Syria.

    • freedomtrue

      Very well said and very well put by someone who doesn’t fall for the western propaganda that the media duck feed us every day.

  • virgile

    The West is already regretting not to have supported Bashar al Assad when he warned that the ‘rebels’ were mostly terrorists in disguise…

  • Maritime Sentry Maritime Sentr

    For a man whom is so educated, your writing is far from neutral reporting. Case in point, America started a war in Iraq, yet was faced with no opposing fighting military, Thus, “jettisoning” (throwing from a airplane or ship) Saddam Hussein. The country is in complete chaos to this date. Next, Arab Spring uprising proved Tunisia, Qatar, Saudi, UAE, Oman, Jordan and Egypt of fall in line with American policy (or else). Gaddfi saw it for what is was, a coup on the Middle East. Assad, taken the position against America as Saddam and Gaddafi was sure to see the same fate, until Putin said enough is enough. Just has he did in Georgia, 2008, Crimea most recently. For the first time since Vietnam war(& we all know what happen there) American faces a country that has the capability to fight back accordingly, i.e. Russian military. American olive branch of cooperation is merely a ploy to keep the enemy close by offering to bomb the same targets and avoid the targets that American policy supports, which are still defined as terrorists. You dont have to be a political science student to know America wants and has tried to oust Putin. Supporting NGO’s in Russia opposing Putin during Hillary Clintons tenure. But that did not work, now crashing the price of oil with the help of the Saudi’s, violating the NATO agreement to not bring the NATO force into Russian Boarders. Placing sanctions on Russia while EU countries are pressured to follow American policy. I highly doubt that Russia will regret supporting Assad, it is far beyond that already. Putin knows exactly what he is doing, the threat is that America has never been on target with their post war contingency plans as evident in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the migrant crises, Ukraine/Crimea, the situation heating up in Poland with Russia and American is nervous about Putins next move and rightly so. Hopefully, the lying Generals seeking a war and the failed foreign policy advisors in Washington can hold it together until a new American President enters office and calms things down with Russia. That can only be Trump as Hillary would continue Obama’s failed strategy. Unfortunately the world has not become a better place in the last 10 years. America is the super power because it dropped 2 Atom bombs on Japan. Since that time a lot has changed and let the record reflect that US foreign policy does not have a a good report card.

  • Hrky75

    So basically, best defense against islamic extremism is no defense at all. Shooting back might just hurt their feelings so the West should go French on them and surrender. Who writes this c%%p?

  • mehdi hasan

    In fact it would amount to supporting Israel america ksa combine which want to set up puppet govt which Russia would not allow.

  • Helen

    Helen: The “average westerner” and Russ Wellen may wonder what Russia sees in Assad but the discerning and perceptive observer has no doubt. Assad is the lawfully elected leader of a sovereign nation and is supported by the vast majority of his people. Russia recognizes this but the US (for geopolitical reasons) does not. The US specialty is tipping over governments which do not comply with their wishes (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Ukraine to mention only the most recent). Russia does not indulge in this practice. The US engages in the practice of demonizing the leader it wishes to topple, Russia does not. The vilification of Assad that has gone on since 2011 consists of an endless string of lies. Only the wilfully ignorant believe this propaganda. The world is waking up to US lies (and I differentiate between the US people and the US government here).

    Thank heaven for Putin and for Russia!