The Syrian terror trap
Nafeez Ahmed

An interesting article. But I would be interested to know what you think the ‘narrow geo-political goals’ of Russia and of Iran are in the region. It is obvious what those of the West are (oil, allies in Israel, Turkey and the Gulf, outdated historic anti-Russianism and anti-Iranism and NATO floundering around trying to create a post-cold war role for itself). But it is far less clear what is the advantage to Russia and to Iran of supporting Assad.

They are close regional neighbours, and surely their overriding and urgent priority is regional stability, and by definition a stop to the fighting. Is it really unreasonable to take at face value their assertion that they are going in strongly to bring some kind of resolution to the situation. Chaos is not in anyone’s interest, least of all the people of Syria and the region. The West surely needs to take a deep breath, review what they have failed to achieve so and then work with Russia and Iran to bring peace to Syria. It’s the only optimistic scenario.The people of Syria just want a stop to the fighting, a return to normality, and a chance to get on with their lives. Who is in charge is far less important than this.

And, so, please explain exactly what you imagine Russia’s geopolitical goal is here? I can see exactly what it is in Ukraine, and in Crimea — but in Syria? Let’s look at it from the perspective of Russia and of Iran, for a change. I look forward to your analysis.

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