Why is Russia Supporting Assad in Syria?

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posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 12:46 PM
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In the Syrian civil war the Ba’athist government of Bashar al-Assad has few allies and many enemies. In this Civil war only two significant states stand by Assad, Iran and another long term ally of Syria, Russia. Some have questioned this alliance; they ask why Russia supports Assad’s government whilst the rest of the international community denounces him and his government. It is the intention of this thread to explore the relationship between Syria and Russia.

In 2012 Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom wrote an article in the London Telegraph outlining the Russian position on Syria, he said that:



I would like to make clear Russia categorically condemns any violence. The actions of President Bashar al-Assad’s government in the crisis can hardly be called exemplary and the perception Russia is ‘‘blindly supporting’’ the Syrian authorities is mistaken……

So we believe it is crucial that the international community condemns not only the violence on the part of government forces, but also the armed actions of the opposition; that it demands the political opposition dissociate itself from extremists and that armed opposition groups leave population centres in conjunction with the withdrawal of government forces……

We are convinced that a one-sided condemnation of the Syrian government and its diplomatic isolation, coupled with unconditional support for the opposition, are not conducive to a peaceful settlement but instead encourage the opposition to continue armed struggle instead of turning to politics.

Our western and some Arab partners are in effect taking one side in the confrontation, when the goal should be to help Syrians decide their future independently through the political process.

Telegraph
The question then is why is Russia taking a view that is so different to the west who seem to be unilaterally supporting the opposition.

Many people simply state that the reason that Russia is so supportive of the Assad regime is because of lucrative arms contracts. While this is true it is only a smaller part of a much larger issue, Russia has many reasons for wanting to stick with its old ally. The issue of arms is one such reason however this is compounded by events in Libya and Iran. Russia is believed to have lost out to over $4 billion worth of arms contracts since the fall of Gaddafi and up to $13 billion caused by sanctions against Iran who had weapons supplied form Russia. The new government in Libya is much less friendly to the Russians and as such the Russian arms market has lost a big client. With the fall of Assad Russia would stand to lose another big client, in the last few years Syria has bought almost $5 Billion worth of arms form Russia this only accounts for 5% of the overall arms exports of Russia. The problem is what Russia sees as its arms market shrinking due to its former clients in the Middle East being released by governments that are either pro-western or Islamist who are not willing to deal with Moscow and as such it is also the prospect of future loss of earnings.

There are other commercial interests that Russia has in Syria; it may at first seem to be a minor interest however it is worth noting. The Russian oil company, Storytransgaz has in the past been awarded $1.1 billion worth of contracts and has a $12 million contract currently for the construction of an oil pumping station. In addition to this Assad is also reported to have amassed up to $1.5 billion in offshore banks many of these are in Russia and Hong Kong, as such it is possible that Russian banks could stand to lose money should Russia act against Assad. These economic factors individual may not be significant but when viewed as part of a bigger picture they are substantial although they are not the only reason behind Russia’s standing in Syria

Russia also has a significant interest in Syria for its own national security; Russians only remaining naval base outside of the former Soviet Union is located in Syria, the port of Tartus. It is understood that this facility is a maritime technical support unit that may have up to 600 members of the Russian navy stationed (the exact number is unclear) . In addition to this Russia’s only electronic surveillance station inside the Middle East is located inside Syria, if Russia where to lose this then they would lose their ability to collect Singles intelligence inside most of the Middle East. The fact that Syria has traditionally been Russia’s only stable ally in the Middle East is regarded as another national security consideration in supporting Syria as it offers some protection to Russia’s southern flank.

The Russians can justify this by pointing out that American has been on the whole very quiet regarding Bahrain, where America has a port and a few years ago America also quietly lifted a ban on military aid to Uzbekistan. Interestingly, Uzbekistan is necessary for NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. The point out that America and the west are very apt at taking action against state they disapprove of with the opportunity arises yet are very quiet when criticizing their allies in the Middle East such as Saudi-Arabia and Bahrain.

Again however national security considerations are only part of Russia’s reasoning behind supporting Syria.

The biggest motivation guiding Russian foreign policy towards Syria is political and guided by three main factors; the wests response to Libya, undermining the actions of the west and finally Russia’s strong believe in total national sovereignty.

To start with one has to understand that Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union has developed a foreign policy of “total sovereignty” they believe that all states should have the right to determine their own future without the interference of any external state, including the west. The conflict with the west arises when Russia takes a view that a states right to total sovereignty means that the leaders of said state can effectively act in any way they want regardless of the harm they do unto civilians so long as it is still in Russia’s interests they have adopted a principle of non-interference that is paradoxical to western policy.

This ties in with the other issue that Russia has, Russia does not want what has happened in the rest of the Middle East to happen to Syria. They believe that the west in Libya used UN resolution 1973 to use the no-fly zone as a cover to use air power to enforce regime change. More so they believe that the secular leaders of Arab state are being replace with Islamist leaders. For Russia this presents several problems due to Russia record in fighting Muslim forces in Chechnya means that Russia is just as paranoid about Terrorism as America. For Russia the replacement of Russian friendly secular leaders with Western friendly Islamic leaders sends a message to the Kremlin that these states oppose Russia and will be sympathetic of the cause of the Chechens. This could have two effects, firstly that Russia’s commercial ties with these states are restricted and furthermore these states begin to provide more support to Chechnya and the Russian Caucasus.

Cont....
edit on 11-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 12:47 PM
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reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin
 


There is also some paranoia within the Kremlin that after Syria, Iran will be the next state to be subjected to the Arab Spring with opposition to the current regime being supported by the West. This will result in Russia losing yet another partner in the Middle East. Further than this there is some even more paranoid elements in Russia who believe that the Arab Spring could move into the Russian northern Caucasus and Chechnya then possibly even spread through Russia itself as they believe the Arab Spring will spread north.

Finally the final major reason for Russia supporting Syria is to undermine western foreign policy; Russia has the ability and has done in the past blocked UN resolutions and has sent warships to Syria as a show of strength. This is done as much for domestic reasons as for wider geopolitical reasons, for many Russians standing separate from the west is always a popular move as it shows Russian prowess in the world that has been lost since the fall of the Soviet Union.

So why is the Russian Federation supporting Al-Assad’s regime in Syria?

Well to summarise Russia’s reasons for sticking with Syria are that they believe in adopting a foreign policy of totally sovereignty towards Syria so they can undermine western policy. They are also taking this view to ensure their wider commercial and national security concerns as well as putting of what they see as the increasing western and Islamic influence in the Middle East which is drastically reducing the influence of the Russian Federation.

Sources:
www.ft.com...
www.guardian.co.uk...
www.nytimes.com...
www.bbc.co.uk...
www.cnn.co.uk...
middleeast.about.com...

Personal disclosure.

I wish to be clear from the start, in writing this thread I have based most of it on the sources listed above and done my best to remove any personal bias I may have only looking at the views that the Russian Government have, all factual information should be found in these sources above. Therefore I would ask members not to regard the above as my own views on the Syrian Conflict; these are the views and reasons of the Russian Federation for supporting Assad.

I do not necessarily agree with them on some points, I know that in some cases they are only supporting Assad for self-preservation. One article I read recently in a Journal (not publically available) said that Russia’s stance was one of “principled self-interest” I personally would agree with such a statement, they believe intentions are good however they do have their own selfish reasons for defending Syria.

Thank You
edit on 11-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)
edit on 11-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)
edit on 11-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 12:54 PM
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The west is wrong.

And who the hell cares what America and England says? Its a new day and these two countries need to shut up. Cant even run an economy.

Russia does not support Assad. Russia seeks a sensible solution. Do you remember Putins reaction to what the west did to Gadaffi? Images that the west plastered all over msm like some low class society of animals?

Its time for the world to turn away from the murderous voices of the past.

Thank god for China and Russia and their veto power. Shame on the west for going around China and Russia and backing terrorists.

Blood is on the hands of the west.
edit on 11-1-2013 by HenryNorris because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 12:56 PM
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It's not just Syria.
The west or just the US? just wants control over the middle east. And Syria belongs to ''the axis of evil''.
It's just a by product from the invasion of Iraq and Russian knows very well, that's it about control ever since communism was the big enemy. First it was ''terrorist'' which is just a word in which you can place many enemy's. Since the start of the war was bases on lies and to sell it to the public (not hard after 9-11 and the ass kissers of many other country's! which supported it with helping) & of course Israels infuence which feels not so safe with all those country's surrounding them which hate them.

+ the fact Russia is in 2 camps, so it's hard to really get on 1 side these days with their economy which today needs the global ''free trade'' and so on.
But still they feel they gotta do something, to get some control over international matters and their infuence.
Of course they kinda wished they could the same and sit on many international institutions like the US, and just do as they wish, but they are kinda trapped in it all. So even when they don't like it, they can hardly can do something against it.

Terrorist was the big enemy! now we support them? wtf?
edit on 11-1-2013 by Plugin because: (no reason given)
edit on 11-1-2013 by Plugin because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 12:58 PM
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reply to post by HenryNorris
 





Russia does not support Assad. Russia seeks a sensible solution.


I agree, that is basically the position that the Russian ambassador to the UK outlined in the article I linked to, however Russia does have its own selfish reasons. They are not supporting Syria, or rather a diplomatic solution to the civil war because it is the right thing to do, they do have selfish reasons.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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Originally posted by OtherSideOfTheCoin
reply to post by HenryNorris
 





Russia does not support Assad. Russia seeks a sensible solution.


I agree, that is basically the position that the Russian ambassador to the UK outlined in the article I linked to, however Russia does have its own selfish reasons. They are not supporting Syria, or rather a diplomatic solution to the civil war because it is the right thing to do, they do have selfish reasons.


I agree that Russia does have other reasons. But they are not selfish for sure.I know America pretends its happy land and pump out propaganda like no tomorrow but America is an Imperial nation and they are on a road to Persia in the Middle East. This is no secret. And it isnt about 'rights' or 'democracy'. I thank god for Russia and China. I thought democracy could stop western war for western interest but it cant. The left western parties are just as bad as the right. Maybe worse. China and Russia are our only hope.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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Plus you have to ask yourself who is supplying the rebels/fsa or whatever the west calls them with weapons and ammo? From what I've read these people are killing anyone who is pro-assad. It's not even on the wests MSM news networks.
edit on 11-1-2013 by RedShirt73 because: (no reason given)
edit on 11-1-2013 by RedShirt73 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:11 PM
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If American supports the Terrorist(um, i mean the Free Syrian army( perspective depends on who is your friend)) then Russia would support the opposite, its simple.

Just like America supports his belligerent retarded brother, Israel, for no good reason.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by HenryNorris
 


Surly if one of their reasons for supporting Syria is to ensure their own economic and national security concerns then they have selfish reasons, they may be a by-product of what they see as a more righteous reason but they still have selfish motives.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:18 PM
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I just noticed I have posted this in the wrong forum, I was meant to post it in the “Middle East” forum so I would appreciate it if a mod could move it.

Secondly already members are talking about terrorism, this thread is about Russian policy regarding Syria, but if anyone is interested this thread explains the role that terrorists are playing in Syria.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:20 PM
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Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we've never had nor never will get the truth from our western mainstream media. I'm not saying it's any better in the East.

One could ask why is America supporting the insurgents. I know it's the govt not the people, but that applies equally for the Russians too.

Or indeed one could ask why the US labels al qaeda an enemy in one theatre of war, yet an ally in another.

The world is a game of chess. The NWO needs opposing sides to line their pockets and take away our rights.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:22 PM
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To me, this is an analogous situation to the US/UK unflagging support of Israel. Israel = Syria, except that Syria nicer about stuff than Israel is.

Why is it always okay for the West to be utterly absurd but not anyone else? Only the West can have nukes. Only the West can invade countries for no reason. Only the West can exploit other nations. Only always the bloody West.

Who the hell are we in the West to criticize anyone for anything? Time for a serious attitude check.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:22 PM
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In my eyes, Russia is doing the right thing. I'm more worried as to why we ('The West') are funding our own enemies, Al-Qaeda. Who if you have forgotten, supposedly blew up 3 towers with two planes on September 11th, 2001, which we then went to war, where we have lost thousands of our troops, and killed over 100,00 civilians in the process.
edit on 11-1-2013 by n00bUK because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by CosmicEgg
 





To me, this is an analogous situation to the US/UK unflagging support of Israel. Israel = Syria, except that Syria nicer about stuff than Israel is.

That is a very accurate analogy and one I should have included in my OP so thanks for raising it.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by n00bUK
In my eyes, Russia is doing the right thing. I'm more worried as to why we ('The West') are funding our own enemies, Al-Qaeda. Who if you have forgotten, supposedly blew up 3 towers with two planes on September 11th, 2001, which we then went to war, where we have lost thousands of our troops, and killed over 100,00 civilians in the process.
edit on 11-1-2013 by n00bUK because: (no reason given)


I appreciate that many have that concern.

However I am somewhat frustrated, I recently authored a thread called Al-Qa’ida in Syria that explained this, I have linked to it above you may find it interesting.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by luciddream
If American supports the Terrorist(um, i mean the Free Syrian army( perspective depends on who is your friend)) then Russia would support the opposite, its simple.

Just like America supports his belligerent retarded brother, Israel, for no good reason.


No good reason?

The Holocaust. Did you forget?


Google Chrome even made me capitalize the H in holocaust, # you Google.
edit on 11-1-2013 by n00bUK because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by n00bUK
 


I sooo want to comment but I know I'd get biffed for antisemitism or some such tripe. Please use your own imaginations to put witty words where I've been forced to leave this blank due to the *yawn*. Oh, excuse me. I meant *yawn*.

What about all the people of the planet who have died at the hands of dictators? What about all the minority groups all over the world who have always suffered at the hands of their "superiors"? Why is it not a holocaust for them too? Why don't we all have our own countries? Fair's fair, after all, right?
edit on 11/1/2013 by CosmicEgg because: to reiterate the obvious.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:47 PM
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Originally posted by CosmicEgg
reply to post by n00bUK
 

What about all the people of the planet who have died at the hands of dictators? What about all the minority groups all over the world who have always suffered at the hands of their "superiors"? Why is it not a holocaust for them too? Why don't we all have our own countries? Fair's fair, after all, right?
edit on 11/1/2013 by CosmicEgg because: to reiterate the obvious.


This is the point.

Americas defense of Israel and their involvement in Palestine is complete irony to say the least



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:55 PM
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Ok a few to ponder

Syrias deep water port onto the med, used by Russia and is a strategic target
This allows a Russian presence in the med and a launch platform into Africa THIS IS IMPORTANT

If NATO controls Syria it has control of this deep water port, and all the deep water ports in that area thus creating a complete land route from the med all the way to china to the east, and north up to the CIS's boarders once Iran is pacified. This almost encircling Russia and China, a strategically dominant position, the old Silk Road but now open to use as a military supply route .......the spine of a NATO invasion

Syria has a claim in some untapped resources under the med, gas I think off hand there's plenty of info out there
so does Turkey ( recent member of NATO, despite a few things and look at some recent events )
Greece ( lol what can I say ! )
Israel ( duh )
And Libya ( duh )
Possibly Egypt too

I might think of a few more in a bit but I've gotta go make chees sauce for lasagne

And yes the west is wrong




edit on 11-1-2013 by Neocrusader because: Added



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by HenryNorris
The west is wrong.

And who the hell cares what America and England says? Its a new day and these two countries need to shut up. Cant even run an economy.

Russia does not support Assad. Russia seeks a sensible solution. Do you remember Putins reaction to what the west did to Gadaffi? Images that the west plastered all over msm like some low class society of animals?

Its time for the world to turn away from the murderous voices of the past.

Thank god for China and Russia and their veto power. Shame on the west for going around China and Russia and backing terrorists.

Blood is on the hands of the west.
edit on 11-1-2013 by HenryNorris because: (no reason given)



An star for you.

Excellent comment !






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