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Die Welt, Germany

Russia Follows the Cold War Model in Syria


By Clemens Wergin

Translated By Tania Struetzel

31 May 2013

Edited by Natalie Clager


Germany - Die Welt - Original Article (German)

Putin’s government now also wants to supply Bashar al-Assad with fighter jets. Thus, Russia remains true to a strategy where a conflict is used to take a stand against the West.

Russia has apparently decided to intensify the line of conflict against the West in Syria. While Europe is in a debate over whether to supply at least the moderate rebel groups with arms, Moscow is sending more and more modern munitions to Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad and his brutal fight against his own people.

After announcing the sale of the modern S-300 missiles, Moscow now also wants to provide ten MiG-29 fighter jets. This is just so Assad can reduce Syrian residential areas to rubble more effectively, and so it becomes even harder for the international community to agree on a possible no-fly zone if it should finally decide to make an end to the murder in Syria.

From the very beginning, Moscow has perceived this conflict as its own to strengthen its front lines against the West in the Middle East. The long-serving former KGB agent Vladimir Putin has never really said goodbye to the Cold War mentality. Thus, his Syria strategy follows the old model of proxy wars.

Autocrats Stick Together

To achieve this objective, Moscow even places itself in the same boat as the rogue state Iran that develops nuclear weapons, or the terror organization Hezbollah. The main point is to harm the interests of the West.

This is complemented by an element of solidarity among non-democratically governed states. The world’s autocrats know that the trend of history has been moving against them since the fall of the Berlin Wall. With every other dictator who is thrown over, the end of their own regime becomes more likely. That is the reason why autocracies such as Russia, China, Syria and Iran stick together and support each other.

A weakened and, at the moment, largely unguided West watches them as if this alliance of dictators had nothing to do with them. It is about time that Europe and the United States develop the ambition again to influence world history instead of passively suffering from it.



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