Saturday, July 2, 2022
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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Putin’s aggression in Syria can teach us a lot about the Ukraine conflict

The Russian attack on Ukraine “has not emerged out of a clear blue sky but rather has been fomented for years in a veritable swamp of spiralling Russian belligerence,” Sam Hamad writes in his opinion piece published in TRTWorld. Under the title “Putin’s aggression in Syria can teach us a lot about the Ukraine conflict,” Hamad points out there is a strong link and relation between what is taking place right now in Ukraine and what has been taking in Syria over the past 10 years.

Smoke and flames rise during the shelling near Kyiv as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine; Credit: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Hamad believes that the sanctions imposed by the West on the Russian economy “are not going to be enough to save Ukraine,” referring to president Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s remark that such sanctions ought to have been put into place before the attack began, stressing they should have been imposed years ago.

“Since the era after the US’ catastrophic and self-defeating Global War on Terror, Putin has emerged on the scene with a message of unashamed defiance to the liberal democratic world, but unlike the current rhetoric-mongers of Washington and Brussels, Putin has put this ideology into practice,” writes Hamad, adding that the same Western media that “mostly and rightfully opposes Putin’s assault on Ukraine to annihilate its sovereignty and self-determination, rarely if ever mentions that Putin’s Russia is still intervening violently on behalf of the kleptocratic tyrant Bashar al Assad against what was a popular revolution for self-determination, liberty and recognition.” Since 2015, Russia has been committing what many would describe as a “genocide against Syrians, committing a myriad of crimes against humanity.”

“It’s hardly likely that the world has forgotten about Russia’s brutally murderous intervention in Syria, one that saw the flattening of entire Syrian cityscapes and the deliberate targeting of civilians in their homes, shops, hospitals and schools.”

“The terror rained upon Syrians by the Russian air force has led to the cleansing of millions of civilians, fomenting, some would say by design, a ‘refugee crisis’ that has led to the rise or bolstering of pro-Putin forces around the continent. This isn’t about digging up old graves – Russian brutality in Syria is a clear and present danger, where further escalations initiated by Assad and Russia, especially in the last rebel-held province of Idlib, could occur at any time.”

Hamad goes on to say that the “Russian intervention in Syria and the Russian intervention in Ukraine are stitched together by the desire of Putin to use military force to trample the seeds of self-determination in Russia’s sphere of influence” and that allowing “Putin to get away with murder so easily in Syria has led to Putin assuming, correctly it seems, that he can get away with attacking Ukraine.”

“In 2013, with Russia mobilising to diplomatically defend Assad after his regime gassed to death over 1,000 civilians in Ghouta, how did the liberal democratic West react? With the absurd appeasement of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement, which served only to green light genocide and ultimately led to, within two years, Russia’s massive intervention to decisively destroy the fierce resistance of opposition forces.”

According to Hamad, today “is not just the darkest day for millions of Ukrainians who aspire, like Syrians before them, simply for basic liberty and self-determination, but for those who aspire to freedom globally.”

“Russia will almost certainly triumph in Ukraine and while I doubt Russia will stop there, so to speak, Putin isn’t the only shark circling the increasingly doomed vessel of liberal democracy in the world,” Hamad concludes.

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