is on a roll. Vladimir has displayed anguish over the break up of the and now he is intent on getting as many states as he can back under ’s wing and is out to expand his nation’s powerbase throughout the .
What is deeply troubling is the impotence of the international community to stop him in his tracks. He grabbed with virtual impunity undeterred by a raft of toothless sanctions causing alarm within states close to Russian borders.
Several () member states reliant on Russian gas are anxious to avoid further sanctions with some opting for appeasement. As Britain’s former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain discovered to his cost at the start of , appeasement only serves to embolden the adversary.
We have yet to see the course US President-elect Donald intends to take but given his stated admiration for the Russian President and his tapping of as a Secretary of State who bragged about his close business and personal ties to , I am not hopeful that the coming administration will rein in ’s ambitions, particularly with regard to .
From my perspective, ’s worst crime was his propping up of one of the most savage regimes in living history; one without any scrap of compassion, willing to bomb, torture and starve the very people it is duty-bound to protect.
I am shocked that so many heads of state, including one vehemently opposed to the idea of Syrian President Bashar Al being involved in a political transition, let alone keeping his seat, are no longer calling for the dictator to go.
Little more than a year ago, regime forces had almost reached breaking point staring in the face of defeat. ’s army is comparatively small. He admitted his soldiers were tired. Experts predicted his days were numbered. Then, the internationally recognised opposition held almost all the cards giving it power to its elbow to forge a political settlement. capitalised on a vacuum created by US President Barack ’s lack of commitment to bring in the big guns, altering the landscape in ’s favour.
Today, aided by ’s bombs and heavily armed ground forces, consisting of fighters, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and, according to Al Arabiya’s findings, as many as 64 Shiite militias, the regime controls all major Syrian cities as well as most of the areas around the coastline.
Syrian propaganda outlets are currently circulating videos showing the residents of out in force to celebrate Christmas illuminations holding up posters of Bashar Al and, somewhat incongruously, flags!
When hundreds of bodies still lie in the streets of eastern where they fell, untold numbers remain under the debris of their homes, and refugees are dying from cold, such celebrations are akin to dancing on graves. As the United States Ambassador to the (UN) rightly stated, humanity is in the process of a “complete meltdown”. She is right, but her own country cannot be absolved either.
The “meltdown” began with the invasion of Iraq on false pretences, the destruction of Libya and ’s lackadaisical response to the slaughter of Syrian civilians that have severely undermined ’s credibility as a force for good. If Donald truly wants to make great again, he should find a way to reconstitute ’s traditional pre- global caretaker role, in danger of being usurped by .
Of course, I am not advocating a military confrontation between the West and which could, in the worst case scenario, lead to nuclear war. At the same time, there are other methods to deter from continuing his belligerent policies and his suspect alliances with rogue states and terrorist entities.
may have weathered US and sanctions to some extent, but its economy remains fragile, still fighting its way out of recession, although it has received a boost due to the factor. If President embraces his Russian counterpart, the world will ultimately be imperilled because this will swell ’s coffers, oiling further Russian military interventions in and elsewhere.
Some pundits argue that is likely to woo with the aim of prizing it away from its alliance with , but in my view, former chief is far too wily to fall for that; he will play along until the time is ripe to strike. Others predict the inevitability of these strongmen’s mega egos clashing sooner or later. That said waiting to see how the administration’s playbook unfolds is an exercise in time-wasting.
Countries that count themselves members of the civilised world must materially stand against ’s criminal actions so that can no longer imagine and its partners engaged in Syrian massacres – , , Iraqi Shiite militias and others – enjoy immunity shielded by ’s UN veto power.
All diplomatic, economic and trade ties with and its allies in should be cut. Gulf Cooperation Council () States are in danger from falling into ’s sphere of influence, as Iraq and Lebanon have, and are threatened by up to 64 Shiite militias schooled in asymmetrical warfare close to their borders.
states should start the ball rolling before they coalesce energised by their battlefield successes and aided by newfound wealth (courtesy of President ’s deal), rearm and re-equip.
Gulf States should not hesitate to firstly break economic ties with both and which receive greater benefit from us than we do from them. Secondly, we should launch a global campaign to persuade other countries to do the same.
Lastly, we need to be unstinting with our support to the Free Syrian Army and moderate opposition fighting groups which have vowed never to give up until their country is finally free.
President-elect is a pragmatist. He is a businessman. He wants investment and jobs. He goes where the money is and that’s one commodity the can use to its advantage to bring the coming new leader of the free world on justice’s side.