In the second part of Syrian Civil War chronology, years of fighting against ISIS are examined and the reasons for such prolongement of war are explained. Furthermore, the role of the United States as a key player is further investigated.
Just as we told you before, the rise of radical Sunni extremists and on top of them ISIS was indeed orchestrated by the Arab monarchies, primarily the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who had set their eyes on the Middle-East to satisfy their greed for power. In spite of that, legitimacy is not so easily bought so in order to take care of that, they started giving signals to their main benefactor and partner in crime, the United States of America, to intervene in this conflict under the pretext of quelling the same fanatical factions they themselves helped create.
The US interest in seeing Assad’s government downfall began in 2011, around the time when Russia was showing signs that it was slowly aligning itself with the country. At that time, Saudi Arabia and their lobbyists were coercing the United Nations into issuing a draft resolution condemning Assad who at the time was fighting those radical forces. Their aim was to connect the resurgent movement with that of those happening in Libya at the same time, cutting Assad’s connections and hampering his ability to fight effectively against the rampant radical groups. Through its diplomatic channels, Russians managed to get Chinese on board, vetoing what was going to smoother Syria in plain sight. At that time, the US administration sensed that the Russian Federation might be trying to use Syria in order to establish its military presence in the Middle-East. Therefore, when opportunity presented itself, the US did not hesitate.
Roughly a year after the rise of ISIS, the US began laying the groundwork to justify its presence within the area. It began with Obama’s speech on September 10 following the televised execution of two American journalists at the hands of ISIS. Obama’s program revolved around arming the so-called “rebel factions” fighting against Assad’s rule. In reality, most of these weapons and armaments went to ISIS fighters directly since the ISIS and the rest of the factions fighting against Assad intermingled so much that the difference was practically nonexistent. Simply said, all that effort was to bulk up ISIS so as to turn it into an all-conquering machine ready to lay waste to Syria. To their dismay, Syria allies like Iran and Lebanon were now embroiled in the conflict, countering ISIS advancements at every turn.
Feeling that their support for the rebel groups, by then all operating under ISIS, is hurting their reputation on the world’s stage, the US saw fit to involve a secondary player to muddy the waters. Henceforth, the Kurds supported by the US government entered the scene, making advancement on all ground. Sensing the US grand ambition, Russians effectively took the matters into their own hand by bombing ISIS positions in 2015. This undertaking effectively marked the Russians entrance to Syria, changing the whole equation for the US in the subsequent years. Thanks to the Russian interference, ISIS which seemed unstoppable at the time was stretched thin trying to maintain its rule over both Iraq and Syria, effectively dying at that moment. Ever since then, Syria has been in a very slow recovery but a recovery nonetheless.
As of today nearly two third of the lost territories have been recovered and the remaining third is under contested rule. Nevertheless, the shadow of terrorism has been largely lifted from the country and now the real political battle over the right to rule begins. Syria, Turkey and the remaining opposition do still have a skin in this game but given the fact that the military superiority is with Assad’s government today, it is highly unlikely for the contenders to resort to any means other than diplomacy to pursue their agenda. The good news is that a political and diplomatic path to peace requires stability and legitimacy above all else. Ever since the establishment of the modern system of governance, those requirements were secured through a process called election. Syria, like anywhere else, plans to do the same like all the years before but this time around, things promise to be different and that could be the beginning of a new era for Syria.
To be continued …