The conflict between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition has been developing on the "ready-to-go scenario" of the "Arab Spring." Russia has to decide again whether it is willing to play a role in this drama and on whose side. However, the balance of power and the outcome of events in case of non-intervention is clear on the example of Libya. Moscow faces a difficult choice.
The United States do not give up trying to get the approval of the UN Security Council to invade Syria. According to the US administration, the bloody dictator Bashar Assad walks up and down rebels' spines who crave democracy and are willing to fight for it - of course, with American weapons in their hands.
In 2008, U.S. warships entered the Black Sea - the water territory dominated by Turkey and Russia. Turkey enjoys incomparably greater rights on the closed water area: the country owns two main Straits - the Bosporus and Dardanelles. Turkey did not permit the deployment of foreign aircraft carriers. Nevertheless, Washington managed to win Turkey's favor, having used a typical excuse: "We need to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia - a small, poor country, occupied by the Russians."
On the eve of the war in Libya, two U.S. amphibious ships - Kearsarge and Ponce - entered the Suez Canal. Supposedly, the ships were supposed to end the bloody confrontation between the government of Muammar Gaddafi and the defenseless opposition. In January of this year (after Iran's threat to block the Strait of Hormuz in the event the EU introduced embargo on the Iranian oil), the U.S. Navy started maneuvers in the Persian Gulf. Washington was persistently presenting the events as an everyday thing, because the U.S. forces had been staying in the Gulf for many years.
And now the warships of Russia's Black Sea, Baltic and Northern fleets went to the coast of Syria. The Oval Office is not happy about it, of course, but they can not do anything about it, though. Double standards is a handy thing when you use them yourself, but you can not criticize others much then.
Moscow has issued an explanation. The ships are heading for maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea, and they will call at the port of Tartus to see how the military base is doing there, and whether anyone needs something there. The White House could do nothing but accept this explanation.
There is quite a list of the ships that Russia sent to Syria's coast: large anti-submarine ship Admiral Chabanenko, landing ships Alexander Otrakovsky, George the Victorious and Kondopoga, as well as support vessels Nikolay Chiker and Sergei Osipov. The patrol ship "Yaroslav Mudry and tanker Lena from the Baltic Fleet will join them later. The Black Sea Fleet sent large amphibious ships Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov to Syria, as well as patrol ship Smetliviy.
It is not surprising that the Ministry of Defense has to regularly refute suspicions of concealing the true purpose of the mission.
On the other hand, it is about time Russia should follow the example of the Americans: to give official information to the world and ignore all attempts taken by other countries to expose the truth. Now it is essential to deter the proliferation of Islamic radicalism that Washington ruthlessly exploits for its selfish geopolitical purposes. Otherwise, they will launch the scenario that has been tried on Iraq, Libya and Egypt: to overthrow the "non-democratic" government and conduct "democratic" elections that Islamists win inevitably. However, the desired stability does not occur for some reason. The Syrian opposition forces are divided, and the struggle for power between them will only worsen once the Assad regime is on the verge of collapse.
The events in Syria create quite a problem for Russia. Should Russia interfere to defend the current regime, even though Russia has no obligations to Syria in this case (unlike with Iran)? Or should Russia try to profit from concluding an agreement with the other side? And then the Russian Navy that turned in the right place at the right time, will serve as a weighty argument. It is a risky move for Russia to hand over one of шеы few allies - Bashar al-Assad - to the Americans. Such a move could lead to very unpleasant and probably irreversible consequences for Russia.
The position taken by the Russian administration regarding NATO's interference in the internal affairs of Libya, has already received a lot of criticism in the world. Many experts said that it was a conformist position. This certainly affected Russia's reputation as a key member of Collective Security Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Union.
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