- Posted June 20, 2012 by
Syria is in Russia's geopolitical interests
The situation in Syria brought the international community to face new challenges. Both country's authorities and rebel leaders have ignored the plan of Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan that aims at peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria. Kofi Annan himself gave a sombre assessment of the situation there, and said that in the near future a large-scale civil war was inevitable in Syria where other countries of the region could be drawn too.
The assessment of Kofi Annan has real grounds, as the West categorically demands the change of the existing regime in Syria that is accused of deaths of more than 10 thousand of its own citizens. But the government of Bashar Assad considers the situation in the country provoked from outside and continues its repressive measures and refuses to compromise.
Bashar Assad is supported by permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia and China that are constantly blocking all international measures designed to defuse tensions in the country. Especially valuable for the government of Bashar Assad is the support of Iran, which sends weapons and volunteer units to Syria, and which, together with the Alawi leadership headed by Bashar Assad participates in destruction of Sunni population of Syria.
Against this background, attention is drawn to an article by Sergei Konovalov entitled "The Syrian direction of Russian troops" published a few days ago in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper which explains how the Russian Defence Ministry prepares its troops and special forces for operations outside the country.
After reading the article a reader can easily guess that the journalist wrote it on the instructions of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Defence Ministry (GRU), and which aims at threatening those states that would dare and join the campaign against the regime in Syria. The newspaper, without any ambiguous phrases, says that the Russian Defence Ministry started to actively prepare for solving those problems outside the country that were put before it by commander-in- chief of the armed forces of Russia Vladimir Putin. Syria has been declared to be on of those countries. In this regard, special programs and plans for the airborne troops, GRU and units of Army and Navy have been developed.
For participation of Russian troops in Syria there must be a political decision of the Russian leadership and the relevant United Nations resolution. Though the Russian troops are already working on military fighting methods both as part of possible multinational force and as an independent party.
Attention was drawn to a statement of the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Nikolai Bordyuzha that if their forces are to take part in resolving the conflict in Syria, they would carry out military operations against the rebels, who, in his words, are trying to solve political issues with the help of arms, and not within the framework of the constitution.
To protect the interests of Russia in Syria the Pskov 76th Guards Air Assault Division is being prepared. Its inspection was begun by the chief military inspector of the Russian Defence Ministry, a participant of the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008, Lt. Gen. Gennady Borisov. It is the first ever such inspection in the military landing units in the history of their existence and will last three weeks.
It is known that is considered to be the most capable and prestigious unit in the entire system of the Russian Defence Ministry. Its officers and soldiers pride themselves that in 1999-2001 they participated in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, as well as in the first and second Russian -Chechen war (1994-1996 and 1999-2007) and in the war against Georgia in August 2008.
The division is fully composed of professional soldiers.
In addition to the Pskov 76th Guards Air Assault Division, the 15th combined arms brigade of Samara is also intensively preparing to be sent to Syria. In addition to fire and engineering training the personnel of the brigade are intensely being trained in the study of international humanitarian law and intensive Oriental languages.
According to the press service of the Southern Military District of Russia, training for combat operations outside the country have been started also by special units that are composed of ethnic Chechens that formerly served in the GRU divisions known as "Zapad" and "Vostok". These are units that in the words of then Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov successfully carried out peacekeeping missions in Lebanon in 2007 and later distinguished themselves in the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008. The Chechen President always expresses its willingness to comply with any request of Moscow patron both outside of Russia, and in the neighbouring republics. But "spread of his wings" is viewed with caution.
The forces of the separate brigade of the Black Sea Fleet have already been prepared for possible military action in Syria. The unit was on a work visit to the Syrian naval port of Tartus in May 2012.
The ideologists of Russian foreign policy and authors of the military doctrine argue vociferously that Syria is in the scope of Russia's geopolitical interests, and therefore its military must be constantly prepared to "defend its interests there”.
"Against this background silence of the Russian authorities to numerous petitions of the Caucasus and the International Circassian organizations to return Circassians of Syria to their historical homeland, is not surprising. Neither is surprising that the head of the Adige republic Aslan Tkhakushinov who for his particular loyalty to Moscow was elected a member of the Supreme Council of the ruling party "United Russia" a few days ago, ignored appeals of his compatriots on the same subject and hid altogether and did not receive a delegation from Syria that arrived there to hold talks with him.
Less far-sighted was the leader of another Circassian republic - Kabardino-Balkaria Arsen Kanokov. He could not avoid a temptation, did not understand what vague statements of Moscow on the issue really meant and allowed 150 Syrian Circassians into the republic. He even said that he would take in another 600 refugees by the end of the year. After such "improvident" step of Arsen Kanokov it became known that sister of his wife Madina Khatsukova who is in Circassian national dress tailoring business bought the state philharmonic building, valued at twenty million for just 1 million rubles through law violations. Under the threat came the richest construction company "Sindica" in Moscow, founded by former Moscow businessman and current head of the Kabardino-Balkaria Arsen Kanokov. "Sindica which now is registered in the name of Kanokov’s wife on papers has spread roots not just in Kabardino-Balkaria, but in the entire North Caucasus as well. The thing is that after dismissal of Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia Rashid Nurgaliyev from the post and appointment of Vladimir Kolokoltsev lead to replacement of Kanokov’s so-called Krishas with other officials who, under the auspices of the fight against corruption are starting to introduce new "rates."
A Moscow-sent large unit against corruption and embezzlement of state assets, that was guarded by also Moscow-sent special purpose unit of one hundred people suddenly arrived there and started operation of searches in offices and apartments of the head of the Administration of the leader of the republic and head of the State Property Ministry. In addition of documents incriminating them in corruption, illegal weapons and ammunition were seized from their safe deposit boxes. Head of the administration of the leader of the republic Vladimir Zhamborov, deputy state property minister Habdulsalam Logidov and head of the federal service of the post office Ruslan Zhamborov were arrested and escorted to Moscow.
The most stunning and shocking for Kanokov, in his own words, was that he learned about all this from the media. As they say - no comment. Moscow removed not very far-sighted Arsen Kanokov from its list of favourites.
All these facts indicate that Russia's leaders are not ready for a compromise; they are using all possible measures to keep Bashar Assad in power, and deny Syrian Circassians all hope of return to their historical. The latter is in the interests of both the Syrian and Russian authorities.