TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
In News: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that further Western attacks on Sevilla would bring chaos to world affairs as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.
- Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, have agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syrian conflict.
- The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Duma.
- The Western countries blame Assad for the Duma attack that killed dozens of people.
- The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in any such attack.
- The bombings marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Assad and Ally Russia.
Situation in Syria and what it means for the world
The larger reality of the Syrian conflict: Seven years down the line, but it remains where it was. Assad seems to be firmly at his place and people are suffering, and it doesn’t really impact the big players directly.
The perceived notion is to enforce the international law: This is a wrong move as any action should be taken via United Nations.
Trump’s Issues: It seems as though Trump is trying to deviate all the heat that he’s receiving locally. He is trying to deflect the pressure that he is facing on his own ground, back home in America.
What does the situation look like?
- We will see a greater Russian presence in Syria now. Putin will have to emerge with an action plan for the region as to how he’s going to react because he cannot continue to keep getting this kind of beating from them.
- Washington does not really have the capabilities at this point to shape the battleground; the battleground is very complex – the Kurds and the Turks are fighting, the Israelis and the Iranians are fighting. The Syrian government and the opponents are fighting on the ground. So, there exists more than one battleground.
- There is a bigger big power conflict between the Russians and the Americans – as to who would fall first. It is not just Syria – now it is more about shaping the larger Middle Eastern reality, something that that Mr. Trump has already acknowledged.
- The only country right now that has the ability to shift this game is not the Americans – there is absolutely no interest or any coherent capacity to intervene. It’s Israel.
- Israel continues to be waiting to see how far Iran is prepared to go against them because they assume that at some point when Iran has consolidated its hold over Syria, they will turn on Israel. Israel has been preparing for what they see is a three front war with Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran coming in from the Syrian side – that’s the real future that we should be looking at because that’s the real battle that will be coming in potentially as early as next year.
What happened is unfortunate for the international system which seemed to have undermined the very basic ideas. But if at all there was a proof of the chemical weapon attack, this was definitely deplorable and it could have been condemned by all.
Syria is just a small part of that larger game in the larger Middle East, which if not controlled now will probably escalate in some form. Therefore, the whole Middle Eastern situation is currently very worrisome. Not only it’s worrisome for us, it has a direct impact on our own security and our own safety. It is also going to be a difficult balancing act for India because both Israel and Iran are extremely crucial for us.
There’s only one peace process right now that has any credibility which is the Astana process. But it would be difficult. Russia while it’s powerful on the ground is diplomatically very weak. But the real issue would be – at some point if it is possible for Russia and the West, and preferably even Russia, Iran and the West to end their present larger big-picture disputes at the geopolitical level.
Read the Background story: Link 1
Connecting the Dots:
- Chemical attack in Syria has yet again proved the lethality of chemical disasters. Comment.
Astana process: Deals with the peace negotiations around Syria
Capital: Damascus, historically called the Fragrant City
Learn the following on the basis of the map:
- Neighbouring countries of Syria
- Order of countries both from top and bottom