Friday, March 09, 2012

US, Russia at Odds Over Syria


Hopes Dim for UN Resolution
As Russia Objects to Language

The (needless) chill in U.S.-Russia relations is hampering efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria. UNTogo.org has the story. Click here to read it.

And consider this: The distance between Washington, DC and Damascus, Syria is about 5,800 miles--a half-day's journey by non-stop passenger jet. But the Russian and Syrian borders--and capitals--are within overland driving distance, as shown by the above Google maps. Click on the eye-opening images to enlarge them.

David Hearst explains Russia's interests in Syria in part as follows:

Russia's fears about a civil war developing in Syria are geostrategic and may not be too dissimilar to some of the more cautious western foreign policy analysts, war-gaming the effects it would have on the region. Russian Middle Eastern experts compare Syria to Russia's own province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus.

Unlike its neighbouring Chechnya, Dagestan is patchwork of competing tribes, religions, ethnicities and loyalties, more than 150 of them. If a breakaway Muslim insurgency took hold there, Dagestan would explode like a grenade, sending hot shards of metal and people across southern Russia.

Click here to read Hearst's entire analysis. Clearly, after Afghanistan … and Libya … Moscow fears that the West's interfering in Syria could stir a new, Basmachi-like insurrection.

As the man in the movie said, "The East is a delicate matter."