Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Understanding Russia's Position on Syria

A must-read report from Konstantin von Eggert:

The negotiated solution that Russia is suggesting would involve external players and give Moscow time to bargain over its commercial and military interests in Syria. It will also help avoid “regime change” in its classic form. And this is the Kremlin’s main concern. Ever since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, but especially after the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, the Russian leadership is obsessed with the idea of the West engineering the overthrow of governments that for this or that reason it finds unsuitable. Vladimir Putin and his team seem to be convinced that something like that could happen to Russia. [Italics added for emphasis.]

Moscow’s adamant (until recently) stance on Syria has a lot to do with arms sales to Damascus and the Russian naval station in the port of Tartus. But it has even more to do with the Kremlin making a point internationally which is quite simple: “Neither the UN, nor any other body or group of countries have the right to decide who should and who should not govern a sovereign state”. If one looks at the Syrian crisis from this angle many of Moscow’s previously inexplicable actions take on a new, clearer meaning….