Source: OrientalReview.org, by Shelley KASLI (India)
Russia’s decision to greatly reduce its military presence in Syria, coming as it did with little warning, has left the world struggling for explanations. Russia is to maintain a military presence at its naval base in Tartous and at the Khmeymim airbase. In fact Russia is “withdrawing without withdrawing”.
The partial withdrawal is seen by many as a message to the Assad government to not take Russia’s military aid for granted, and to be more flexible in the upcoming peace negotiations.
As Robert F. Kennedy Jr., attorney and nephew of US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy explains, the major reason for the west’s attempt to overthrow the Assad government was to build a natural gas pipeline from Qatar that traversed Syria, capturing its newly discovered offshore reserves, and continued on through Turkey to the EU, as a major competitor to Russia’s Gazprom.
By re-establishing the Assad government in Syria, and permanently placing its forces at Syrian bases, the Russian’s have placed an impenetrable obstacle to the development of the Qatar gas pipeline. Russia has also placed itself at the nexus point of other new offshore gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.
It’s not hard to imagine a new Russian pipeline to Europe serving these new partners. Could easing of sanctions also lead to the implementation of the long-stalled plans of Gazprom for a second pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany for Russia and its partners, Royal Dutch Shell, Germany’s E.ON, and Austria’s OMV?
Although the powers involved in Syria are trying to project the partition of Syria as a last resort and a stable political solution that would bring equilibrium, it is not a conclusion reached after all other options were exhausted which has brought many experts to question whether the Partition of Syria was the objective all along?
Below is just one of such options advocated by various geopolitical experts all along, published by Foreign Policy Research Institute in 2013.
The most viable alternative to the violent restoration of Sunni Arab hegemony in Syria is partition – either “hard,” resulting in two or more independent states (e.g. Sudan, 2011), or “soft,” as O’Hanlon proposes, resulting in autonomous centralized cantons under a weak federal government (e.g. Bosnia, 1995).
As in Lebanon during its 1975-1990 civil war, de facto partition is happening every day. The question at hand is whether the international community should encourage a settlement that reifies and institutionalizes this fragmentation, rather than seeking to propel one side or the other to victory.
[Spheres of Influence after Partition in Syria]
Jordan and perhaps Israel would find a friend in a Druze statelet, while a coastal Alawite-dominated statelet would be sure to align with Tehran and Moscow (indeed, partition could be Russia’s best hope of holding onto its naval facility at Tartous long-term). The Kurdish zone would likely form a close relationship with its counterpart in Iraq. The Arab Gulf states would own the center (literally, in many places).
Many of the present conflicts in the world today take place in the former colonial territories that Britain abandoned, exhausted and impoverished, in the years after the Second World War. This disastrous imperial legacy is still highly visible, and it is one of the reasons why the British Empire continues to provoke such harsh debate. If Britain made such a success of its colonies, why are so many in an unholy mess half a century later, major sources of violence and unrest?
Read More Here: Great Game & Partitioning Of Syria | Oriental Review