Russia should rebuild what it destroyed in Syria, says West

We broke, and you fix — this is a new Russian approach to Syria. More than a year ago, Russian planes began to help the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian allies to quell the uprising of opposition. Now Moscow says that to help rebuild the country after this it is not going. “Now it’s your turn,” she says European powers, failed, and reluctantly supported the Syrian rebels throughout six years of conflict.


The willingness of Russia to the Europeans pour salt into the wounds is not surprising. Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote for military intervention in Syria own script. In spite of all the facts, he gives the Russian bombing campaign against terrorism and portrays himself as the Savior of Syria.


According to Human Rights Watch, the Russian and Syrian bombing of Aleppo has claimed in September and October last year, the lives of more than 440 civilians. This is tantamount to war crime. However, due to the Syrian war no one brought to justice, and the atrocities both sides are blaming each other. As a result, Russia and its allies with impunity. As they win, Mr. Putin can continue to promote their version of what happened.

At the end of last year, surrendered to the rebel held Eastern part of Aleppo, and the Syrian regime regained control over all four core cities. Thus he took control of that part of Syria which is sometimes called “useful”.


The war is not over: a truce, which was concluded with the rebels, looks fragile. Battle for Raqqa — a city in Northern Syria that serves as the capital of the weakening of the Caliphate of ISIS (organization banned in Russia — approx. transl.), — has not started yet. But the Russian intervention has actually ended a long time put forward by the West, demands of resignation of Mr. Assad. Now the terms of the settlement of the conflict — if it is resolved — will be determined by military factors.


Some negotiations between the regime and the rebels are now under the mediation of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana, and the second under the auspices of the UN resumed in Geneva. However, opposition politicians are well aware that it is now under a “political transition” for Syria refers to the new governance structure and a new Constitution, not the withdrawal of the Syrian dictator.


This loss of leverage to influence the situation — in combination with uncertainty about the intentions of the administration of tramp — makes opposition supporters in the West and the Arab world to look for new cards. Currently demonstrated by Russia’s approach to the problem of the reconstruction of Syria could, in this sense, play into their hands.


In recent years, many diplomats from Europe, the UN and Arab countries have said that in this situation there is only one lever to improve the situation of the opposition, and it’s money to rebuild the country. EU high representative for foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (Federica Mogherini) is planning to hold in Brussels a conference on the reconstruction of Syria.


“The Europeans at every opportunity, telling the Russians that if they need help in rebuilding the country, the opposition should be given more space at the negotiating table,” he told me a diplomat. This, he said, will mean a full political transition with the change of President in the end. Otherwise, he adds, the Russian will say: “You broke, you fix it.”

Another diplomat, representing one of the middle Eastern countries, explains the importance of the reconstruction of the country through the Arab proverb about a rooster standing on a pile of garbage. “If you remove the debris, cock falls,” he says.


No one doubts that Mr. Assad would prefer to rule a ruined country than no rule at all. However, in Europe and the middle East hope that Russia can make another decision. According to many, announcing his victory in Syria, it is unlikely to want to take on a long-term burden of reconstruction.


Perhaps in the future the parties will be able to negotiate the restoration of Syria and on the political transition, but while talking about it look overly optimistic. Before Syria will start to recover, damage will continue to pour money into continuing to unfold the catastrophe, no one will. In addition, even if Russia wants the Europeans and Arabs to play a more active role in the peace settlement, Mr. Assad can still rely on Iran to avoid a political transition. He does not want the cock fell from the trash heap.