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Six Reasons Why Russia Is Sticking By Syria

Danielle Tarasiuk |
September 9, 2013 | 9:37 p.m. PDT


(Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Bashar Assad/ Wikipedia Commons)
(Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Bashar Assad/ Wikipedia Commons)
Syria has been devastated by their long and horrific civil war. The civil war has also to placed a huge strain on surrounding countries who have absorbed over 1.5 million refugees. Recently, the Assad regime has been accused of using chemical weapons, which have killed well over a thousand people. The attack was the single most deadliest attack in the entire civil war. In response President Obama is trying, albeit not successfully, to mobilize allies and The United States in a strike against Syria. Both Great Britain and France have in a surprising move declined to join The U.S., although did publicly speak out against the atrocities taking place in Syria. But few countries have come out in such stanch support of the Assad regime, like Russia.

Here are six reasons why Russia is sticking with Syria. 

  1. Syria buys quite a bit of Russian military exports. And at time of such economic hardship to loose a steady and loyal customer like Syria would be very hard on Russia.  
  2. Russia has a naval facility in Syria. The official usage of Russia’s naval instillation in Syria is for Material-Technical Support. In other words, the facility is used for repairs and replenishment. It is also Russia’s only Mediterranean naval instillation, which is crucial for their ships that are coming back from the Turkish Straits. According to Melik Kaylan from The Wall Street Journal, “Russia is rebuilding its Soviet-era naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, which allows Moscow to reassert a plausible Mediterranean threat to NATO. 
  3. The New York Times reported that Chechen Islamist fighters have joined a Free Syrian Army outfit named North Storm. Russia has occupied Chechnya for decades, which has subsequently caused a long and bloody confrontation between the two. Chechen Islamic-extremists have also conducted suicide attacks in major Russian cities.
  4. Russia is still licking its wounds after it lost its status as a world super power and is looking to make a comeback. Again, according to Melik Kaylan in The Wall Street Journal: “But in the end, the pivotal consideration in Mr. Putin's efforts to re-establish his country's superpower status centers on Iran. Syria is a domino. Without its Syrian ally, Iran would be almost totally isolated and crucially weakened. That Moscow cannot allow.
  5. Russia has a bit of a momentum going after sticking it to The U.S., so to speak, and shielding the American whistler-blower, Edward Snowden. This is yet another move in showing The U.S. that Russia is still a country with muscle (although their muscle is mostly for show). 
  6. Russia believes that an intervention by The U.S. in a country like Syria is an act of Cold War-style Western imperialism, and thus ultimately a threat to itself.


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