What President Putin thought before intervening militarily in Syria on September, 30 will never be told wholly by Putin, hence it is best left to historians. But what is certain is that subsequent events (especially failed Vienna summit on Friday) has left no other choice before Russia than to assume the mantle of leadership of geographically contiguous about half the world namely Russia plus Asia plus North Africa minus China (The fate of China will become clear once democracy comes to China). Otherwise also whenever science & technology makes it possible (as is the present case after IT revolution) to rule the larger territory from a central place, the competent & visionary politicians (like Putin) will always do it.
Notwithstanding, nine points of joint statement at Vienna the fate of Assad remains the main hurdle. USA and Allies will never agree to keep Assad in power during political transition and Russia (especially after its military intervention in Assad’s favor) and its Allies will never agree for Assad’s removal. Moreover one more problem is there which is greater than Assad’s issue, which is, who will eliminate ISIS from Syria? Because it has four aspects in view of the fact that ISIS got tremendous appeal among Sunni world because it came in existence due to perceived immense injustice and excess by Shia regimes of Syria & Iraq:
(i)-A President Obama led USA will not put boots on ground, hence its European and Europe origin Allies will not have courage to put their boots without USA.
(ii)- Sunni Muslim Allies of USA can not do it for the simple reason that there may be revolution (another name for ISIS takeover in the interest of installing Caliphate) in these Sunni majority countries.
(ii)- Russia & Allies can put boots on ground to eliminate ISIS. But if Russia is seen with Shia Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syrian government fighting Sunni ISIS, then Russia will face major problems all across the world due to Sunni Muslim backlash.
(iv)- Hence, there is only one alternative. Russia alone will have to put boots on grounds for eliminating ISIS. Fortunately for Russia (despite Friday’s announcement by USA of less than 50 advisory boots in Syria which will further brutalize Kurds by arming civilians) so-far USA has not put combat boots on ground.
But Russia should do this elimination of ISIS, and even of so-called moderates (though armed) rebels, by keeping following in view:
(1)- Russia should start working in consonance with its position that fate of Syria should be decided only by Syrians which can be only through elections. Hence, Russia should concentrate on one point program of elections in Syria (after getting voter list made after getting displaced Syrians back).
This also means that no other country should be involved by Russia in talks about political future of Syria.
(2)- Russian boots on ground through Russian Peace Keeping Force (RPKF) will attract moral support from global community because RPKF will go in Syria (unlike USA and Allies) on the invitation of government of Syria. Moreover Russia need not be over generous. Syria is a oil rich country hence all the expenses incurred by Russia for Russian peacekeeping and stabilization program (RPKSP) should be recovered in a decade or two from Syria.
(3)- In addition to RPKF, Russia should involve volunteers of Human Rights NGOs who (Muslims, Hindus, Christians etc for doing home-guard and other civilian work / duty) will come in huge numbers ALSO from
SAARC and further East Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia etc (the total region having about half the Muslim population of the world). These volunteers (especially Muslims) are interested in bringing peace and stability in Syria, also due to the reason that misguided Jihadis (terrorists mainly ISIS) in NAME region are now creating bad image for Islam. These volunteers will (i)- Reduce the financial burden of RPKSP in Syria and later in remaining NAME (ii)- Provide global legitimacy and credibility to RPKSP (iii)- Make it difficult for ISIS to fight in presence of these volunteers with RPKF.
(4)- Because in Syria, some countries of NAME, Ukraine etc the trouble started with demonstrations / protest against Government, Russia should insist that Syria should keep laws in order to:- (i)- Provide adequate space & facilities for non-violent demonstration / protest by opposition / people at various places in the country. (ii)- Provide adequate prison facilities for those who break law / offer arrest during such demonstrations / protests. (iii)- Provide legal (national and international) / institutional mechanism for prosecuting government authorities who resort to war crimes and other excesses on demonstrators / protesters.
(5)- Because political management of Syria (ultimately of NAME region and most of the Muslim countries) can not be left entirely in the hands of local people (who are under strangulating influence of medieval clergy of misinterpreted Islam) the mechanism of multinational political parties [MPP, having faith in secular, federal, human rights friendly democracy with legislative (and not merely Sharia) rule of law] should be launched (to start with) in Syria with its Registrar in Russia. This MPP should be allowed to participate in Syrian elections. This mechanism of MPP can be tried in future in other trouble countries too.
(6)- Russia should not commit the mistake of involving the Muslim clergy (whose medieval mindset is more a problem than solution) in solving social and political problems of the region (Syria). Instead in order to mobilize the social forces, Russia should insist that Syria will adopt participatory health care program (PHCP). Democracy will succeed in any country much easily if people take the responsibility to run the country. In any country whoever runs the institution of health and education runs the country. Therefore Russia should ensure that people of Syria run these institutions (first the institutions for health care and then educational institutions can be taken up later on which will be much easier once people of Syria succeeds in running their health care institutions). For this the PHCP should be launched, as given below, to provide health care in Syria for every employee (whether in organized or in unorganized sectors) and to economically humble employers / self employed :
(i)- In management in addition to representatives from government the elected representatives of employees and of employer (making contributions) should be there.
(ii)- There should be first appellate tribunal nominated by employers which can look into leave (suspected to be unnecessary) granted by PHCP doctors to ailing employees (second such appellate tribunal may be nominated by government)
(iii)- Throughout his / her life every Medical care / facility should be free to every member (and his / her dependent family member) of this PHCP.
(7)- The problem of the magnitude as in Syria can be solved only by world leader and the so-called leader of free world, USA (in view of its handling of Ukraine, Muslim world problems in NAME & AF-PAK region etc) clearly gives an impression of a tired and retired world leader Because of giving-up most of the American values (most importantly squandering of State-capital born out of fiscal deficit resulting in huge public debts as was done by USSR too hence dismembered) presently the USA is in no position to provide leadership to rest of the world especially to economically developing world. Therefore Russia should be prepared to assume the leadership of said about half the world. Initially Christian USA, its European and Europe origin Allies will raise some perfunctory discordant / angry noises on Russia becoming reckon-able global leader of ~ half the world. But after some time they will reconcile due to simple reason that the entire world will be divided between and led by Christians the USA & Russia.
(8)- Largest democracy of the world India will also gladly accept the leadership of Russia because (i)- Due to caste system of Hindu order (further strengthened by reservation policy to so-called oppressed and backward castes) majority of India is demoralized and is incapable of running a democracy which requires higher moral of its citizens (ii)- Due to Nehruvian socialist policies under influence of USSR, the Indians still have preference for Russia over USA in its economic / political orientation (iii)- About 1.25 Billion population of India with limited territory / natural resources (especially petroleum oil) will ultimately push India into the lap of Russia which has huge territory and natural resources of all the varieties. – (India in Russian camp will make it much easier for remaining countries of the region to become part of Russian block).
Hem Raj Jain
Author of “Betrayal of Americanism”
Jefferson City, Mo, USA