Nine years ago, in the midst of the “Arab spring”, a small demonstration took place in a provincial town in the southwest of Syria, Darra. It was March 11, 2011, and no one could have thought that in less than a year Syria would have turned into the field of one of the most ferocious and ruthless battles that humanity has ever known.
More than 80,000 jihadists from over 70 countries in the world (Arabs, Turks, Uyghurs from the Chinese provinces, Chechens, Albanians, Kosovars, Europeans converted to Islam, Maghrebi, Caucasians, etc.) arrived in Syria convinced of fighting their holy war and to be able to earn paradise, including benefits, including their share of beautiful virgins as promised by the Qur’an. To organize, finance and arm these hordes of cutthroats, mainly countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey took particular care of the logistical aspects and made available to the jihadists who arrived from all over its 850 km of border, facilitating transit and providing for their training. Thus a great alliance of Sunni Islamic origin was born, led by Saudi Arabia. Almost all the Sunni Muslim countries participated in this alliance, more or less convinced, and the Arab League promptly expelled Syria, which had also been one of the founding states.
Except that the alliance did not last long and opposing interests between the main protagonists, Turkey and Qatar on one side and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the other, made the whole project explode. In addition, the resilience of the Syrian state in its fundamental components (draft army, people, civil society) and the entry into force, of Putin’s Russia, made the country’s Islamization project definitively fail.
To better understand the atmosphere of initial enthusiasm, and the subsequent disappointment, it is useful to remember the words of an important protagonist of that time, the former Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad Ben Jasem: “We threw ourselves on the prey (Syria) how a pack of wolves is thrown on an injured animal, only that while we were fighting over how to divide it, the prey has fled ”.
Why Syria? To understand it, it is advisable to take a look at the geographical map of the Middle East and the geostrategic position of this country: a junction point between the Mediterranean and the Middle and Far East (silk road); mandatory passage point for the gas corridors from the Persian Gulf (Qatar) and directed to Europe; extreme point of an unstable geopolitical fault that goes all the way to India, passing seamlessly through Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and still an insurmountable obstacle, towards the south, to Erdogan’s dreams and the rebirth of the new empire in Ottoman sauce to Israel and its ambitions to bring about a confessional state. And finally the very nature of Syrian society, multi-ethnic (Arabs, Syriacs, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians and other minorities), multicultural, multi-denominational (Muslims, Christians, Alawis, Druze), and above all its being a secular society. The words of John Paul II, pronounced during his visit to Damascus in 2001, still echo: “Syria has its own specific vocation, that of being, as it always has been, a meeting place for the faithful of all religions” . And this vocation, which hindered the projects of many actors, in particular of a radical import Islam, foreign to the history and culture of the area, had to be removed.
On December 22, 2016, the Syrian war reverses its direction of travel. The national army, with the decisive and decisive help of the Russian armed forces, in particular of aviation, with a stable base in the Hmaimin airport, on the coast, recaptures the city of Aleppo, and immediately afterwards follow Palmyra, Deir El Zur , to the border with Iraq.
In Syria today, Daesh has been defeated and driven out of almost all of the territory. Only the province of Idlib in the northwest, on the border with Turkey, remained under the control of the formations of Al Nusra, the Syrian arm of Al Qaeda, protected directly by the Turkish army. Furthermore, seeing itself exposed and deprived of its main instruments of pressure, Turkey has decided to enter directly, with its army, across the border, occupying a band of Syrian territory of 6000 sq km. The Americans, with the excuse of protecting the Kurds, have also installed military bases in north east Syria along the Iraq border, taking over the main Syrian oil fields.
The Syrian game, like the Libyan one, is closely linked to the clash taking place for the sharing of gas fields in the east of the Mediterranean sea. The alliances are: 1) Turkey and Qatar; 2) Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; 3) Israel and the United States of America; 4) Russia, China and Iran. As you notice, the EU is missing, but this is now a constant, which unfortunately demonstrates the inconsistency of a European foreign policy. Countries such as Cyprus, Greece and Italy, although part of the Union, are forced, each on their own account, to seek a place in one of the aforementioned alliances, to defend their national interests, in what was once called Mare Nostrum.
Syria today, after nine years of war, and despite the liberation of almost all of its territory from terrorist formations, remains a clash of interests between international and regional powers, Russia, America, China, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Arabia Arabia.
We want to draw the borders of the new Middle East. The Sykes-Picot agreements, the powers (France and England) that wrote and signed them, the borders they produced, the interests for which those borders were drawn, now belong to a too distant past. The new protagonists intend to write a new story, and it seems that states like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the kingdom of Jordan will have no place in this new narrative, they must disappear from the map of the Middle East.
Therefore, in Syria, after the war with weapons is almost over, the economic war begins, and the poor people always die, certainly not the men of the “regime”.
As if the sanctions in force, adopted by the EU and the United States since 2011 (the European Union absent unjustified, in the last ten years, by the policies of the Mediterranean, but ready when it came to starving the Syrian people) were not enough reaping more victims of the same war, on June 17, 2020 a new law of the American Congress, called “Caesar”, will come into force, which has as its objective the hermetic closure of Syrian borders. It is forbidden for anyone to trade with Syria; no bank, American or otherwise, can carry out financial transactions related to that country; no company or natural person can allow you to enter or leave goods of any kind. In short, a collective punishment that affects an entire people.
While the whole world is busy fighting the pandemic, the Syrians are left with only the choice between dying from Covid-19 or starving, as they are prohibited from importing even simple food products. In the name of what all this? To defend democracy and human rights.