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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Syria's Major Supporters And Why

There has been a lot of press and talk about the Assad regime and the violence that is spreading slowly out of its borders. We have seen Iran as a major supporter of Bashar al-Assad. Today we need to look at the top three political and material supports that Assad has. Those three supporting nations, in ascending order, are China, Russia, and Iran. This analysts will not take into account UN votes, but financial and material support. China has its trade route and an ideolgue supporting some of their territorial views. Russia maintains a stronger military presence in the eastern Mediteranean, profits from arms sales, and has invested billions into Syrian infrastructure. Iran, we can easily state that they are knee deep in the hooplah and they are in it for the full range of what happens.

China has quite a financial interst with Syria. China, as of February this year, was Syria's third largest export country. Recall history, Syria was part of the Silk Road. Even today, china sees Syria as a trading and shipping hub. A rather important hub, at that. Ideologically, Hu Jintao and Assad have given support to each other on some views that have caused strong international angst over. Those views include Syrian support of China's claims and treatment of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjang, and on China's application of human rights. China continues to support Assad on his claims over the Golan Heights.

China and Syria find mutually beneficial financial and ideological support for each other.

Russian support for the Assad regime includes military and financial interests as well. The depth of these interests goes far deeper than those of China.

Financially Russia is looking to recover financial interests are closely tied to its military interests in the region. The port at Tartus provides a strategic foothold. The Black Sea Fleet uses the port facilities for ship maintenance, supply, and logistics. The facilities at Tartus and the power grud in the surrounding area infrastructure has benefitted from Russia's investing $19.4 billion dollars in 2009. As of 2011 the facilities and piers at Tartus can, and have, supported guided missile cruisers and Kuznetzov class aircraft carriers. Russia continues to act in ways that undermine American interestts.

Russia may also be getting some isolationism ideas like the  methods used during the Cold War. At that time the West made strategic allies in order to surround Russian expansion and stop their geographic spread. Current examples include US support to Bahrain and Uzbekistan. I believe that this gambit is one that will completely fail for the West.

The Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader, Vladimir Zhimorovsky, has made some very strong statements againsty Western support to the rebels. Statements that indicate there is much more going on than is currently visible. Zhimorovsky has said that any US support to the rebels is "absolutely unacceptable" and would, in his eyes be, tantamount to violently toppling a regime.

Russia gains a naval forward support base and earns billions from arms sales. Commercially, Russia has earned $5 billion in weaponss sales to Damascus.

Iranian Support is all geared towards gaining a physical and very strategic position in the region. Iran has been so completely isolated from decent international contact for so long that the leadership is looking for any way to expand out of their isolation. By any means includes the blatant shipments by air and over land as well as the hardcer to see support through Hezbollah and in assisting Assad with the training and manning, as it were, of an army of children suicide bombers and fighters. This last group is known as the Basij, which Ahmedinijad claims to be. Judging by his age and grey hair, I openly declare him a failure in his service as a child soldier/suicide bomber. If Ahmedinijad could have done that right 40 years ago his poor judgement and mistakes wouldn't be an issue now.

Seriously, Iran already has missiles that can strike Israel from inside its borders, but, I am guessing that the guidance systems still leve something to be desired. Iran has successfully launched mutlistage rockets and put sattelites into orbit, but, they have yet to demonstrate the capacity to deliver their paylods at range. Every missilt that Iran has, buys, and makes can carry a nuclear payload. Iran is even working on its own independent re-entry vehicle. This IRV makes enough people at the IAEA to start investigations, not that any inspection will receive compliance from Ahmedinijad or Khameini.

Iran has the largest missile surplus in the Middle East. One of their missile production/storage sites was just bombed in Sudan earlier this week. Reports of this Israerli lead attack state that 300 Shahab III missiles there were destroyed. Iran is trying to put its own strike missile system in place in Syria. Why would they not expect to be allowed to? That is, should Assad not die in place.

Just imagine the changes that would most undoubtedly take place if Russia and Iran had missile silos in Syria while the US missile defense system, which Obama unplugged and dismantled, absent from the region. Could we ever again have allies in Eastern Europe? Could we carry on trade theough that region? No, not at all. The US Naval Fleet coverage and the protections it guarantees would be stripped away from the Mediteranean, through the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali pirate coast, and into the Indian Ocean.

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