Geopolitical Lessons Learnt and Not Learnt: The Case of Syria
In addition to being a pawn in the Cold War with the USSR, Syria was in a strategic position because of the pipelines carrying hydrocarbons from the Middle East to Europe. This is why the United States has been plotting interventions in Syria at least since 1949. And with the protests of the Arab Spring in 2008, regime change was once again on the agenda. Obama and his allies tried to pull off the same trick as in Libya and pass a UN resolution to intervene in the country. But this time Russia and China vetoed it. Obama then went ahead with a clandestine war against Assad, funding and supplying foreign Jihadists through the oil monarchies of the Gulf and Turkey. The oil monarchies were in conflict with Assad because he was favoring Iran in the construction of a pipeline through Syria, and Turkey wanted to subjugate Syria in its grand plan to resurrect the Ottoman Empire. In a moment of candor, US Vice-President Biden accused these countries of fostering a “proxy Sunni-Shia war,” without mentioning that his own boss had authorized that, however. When it began to be clear that a quick success against Assad was not in the books, Saudi Arabia sent a proposal to Moscow: stop backing Assad, and we’ll buy your weapons and protect your interests in Syria. Putin rejected the proposal. But the United States would keep trying and in 2013 did try once again to intervene in Syria using the Sarin gas attack in Ghouta as pretext.