Behind the veneer of support the Russians are adamant about in regard to the Assad regime lies a cold reality that present Syria serves well the Russian interests in the region.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise to anyone the Russian position vis-Ã -vis Assad. But the realities are that Russia’s pursuit of its interests juxtaposed against the videos of horror the world is witnessing coming out of Syria makes Russia look like the bear it is rather than the international communal country everyone wishes it becomes.
This nightmarish scenario in full view of the international community weakens Russian demands in the service of its interests whether in Syria or elsewhere. The more killing takes place in Syria, the more volatile the Russian position becomes. This may explain why Russia has, to find a solution to the Assad dilemma, initiated a new UN Resolution a bit stronger than the last two attempts but still falls short of stopping the killing in Syria. The real solution, as we all know, lies in regime change through a firm military intervention.
Since France and the UK have already objected to the proposed language, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said something quite interesting. He said that Russia may not stop a military intervention, but Russia will veto any UN Resolution seeking a military solution.
In observing Russia’s behavior today, one can conclude the Russians are nervous but they still believe the end-game is a distant goal. Their shipment of arms to Syria, which was leaked to the press may have been intentional with the aim for the West to re-think its strategy on Syria.
But anyway one looks at it, there is no doubt that the Russian image has suffered a considerable set back in the world public opinion, which is self-defeating to say the least. How can Russia protect its vital interests elsewhere if it is losing its grip on the public opinion?
Maybe this explain the statement by Lavrov that Russia may not be able to stop a military intervention.
For certain, President DmitryÂ Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin understand fully the danger in letting public opinion run away from them. But then, let’s not forget that Stalin’s DNA still circulates in Russian blood. This may also be a trap by Putin for his cost-benefit analysis to buy a bit more time.Â
However, maybe the answer lies in the cargo itself.
What the Russian ship of weapons contains will be obvious in the next week or so. To know for sure, one must observe if the violence of Assad continues at the same levels, which may mean the Russian arms are as sophisticated to protect Assad from any military intervention. Especially if one takes into consideration the statement uttered by FM Lavrov, which is really aimed at the public opinion and not for the west to take advantage of.