Aleppo is almost fully free. The Syrian Arab Army, Russia and their allies have liberated one of the most important cities in the Middle East. This represents the most historically significant event in the Middle East since 2003, when Iraq was invaded and Saddam’s regime fell. It is not yet the proverbial Battle of Berlin, but it is a Stalingrad moment for the Middle East.
2003 was the beginning of a thirteen year cycle during which hell was unleashed upon the Middle East at the hands of the main NATO powers. Strong, secular, modern regimes were invaded. Cultures were eradicated, the rights of minorities destroyed. Into this power vacuum entered Islamic terrorists, the most sophisticated of which were funded by the despotic Gulf states.
Throughout this process, Syrian remained something of a ‘last man standing’ in the Arab world. President Bashar al-Assad who many dismissed as a lightweight vis-à-vis his father, has silenced all of his critics. In life, one rarely gets to choose the timing of the occasions to which one must rise, but in rising to this occasion, Syria’s President has struck a blow against several destructive forces.
When George Bush and Tony Blair started a fake war on terrorism they couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams that the REAL war on terrorism would be won by the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation. There is a kind of tragic yet poetic irony to this reality.
Syria has shown its neighbours and those further afield that it is possible to successfully win the fight against barbarous Islamic terrorism.
Syria has done so with a well-trained army of patriotic individuals fighting for their homeland. Furthermore, Syria has cultivated a genuine alliance of those who respect her sovereignty and her internal political processes. Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and to an extent China, have all aided Syria in the name of Syrian survival rather than Syrian regime change. One cannot fight terrorism whilst sympathising with terrorist aims of overturning a legitimate government, irrespective of the form that government takes.
Syria has also proved that the destructive force of the NATO powers can be resisted. America, Britain, France, Germany, Holland and Belgium have had few actual victories in the Middle East. Having the manpower and the ability to recruit terrorist proxies to destroy a country’s government and infrastructure represents something of a pyrrhic victory. When it comes to actually maintaining anything resembling a country in the aftermath of such an invasion, NATO has failed spectacularly.
In Syria they tried to destroy the country, but were stopped short of regime change. This has made resisting and ultimately winning battles against terrorist occupation possible.
John Kerry, Samantha Power and Ashton Carter have tried their hardest to manipulate the diplomatic process in Syria so as to buy time for their terrorist proxies whose shared, unilateral goal is the overthrow of the Syrian government.
But whilst Russia remained largely quiet when Iraq and Libya were being destroyed, this time a collective statement of ‘enough is enough’ emanated from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Sergey Lavrov’s steadfast leadership throughout the Syria crisis has guaranteed that the diplomatic and political booby-traps set by the West would not taint the process nor hinder the efforts of the men on the ground doing the fighting.
The political victory for Lavrov’s brand of intelligent, informed, dignified and unwavering negotiating is as critical as the military victory against the terrorist forces. With Aleppo liberated, John Kerry won’t have anything left to negotiate for. All chips are off the table. Lavrov has won, Kerry has lost.
The victory in Aleppo will also send shockwaves through the region. Attempts by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to colonise the Arab world through exporting their sinister Wahhabi ideology at gun point, has hit a brick wall. Syria has shown that for all of their money and evil intent, a well-trained army of the people backed by powerful allies can stop the Gulf tyrants who must rely on terrorist mercenaries to fight their battles as their own soldiers can barely fire their expensive American and British guns.
President Erdogan’s ambitions to re-conquer Ottoman holdings in the Arab world has also been set-back. Turkey will either have to abandon her ambitions in Syria completely or else join the constructive efforts to re-build the country on the terms set by Damascus and Moscow. The likelihood is that Erdogan will continue to shift his focus to Iraq whose comparatively weak central government is less equipped to stand up to illegal Turkish incursions into the north of the country.
Finally, for those who lack a sufficiently sound heart to celebrate the victory of secular Syria over terrorism, perhaps they will have enough of a head to realise that in halting the progress of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Free Syrian Army and other terrorist groups, Syria has helped make the world a safer place.
I firmly believe that someday people will look back at December 2016 and recall the heroic struggle of Syria, Russia and their other allies against Islamic terrorism. They will feel shame at how their own governments have failed to keep them safe and they’ll say, thank you President Assad and thank you President Putin for doing so.
The war is not over, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and other eastern regions of Syria must also be liberated. Aleppo, whilst free, will need to be rebuilt. A great deal of work lies ahead, but the tied has sufficiently turned and a decisive blow has been struck against the forces of evil.