Syria is still largely at the center of the geopolitical news focus. As in all military conflicts, the powers involved are each involved in their own version of “we won.” In an analysis piece written by Victor Marakhovsky of RIA Novosti, the stance is that Russia won this event without so much as firing a shot. He then goes on to detail why he says what he says.
The newspiece is a translation and reinterpretation of the original piece which can be found here. We have tried to preserve the meaning of the original piece while framing it well in the English language. The Duran wishes to express its grateful acknowlegement to Victor Marakhovsky and RIA Novosti for its original report.
by Victor Marakhovsky, political scientist, about the US strategy in Syria
The formal results of a decisive attack by Western countries on Syria were summed up. Russia made a motion, proposing that the UN Security Council condemn the attack. Three permanent members of the Security Council who all participated in the attack were against this motion, so the resolution was not adopted.
In terms of raw facts concerning the attack, the figures are generally established:
- 103 rockets were launched. This is confirmed to be true.
- US President D. Trump promised that the missiles would be “new and clever”, but most of the incoming missiles turned out to be the rather elderly “Tomahawks”. While on approach to all three strategically important facilities, they were shot down by the rather elderly Syrian air defense systems that had been developed in the Soviet Union specifically for the purpose of fighting the Tomahawks.
- The British released eight Scalp (Storm Shadow) rockets, but, as proudly noted in the BBC, “each was five meters in length.” In addition they are newer, developed only twenty years ago.
- The history with the French remains unclear: according to the leadership of France, they also released eight Storm Shadow missiles from their fighter planes and three from their ships.
- However, the Russian military cynically point out that there were no French “Rafale” aircraft spotted in the skies. So it is possible that these allies of the United States received credit for participation only to maintain the spirit of unity of these three countries.
As to the damage, most of the missiles that actually reached their targets successfully fell on unused buildings in the provinces of Damascus and Homs. Otherwise, despite the surprise of the attack and the fact (heavily stressed by US officials) that “Russia was not even warned:”
- not a single civilian perished.
- not a single soldier of the Syrian Arab Army was killed.
- not a single aircraft or helicopter was destroyed.
- there was not a single accidental flight into the zone of responsibility of Russian air defense systems.
- not a single used airfield used by the Syrian armed forces.
- seventy-one out of one hundred and three missiles are lost.
The actual effect of the action was actually less than that of the attack on the Shayrat airbase a year ago, when 59 Tomahawks managed to at least a) spoil several aircraft, b) damage the taxiways, taking the airfield out of action for several hours and c) kill several Syrians .
This is where the list of raw facts comes to an end, because a group of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria only a few hours after the raid. The OPCW’s task is to establish whether anything happened at all in the incident that the United States responded to with such ferocity. The OPCW is also to establish what exactly happened in the city of Douma.
Therefore, the main battle unfolded after the strike – and, as expected in our strange era, it happened in the media space. Batalya began to question the question of how to understand what had happened.
US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French president Emmanuel Macron insist that the missile strike was a muscular and justified retaliatory blow. They also insist that their goals were achieved and that the ability of the “monster” Assad to succeed in producing chemical weapons to poison his people has been dramatically reduced. And they say that if he tries again – then the same crushing penalty will happen again, despite all the objections of Russia, because the time for negotiations has passed.
However, the press of Western countries is not so certain about the veracity of these claims, nor is it certain about the justification for the attack. As an example, the Huffington Post,bitterly states:
- Trump’s declared goals were to stop the “murderous behavior of Assad and show his own strength to Assad’s patrons – Russia and Iran, but neither of these goals were achieved.
- All the more or less significant military and administrative goals were at the time of the attack under the Russian “umbrella”, which Trump was afraid to touch.
- As a result, Assad “will not stop the offensive,” and Russia “is not challenged.”
In an editorial comment by Reuters “Commentary: In Syria strike, the real danger is Russia“, it is reported that:
- Assad “already almost won in the six-year war” and does not intend to stop;
- Moscow, warning in advance that “in the event of creating a threat to life, Russian servicemen will be bewildered not only by missiles, but also by their carriers,” turned the action of unlimited justice into something purposeless. The author notes that this is because neither Russia nor the US is interested in a real battle with one another in Syria. Moreover: they are not even interested in showing each other the capabilities of each side’s newest missiles and anti-missile systems. After all, why feed such information to the enemy? In this very cautious manner the same heavily armed soldiers of the 20th century’s Cold War fought – over the deserts and mountains of an ancient country.
- There is no success demonstrated in this tactic. To make matters worse: it has now been made clear that the United States can bring a lot of mighty naval hardware – even an aircraft carrier with all their terrible weaponry to bear on Syria… and then expend a lot of old missiles. But the final analysis shows that this attack was not so much a demonstration of force as it was a demonstration of the impossibility of showing strength.
And Russia, as usual, has just shown its mastery on how to achieve the maximum goals by limited forces.
That is, Russia, even without having fired a single volley from its S-400 and SA-22 Greyhounds, effectively established a framework in which the West did not dare to test.
Note that this is not all reported by some “Russian state propaganda trying to preserve the face of the Kremlin.” All these claims were posed by the British and American mainstream media news outlets.
However, other, also elements of the mainstream media in the same countries also commonly regale triumph and express the version of the story put forth by the Trump – May – Macron triad. “A bloody tyrant received a lesson, if necessary, we can repeat”, and so on.
… All this confirms the sad perspective we (RIA Novosti, in the Russian language) expressed on the eve of the attack:
“In fact, the only explanation for what is happening is some damnable universal hype, from which the elite of the West can not escape. Furthermore. It seems that no real results of the alleged punishment are needed by anyone. It seems that the Western leaders themselves would be satisfied with the perspective of a crushing blow in a virtual shootout, because this gives them the opportunity to convince their audience that the enemy has suffered heavy losses.”
As a result, we see a schizophrenic picture. Based on the viral videos, which have no independent verification, real airplanes took to the air and real rockets were fired. Various estimates place the cost of the attack at between US $70 and $150 million dollars.
However, this supposed mega-strike in the real world did not hurt anyone. Moreover, in fact, it appears to have been necessary only to ensure that in a virtual world (where media and government hype, tweets and media exchange their interpretations), someone convinced their audience that there was a good reason for taking this action.
It is gratifying that the leadership of the United States and its subordinate powers are still separating their inner media views from the harsh reality. And the “celebration of Russia’s disobedience to the world order” is held in specially designated places for this purpose.
The final fact, though is this:
The next generation of Western leaders can no longer distinguish between where PR ends and a real war begins. And this makes our real world is all the less safe and increasingly alarming.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.