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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The fight for Raqqa threatens to push Assad and the Kurds

The Syrian government army continues offensive on one of the “capitals” of the “Islamic state” (ISIS; the group recognized in Russia as a terrorist and banned) Raqqa, with the support of videoconferencing, according to official figures. In parallel movement to the stronghold of the Islamists in Syria are military forces “of the Democratic forces of Syria,” consisting mainly of Kurds and having the air support of the United States. Whose interests face off in a battle for the “capital” of ISIS and why Ramadan is extra incentive to attack, “MK” said political analyst and orientalist Andrey Serenko.

photo: AP

– Whose interests conflict may erupt in the struggle for the city?

Raqqa is the Syrian “capital” of ISIS. Along with Mosul, she serves as the ritual and political nature. A conflict of interest can be very simple. It is clear that the capture of Raqqa is a question whose banner will hang over the “Reichstag”, that is, who will assign yourself the victory over this important symbolic object. It is clear that government forces and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would like to do it themselves, because thereby they confirm the monopoly on state power, a monopoly on the use of violence, demonstrate the viability of their system. But in the capture by the Kurds of raqqa easily converts from a symbol LIH in the non-governmental symbol of success, which can be interpreted as anything. One character of raqqa might be different, which will be very not to make Damascus.

Of course, not satisfied with gilowska raqqa Assad, raqqa but that will not relieve government forces, is also not good for the image of the incumbent President and his team, so, paradoxically, for them, better if of raqqa remained under the flag of ISIS, than she’ll be taken by someone else. Planned powerful enough attack government troops at the Russian active participation… Assad needs to show that he controls much of the country.

The Kurdish capture of Raqqa is a different story. This is a new symbolic success of the Kurdish forces. We know the difficult history of relations between the official Damascus and the Kurdish Federation in the North of the country. They are in very complex ways. And once the war with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorist group banned in Russia – “MK”) delays the inevitable, in my opinion, the conflict between the Syrian Kurds and the official Damascus. Once over Raqqa stop waving the black flag of the “Caliphate”, the question arises: what to do with the winner? After the capture of Berlin in 1945. The analogy is very conditional, but something similar could happen. Today in the fight for Raqqa, each of these parties pursues the goal postgrowth positioning. A new world will be much harder than we are now seeing. Now it’s simple.

Can not be discounted, and a different story. The attacks will participate and Shiite militia. When we say “Assad army” – is a reference image. There are enough of the Shiite militias, and Iranian volunteers. Therefore, this conflict, which may take place, may resemble what is happening today in Fallujah in Iraq, when the indigenous Sunni population fears the coming of the Shiite militias that can do the same disgrace that ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra”.

– That is, it can turn into a massacre.

– Yes, that fear in Fallujah, that fear in Mosul, what will fear in raqqa. Sunni-populated areas were not particularly happy under the banner of “Caliphate”, but they are anxiously waiting for the Shiite military forces, which will come here as winners. Here is a good little. It is not enough to take Raqqa – it is important to protect the rights of the Sunni population.

So obviously here, the conflict of interests of the United States, which helps the Kurds, and Russia, which maintains troops of the Damascus from the air?

– There is a symbolic rivalry. Americans still take Mosul, is a matter of time, therefore securing a military victory with the help of American advisers in Syria is also an additional incentive for the Kurds and for the Americans who help them. Help not only Americans, there are NATO partners. In Iraqi Kurdistan the Germans. I think here, too, will act not only Americans. Also for this reason, Damascus does not want to miss the opportunity to take Raqqa on their own, so as not to create the success of the American military project in Syria. If the Kurds take Raqqa, then back to Damascus will not give up. Damascus will not get control, despite the overthrow of ISIS in this city. The probability of fixation of the split Syria on other lines without the participation gilowska factor that will mean limiting the power of Assad and behind them forces that took part in the fight against ISIS, actually strengthening the Shiite influence.

The Americans is beneficial to the Kurds won the battle for Raqqa, and that one of the main symbolic prizes went not to Assad. Therefore, we can say that there is a rivalry between Russia and the United States, although it is not only Russia is Iran. The likelihood that the Kurds can achieve this success before, too. I do not exclude that in the fight for Raqqa can be major clashes between Kurdish forces and al-Assad’s army and Shiite militias. If the fight for Raqqa will be carried out without coordination, we will have a new conflict, which will fight the Kurds and peresadovka forces. Battle for Raqqa could escalate into another conflict.

– The capture of Raqqa would be a powerful argument for the Kurds in the issue of federalization, which was announced by them in March?

– I think this is an important argument. Including the Kurds will fight for this prize, because demand Kurdish autonomy is not removed from the agenda, no matter how tried to prevent Damascus, Moscow and Tehran. Need more arguments for participation in international negotiations. It is not quick. Middle East peace talks is always the issue for decades. One must live for today. If the Kurds have serious intentions to achieve autonomy, and eventually independence from Syria, they have to fight for this city, using it as an argument for future “bidding”. The boundaries of autonomy can vary, it can be consistent. We have seen how during the civil war in Syria as easily there occur exchanges of territories in certain situations. Also, the Kurds might use the city as another part of the Syrian Kurdish Federation.

– Was the attack on Raqqa feasible due to the announced truce?

– The worst thing the truce is always a respite, even if it goes into a renewable gunfire. This advantage of completely different forces from Jabhat al-Nusra” and ending with the Kurds. Most of this respite turned out to be unhappy with Assad pole. Taking a strategic pause by the Russian side, the temporary failure of the massive bombing from the air support units and the Shiite Assad forces, has led to the fact that the attack, which unfolded a few months ago, was actually stopped. Nevertheless, this pause gave the opportunity to various groups – Islamist in particular – to regroup, create new temporary alliances and coalitions. These prolonged broad coalitions during the civil war it is impossible to create, it’s normal Makhnovshchina. Each form a coalition under a separate tactical tasks. But the respite was used by the Kurds, by far.

Russia will now seek to make up for the lost profits, at least partially. This is due to the offensive idea of a certain period, season of occurrence, which wants a Shiite coalition and Assad pole. In the battle for Raqqa hand, which was in a state of truce, will try to catch up.

Active phase is now in Ramadan?

– What to do? For the Kurds this is not a problem. They are easier to look at the situation. Located in a relatively nearby Afghanistan, Ramadan does not affect the activity of the insurgents. For them, there are things more important than Ramadan, for example, the interception of the military-political initiatives, especially in the framework of achieving symbolic victories. By the way, if the Ramadan, why not take Raqqa. This is not an argument against it, and another argument for to celebrate the Holy month with a victory. I don’t think it is a deterrent. Raqqa is the best character.

The war in Syria. Chronicle of events

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