Home inContext Russia Supports its Ally Syria: You Got a Problem with That?

Russia Supports its Ally Syria: You Got a Problem with That?

Shoshana Bryen

Before a UN Security Council meeting to discuss a draft resolution demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Asad step down, a senior Russian diplomat called it a “path to civil war.” The civil war is here, in part because the Russians are providing political cover and military assistance to Asad. Speaking of the just-announced sale of 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten fighter planes worth $550 million, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia has no plans to “justify” the sale. “We don’t consider it necessary to explain ourselves or justify ourselves, because we are not violating any international agreements or any Security Council resolutions.”

If he did explain, it might sound like this:

[Begin Lavrov] “What’s your problem? Syria is a sovereign country; Asad won elections at least as fair as the referendum that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt – where you Americans are rushing money to people you used to call ‘terrorists.’ And most of Egypt’s currency reserves are gone because those Google-people wrecked an economy that actually had pretty good growth the past few years. There’s a reason they lost the election. Egypt imports 40% of its food and 60% of its grain, but without money, there is a real possibility of hunger – or even starvation. Are you going to fix it? $1.3 billion isn’t enough and you don’t have more.

“Yes, Bashar has domestic strife – that’s what you get when the U.S. rushes around demanding ‘regime change’ and  ‘democracy’ and ‘Springtime for Hitler’ (OK, OK, it’s the Arab Spring, right?) and inciting people to the violent overthrow of their government – you made that illegal in the States, right?

“Regime change hasn’t worked out for America since you dumped the Shah – we’re OK with the Islamic Republic, but it was your client. How’s that democracy stuff working out in Iraq? Or Afghanistan – you didn’t learn our lesson, did you? Yemen? Bahrain? Hey, look – Doctors Without Borders is leaving Libya because your friends in Tripoli are torturing people. You hailed the ‘democratic election’ in Lebanon in 2009, but Hezbollah shot its way into the government – again, we’re OK with it; it was your client. You birthed South Sudan – hell for its people if ever there was one. Are you going to fix it? I didn’t think so.

“We don’t want the Syrian people to suffer the kind of instability and ethnic strife that plagues all the places you’ve been mucking around in.

“Are there thugs in Syria? Of course and a lot of them got those ideas from that Internet you’re so fond of. But a government has the right to stop criminal elements from overrunning the country. There wasn’t any outside intervention when the American government put snipers on government buildings in Washington in 1968. Whole American cities went up in flames, college kids were killed at Kent State by your troops, but no one said America should abandon its form of government. (OK, OK, Soviet sleeper cells said it, but it didn’t have much resonance.) President Asad won’t do that, and we won’t force him.”

[End Lavrov]