By Sharmine Narwani – The New York Times, June 25, 2012 (Unedited version)
When we look back at Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya this past year, we have to ask whether the premise of “dictator leaves, problem solved” is remotely valid.
It is a key reason why Russia has little incentive to relinquish support of its longtime ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian position was entirely evident during the recent Putin-Obama meeting when the question of Assad’s removal came up.
“Then what?” Putin is said to have responded.
Aside from Russia’s own strategic alliance with Syria, they have several urgent concerns. Firstly, the Russian position is firmly tied to that of the BRICs today. These four disparate economic-political powerhouses have resolved to redress a global imbalance of power and Syria has become a frontline state in this effort. The BRICs insist that Syrians should resolve their crisis with minimal intervention, which precludes forcing regime change from the outside.
Secondly, the external parties that are demanding Assad’s ouster are the same handful of NATO-GCC interventionists that brought us the Libyan catastrophe under the cloak of Responsibility To Protect (R2P) and Humanitarian Intervention narratives. The Russians deeply regret having signing on to the Security Council resolution that enabled the unraveling of Libya, and will go to great lengths to prevent the same scenario in Syria. (more…)