We’d like to think we do an admirable job of helping to shed light not only on who’s fighting who and why in Syria, but also of helping those interested get to the bottom of the ulterior motives that are ultimately driving the conflict.
At its most basic level, Syria’s civil war is about power politics and energy. The Western media will tell you that this is all the result of Bashar al-Assad resisting a “popular uprising.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s fairly close to being an outright lie. As a leaked diplomatic cable from 2006 shows, the US has sought to destabilize the regime in Damascus by fomenting sectarian discord for the better part of a decade, a familiar strategy for the West when it comes to replacing governments Washington deems to be recalcitrant. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have assisted in the effort.
Because it’s in Tehran’s pocket, Damascus is a perpetual thorn in the side of the Saudis and removing Assad would not only pave the way for potential energy partnerships, but would also deal a serious blow to Iran’s sphere of influence in the Mid-East and cut off Tehran’s supply line to Hezbollah.
Of course the Kurds are also involved in the fight against the Sunni extremists angling for Assad’s ouster which complicates matters significantly given the tension between Ankara and the PKK. That dynamic is itself complicated by the fact that it isn’t entirely clear what Erdogan’s stance on ISIS actually is.
As one Pentagon official put it a few months back, “it’s a friggin’ mess.”
That it is, and one that is largely of Washington’s own making because, as we’ve noted in the past, even if Bashar al-Assad isn’t the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft (and he certainly is not), virtually anything would be better than what’s going on in Syria today.
Now that Russia is on the ground (or perhaps “in the air” is the better way to put it), the stakes have been raised and because the conflict is quickly becoming the biggest story in the world, we thought it an opportune time to present the following graphics from The New York Times which illustrate the various alliances and relationships among all of the parties involved.
And because we wouldn't leave you without a bit of humor, here's the American media describing the US as ISIS' "main adversary" while Russia (the country whose jets are killing ISIS fighters every day) is relegated to "secondary" status: