What many people want to know, especially the Syrian Kurds, is why Russia has given its approval and support to Turkey in its efforts to invade the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin. An article in Al Jazeera gives a pragmatic assessment of why Russia would allow the Turks to invade Afrin, which is a part of Rojava.
The assessement highlights a point I make regarding coercive enterprises in general. They are in a business, the business of coercive enterprising, and they are competing with other coercive enterprises. They will do whatever it takes to get an advantage over other coercive enterprises.
They will attempt to develop a moral justification to satisfy their populace as to why they took the position they did, whether it is countenancing the attempted genocide of Syrian Kurds in Afrin by the Turks or supporting strongmen that regularly execute their own citizens for daring to not like them (that latter example is one that MULTIPLE coercive enterprises have done, including the United States).
The Russians are not siding with the Turks so much as they are finding that allowing the Turks to have their way with Afrin offers them far more benefits than telling them not to invade Afrin. They get something major out of the “deal,” a deal that involves thousands of lives that matter not one iota to any coercive enterprise, unless they see a direct benefit as to why those lives should suddenly matter.
|Why is Russia helping Turkey in Afrin?|
….Despite the indignation of the Syrian Kurds, cooperation with the Turks on the issue of Afrin is much more beneficial for Russia than confrontation.
Russia’s relationship with the Kurds has never been based on long-term, strategic cooperation. On the contrary, throughout its history, Moscow has used “the Kurdish card” only when it needed to reach a compromise with the countries in the Middle East, especially with Turkey.
And in the case of Afrin, Moscow does not owe the YPG much. Throughout the Syrian crisis, the group allied itself with the US and, de facto speaking, placed itself on the opposite side of the conflict. The Kurds rejected Russia’s offer to transfer the territory under their control in Afrin to the Syrian regime, in exchange for security guarantees. Washington was unable to help its YPG allies, and this gave Moscow an additional opportunity to once again demonstrate the illusory nature of US security guarantees.
In addition, cooperation with Ankara is of primary importance for Moscow at the moment. Turkey is one of the co-organisers of the Congress of Syrian People, which is being held on January 29-30 in Sochi.
The forum has domestic political significance for the Kremlin, since it is not only a personal initiative of Vladimir Putin, but also coincides with the beginning of his election campaign. The Russian president wants to approach the presidential elections in March 2018 as a peacemaker and a victor. He wants to offer his electorate a victorious conclusion of the military conflict in Syria, and then position his government as the key player which would bring peace to the war-torn country.
Also, by cooperating with Ankara on Afrin, Moscow has created an opportunity that would allow it to solve the situation in Idlib without military escalation. Russia knew that a military confrontation in Idlib would have been costly for Damascus and its allies, as it would have led to a new humanitarian catastrophe similar to the one that occurred a year ago in Aleppo. Not to mention that such a conflict would have exhausted the already weak Syrian army, forcing Russia to return to the Syrian war front.
Russia’s tacit approval of the operation Olive Branch, on the contrary, led to reciprocal concessions from Ankara in Idlib. The same day Turkey launched its operation, the Syrian regime announced that it had seized the opposition-controlled Abu Duhur airport in Idlib without any hindrance.
|Read More at Al Jazeera|