U.S.-Russia Ties to Syria Spark Faceoff

U.S. officials are not happy with Russian involvement in Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Image: ScreenShot/YouTube)

Tensions between Russia, and the U.S. seem to be heating up as Greece still allows Russia to use their airspace to fly aids to Syria. The Greek Foreign Ministry confirmed receiving a request from Washington, requesting that Russia should be denied the use of Greek airspace for aid flights to Syria, according to Reuters.

The present friction between Russia, and the U.S. seems worrying to many.

No one knows how far the situation might escalate. Russia has a naval base in the Syrian port of  Tartous, and regularly sends flights to Latakia, which Russia also uses to bring home its citizens who want to leave.


Map of Syria, Tartous and Latika at the Syrian coastline. (Image: Thomas van Linge/Wikimedia)

War divides a nation

Russia has been an ally of President Bashar al-Assad throughout the war that has split Syria into fractions.

Russian foreign minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov recently said in a Reuters report that Moscow “has never concealed that it delivers military equipment to official Syrian authorities with the aim of combating terrorism.”

A diplomatic source in Athens told Russian News Wire, RIA Novosti that Greece refuses to close its airspace to Russian planes carrying humanitarian aid to Syria.

A RT_com News Tweet quoted Putin saying: “People flee from Syria because of ISIS, not Assad regime.”

U.S. ties to Syria questioned

Some experts claim that much of the instability in, and around Syria is due to America’s intervention in the region by arming the country’s rebels.

According to a 2013, Huffington Post article U.S. “President Barack Obama’s decision to begin arming Syria’s rebels deepens U.S. involvement in a regional proxy war…, putting Sunni against Shiite Muslims, and threatening the stability of Syria’s neighbors.”

The article further states there was a strong concern “that U.S. supplied weapons could fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda linked militants fighting alongside the rebels.”

However the U.S. backed its decision with the claim that it had “evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against rebel fighters,” justifying greater U.S. intervention. The allegations that Assad’s military forces had used chemical weapons sparked huge discussions in the international community.

In this video, originally aired by CBS, Syrian regime leader Assad talks about the allegations against him, and his government while disputing the claims based on a lack of evidence.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad speaks on CBS:

The U.S. apparently has a history of attempting to destabilize the Assad Regime and its government in Syria.  The Washington Post claimed in 2011 the State Department was “secretly financing Syrian political opposition groups, and related projects including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country.”

Back in 2011 a classified U.S diplomatic cable showed that the State Department had funded the group with about $6 million since 2006 “to operate their satellite channel, and finance other activities inside Syria.”

Later in 2013 the U.S. was linked to training “secular Syrian fighters in Jordan in a bid to bolster forces battling President Bashar Assad’s regime,” the Washington Post reported.

Greece-Russia ties strengthen

In June 2015, Greece signed an agreement with Russia that allows the Eastern European nation to build a pipeline across Greece. This deal was welcomed as good news for the government in Athens, as Greece is increasingly being singled out from the rest of Europe, especially financially.

Some speculate the pipeline will help Russia avoid having to use the Ukraine as a transit into Europe, especially since the U.S. State Department allegedly supported a coup in the Ukrain, which allegedly installed a “government hostile to Russia.”

In February 2014, a possibly bugged phone conversion between Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, and U.S.  Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyat appeared on YouTube, the BBC News reported. They also wrote an article containing the entire transcript of the conversation.

Leaked call confirms authenticity

According to the NY Times, the authenticity of the leaked call was privately confirmed by an administration official.

It looks like Russia feels obligated to help the Syrian regime retain its stand, while America seems dedicated to destabilize the Assad regime by supporting rebels in the nation. Both sides blame each other for doing what they are doing and each believe they are following a just cause of action.

The tug-of-war on the geopolitical stage between Russia, and the U.S. seems to have a long, and very complicated history. Yet history also has many examples of how simple the solution to most complicated problems can be, once we realize our most common interests beyond our own.

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