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article imageOp-Ed: American and Russian involvement in Syria reflects Cold War era

By Eliot Elwar     Aug 19, 2013 in World
Russia and America take sides in the Syrian civil war. Moscow remains committed to providing the Assad regime the S-300 air defense missile systems, while Washington remains committed to arming the Syrian rebels. Will Russia win the new Cold War?
Russia’s contract to supply Syria with the sophisticated S-300 air defense systems remains in place. Russia has refused to halt military and other cooperation with the Damascus government throughout the Syria conflict, while Moscow condemns the West for openly siding with the rebels, according to PRESSTV news. Western leaders rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting Syria's Bashar al-Assad's attempt to crush a two-year-old uprising. American President Barack Obama has attempted to persuade the Kremlin chief to bring Assad to the negotiating table to end a conflict where tens of thousands of people have been killed, according to the Huffington Post.
Syrian officials warned recently that they would deploy chemical weapons against any foreign intervention, a threat that appeared intended to ward off an attack by Western nations while also offering what officials in Washington called the most “direct confirmation” ever that Syria possesses a stockpile of unconventional armaments, according to the New York Times. Syrian rebels hint Israel was behind the attack on missile cache. However, Israeli officials say Israel is not involving itself in the Syrian civil war and is typically the target for blame following military strikes in the region, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has warned of endless Afghan-type civil war in Syria if President Bashar al-Assad is removed “unconstitutionally”. Putin said: “We fear that if the country’s current leadership is removed from power by unconstitutional methods, the opposition and today’s leadership could simply swap their places — the former become the leadership, the latter become the opposition. The civil war will then drag on for who knows how long. We do not want the situation to evolve along the bloody scenario of a civil war that will continue endlessly as in Afghanistan,” according to the HINDU news.
Analysis
The Cold War involved restricted rivalry and hostility that developed after the Second World War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. and their respective allies. The U.S. and U.K., alarmed by the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, feared the expansion of Soviet power and communism in Western Europe and elsewhere. The Soviets were determined to maintain control of Eastern Europe, in part to safeguard against a possible renewed threat from Germany. The Cold War was waged mainly on political, economic, and propaganda fronts and had only limited recourse to weapons. It was at its peak during 1948 to 1953 with the Berlin blockade and airlift, the formation of NATO, the victory of the communists in the Chinese civil war, and the Korean War. Another intense stage occurred during 1958 to 1962 with the Cuban missile crisis, which resulted in a weapons buildup by both sides. A period of détente in the 1970s was followed by renewed hostility. The Cold War ended with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1991.
During the Cold War, the former Soviet Union was a major power broker and mentor to Afghanistan’s government from 1979 to 1989. They were influential in arming the Afghan military against the Mujahedeen. The United States under the Reagan administration was providing financial aid and arms support to the Mujahedeen multi-national forces. The United States spent billions of dollars in arms to the Mujahedeen, making this operation its longest and most expensive covert operations in the Middle East. Over two decades later, Russia's leader Vladimir Putin, now warns the West that the Syrian civil war would escalate into an Afghan-type of war if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is removed from power. A few analysts believe that America could lose this new Cold War to Russia because of America’s growing economic problems.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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