Assad has won 4th term, what’s next?

People walk by an image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on 10 May 2021 (AFP)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for the 4th term in office with 95.1% of the votes. According to Assad’s government, the election results proved Syria is functioning normally.

This will extend his rule over a country despite harsh criticism from the United States, Germany, Italy, France and Turkey as well as Assad’s opponents in the country said the vote was illegitimate.

Despite their condemnation of his brutal and authoritative regime during the decade-long Syrian civil war, imposing economic sanctions and militarily backing his opponents, the Syrian leader was able to remain in power and save the country from the territorial divide. Like a true captain of the wrecked ship, Bashar Al-Assad did not leave the war-torn country and, what’s important, did not let it collapse despite West’s multiple efforts to intervene.

With Russia’s support, Assad arranged constant humanitarian help flows to the country and save the sovereignty of secular state despite endless clashes and civil war in the country. Moreover, Assad assured his supporters get access to education and healthcare while his government provided jobs to workers.

Prior to the elections, the White House have warned Syrian President that it would not recognize the result of upcoming presidential election unless the voting is free, fair, and supervised by the United Nations while Biden administration said it had no plans to restart the dialogue “any time soon” claiming the Assad government failed to restore legitimacy in the country. With no doubts such open statements mean the West will continue its pressure to the Assad’s regime and will try to remove him from his post demonstrating a double standard “legitimacy” at its best.

Tajikistan might become the next US target in the Central Asia for Washington political ambitions

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is increasing its presence in the Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan through various economic, trade, healthcare and social projects. Only for the last 3 years the USAID has introduced a number of agriculture projects for the country’s farmers, has launched campaigns aimed at fighting Tuberculosis along with other projects involving funding of local prospective journalists, students, businessmen and entrepreneurs. According to the Agency, USAID investment strategy in Tajikistan involves large-scale and ambitious projects for the next 3-4 years that aim to increase the living standard in the country.

Even though the US impact and investments in Tajikistan’s economy cannot be underestimated, the history has assured that nothing is free and there is some certain price for every good that’s been done. Tajikistan, a small country in the Central Asia with poor economy but strong authoritative political system, could become a perfect potential target for US so-called democratization policy. Positive social and economic changes integrated by the United States in Tajikistan are building up a solid ground for lobbying Washington political ambitions in the country.

Fostering the pro-Western values in young people’s minds may undermine the country’s economy and political system in the future – the world has seen the US hand in attempting the coup of Venezuela, Ukraine and Turkey. And once the economic and trade compass of a US “ally” country contradicts to the US course, the result could be a trade war, as it was a case for China. For Tajikistan, а landlocked country with the agriculture-based economy such consequences may be far more than tragic.

The friendship of Tajikistan’s political elite with the United States has quite a thin basis– the historic, cultural, social and economic paths of the countries have little in common. By infusing money in Tajikistan’s economy, business and social projects the United States would likely start strengthening its political system by proposing candidates loyal to Washington. Given the upcoming elections in Tajikistan in 2020 and the 30th anniversary of the Republic next year, the US political ambitions in the country are quite clear. Once and if they are met the USAID projects and investments may wind down and the entire political system of the country might burst in quite a natural way. In this case, Tajikistan’s political future might inherit the Bolivia’s fate.

Moldova’s political heritage seem to be sunk in crime

The latest events in the Moldova’s politics have drawn attention of the international community not only because of their rapid pace and uncertainty, but also due to the ongoing and ever-increasing penetration of crime in the Moldova’s political system that has become the phenomenon for the European country.

The criminal nature of the Vlad Plahotniuc’s regime is beyond any doubt. However, the unlawful way of governing the country, which was formed when the so-called pro-European forces came to power in 2009, cannot be broken overnight. It was created gradually, with a whole layer of people thirsting for power and money and penetrating in all spheres of Moldova’s economy, finance, politics, public administration. Moldova’s oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc has been on top of this hierarchy system since 2016. In February 2019, after the dramatic change of power, Maia Sandu, the leader of ACUM, became the prime minister promising to clean up «the muck» while Plahotniuc fled the country and left to the USA. So did his ally – Ilan Shor – the politician accused of playing a key role in the so-called “grand theft” of a billion US dollars from the banking system. 

However, there appeared a new political figure on the Moldova’s political stage – Renato Usatii. Known for his criminal business in Russia he was engaged in the Moldova’s politics and initially had good relations with Vlad Plahotniuc. They were believed to be involved in the creation of one of the largest money-laundering channels in the country when Plahotniuc was based in Moldova and Usatii resided in Russsia.

US policy in Syria aims to cause further chaos in EU

The US recent claims to withdraw its troops from the North-Eastern provinces of Syria and the official vows of pausing collaboration with Syrian Kurds are widely regarded as an effort of Washington to build closer relations with Ankara. However, while pursuing this policy, the Pentagon and the CIA continue expanding communication channels with Syrian Kurds in case if Ankara’s political compass is navigated towards Russia rather than the US after Turkey elections in June 2018.

The United States has also encouraged its partners, members of the Anti-Terrorism Coalition to send more of their troops to the so-called Syrian Kurdistan, a territory located north-east of the Euphrates. As a result, Germany and France, along with increasing numbers of their military troops in this region, have also been given authority to provide support to Kurdish military troops in Syria. Given how sensitive the Kurdish issue is for Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria this will, beyond any doubts, cause further tension between the EU and the Middle Eastern countries and will let the US avoid any possible accusations of the international law violations amid the Syria war.

With ambitious plans in Syria that included the stabilization of the country, getting rid of Bashar al-Assad, knocking out Iranian influence, fighting ISIS and becoming a hero who brought an end to the seven-year Syrian war the US did not seem (and perhaps still does not seem) to care that its new policy might cause much bigger conflicts in the region and go far beyond defeating ISIS only. Similar to the EU migration crisis, the US acts as an invisible mediator while the EU takes all the fire.  This time, Washington’s goals of aggravating the further conflict between the EU countries and the Middle East are rather economical: Washington tries to undermine the EU investment opportunities and provoke further financial crisis in Europe.

Russia’s Syria Congress is over: what’s next?

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Russia’s Sochi on January 28-29 was aimed to boost the process for building a peaceful future for Syrian people in a war-devastated country and to define the country’s political compass for the next years. The Congress, sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, gathered over 1,500 participants from various groups of Syrian society, including representatives from political parties, opposition groups and ethnic and confessional communities.

While the Congress itself did not aim to achieve the immediate political reconciliation over Syria, its main focus was to revive Geneva talks. According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the forum was expected to “create conditions for staging fruitful Geneva process”.

Besides, the Congress was some kind of alert to boycotting countries and their procrastination to reinforce the 2254 UN Security Council Resolution for Peace Process in Syria, adopted in 2015. According to the resolution, the future of Syria should be determined by its people. However, the country has experienced forced intervention and external interference that prevented it from paving ways for a peaceful future ever since.

Ironically it may seem, the so-called peace process for Syria that has been joined by many countries pursuing different strategies including diametrically opposite approaches of Russia and the United States, became a fruitful soil for radically oriented groups that eroded the country’s sovereignty. The delay in reinforcing the 2254 UN Security Resolution by international community can lead to further monetization of Syria’s natural resources by terrorist organizations and cause major security threats for the entire international community.

Perhaps, the most important result of the Sochi Congress has been an agreement of all participants to consolidate their efforts in stabilizing the Syria’s future and to secure the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. The concerns of the Syrian opposition claiming the Sochi Congress would, on the contrary, hazard the international peace process could not be more baseless since the Congress was supported by the UN, the main sponsor of the Geneva talks.