The Assad regime managed to survive this country’s internal conflict by aligning itself with a strong power- Iran. EnglishThe civil war in Syria has become a classic example of proxy war, in which different regional and global powers defend their interests through third parties. Under Nejad and then Rouhani rule, Iran aided the regime in Damascus by all means, including logistical, military, and financial support. Iran has been openly supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assadfor some time now (much of that through its proxy Hezbollah), while Israel has tried to generally steer clear of the Syrian quagmire, at least publicly. It is a proxy war that has become intensely transnational, with high levels of regional spillover and engagement by regional and international actors, both state and non‐state actors alike. The US-Russia Proxy War in Syria ... And so, an unholy alliance of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states continues to fuel the war in Syria while Obama pretends that his giant coalition is really doing the job of taking on many of those same jihadists. R… The Syrian Civil War became so vulnerable to foreign interference because of the gradual isolation that Syria faced from the international community beginning shortly after 9/11. Yet, unlike in the original Cold War, which was mostly a war by proxy, the new confrontation is a more direct engagement. US-Russian Proxy War in Syria. This is by far the worst war in modern Syrian history with over 550,000 people believed to be dead and twelve million people displaced. However, the USSR did not support U.S.-Syrian collaboration during the First Gulf War, jeopardizing their alliance. These can be divided in four main groups. Therefore, the Syrian regime needs to work with other Arab countries like the UAE to constructively rebuild Syria in a way that benefits the Arab world at large, eventually convincing the rest of the Arab League that Syria is no longer a regional threat. The situation has been even more complicated when the civil war turned a proxy warfare led by the most powerful countries in the world. However, without the involvement of several key international actors, the interests of the proxy nations will clash, hindering the ability for the Syrian conflict to be resolved as quickly as needed. But with the breach of Israeli airspace by perennial foe Iran, Israel was forced t… The talks for the first time brought Iran to the negotiating table with Saudi Arabia, which are said to be engaged in a proxy war in Syria. Monday, 19 February, 2018 - 09:15 Eli Lake A. Turkey maintains authority over its proxy in the use of force in military action. The risk of Syria becoming a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia became real last week when Turkey and Syrian jihadists used U.S.-supplied weaponry to shoot down a Russian warplane and rescue helicopter, killing two Russians, a danger that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explores. Therefore, Syria needs to look to other countries to help end the war through negotiations and by pressuring Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia to deescalate their actions in the conflict. Since Russia and Iran both had a long history of a preexisting alliance with Syria, and Syria lacked any other means of assistance, the Assad regime was willing to ally with these two countries despite the threat of a proxy war. A. Syria has been decimated by conflict, so the sooner the war ends the better. This is not the end of Syria’s efforts to restore its international credibility, but it would be a strong first step that could enable willingness on the part of other countries to negotiate. © Copyright 2021 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved. War and Proxy War: Players and State of Play Now that it is evident that the Russians value outcome of the Syrian war highly, and that they have good reasons for doing so, let us run through the basic state of play. While it is quite unlikely that The fighters’ salaries, training, and supervision in battle are also provided by Turk ey. First, on August 19, U.S. troops came under fire from Syrian warships in Northern Syria. – As if the Syrian Conflict couldn’t get any more complicated, a new proxy war is brewing between several foreign powers in the northern part of the country. The United States, Turkey, and Qatar also have varying degrees of involvement in the conflict. Over the weekend, Israel intercepted an Iranian drone that had flown into Israeli airspace from neighboring Syria through Jordan. However, Turkey was relatively quick to adapt to the realities on the ground in Syria and rather successful in forming an army from the diverse groups of Islamist fighters despite the fact that it had no history of resorting proxy wars. The main international players in the proxy war are Saudi Arabia, who is supporting the Sunni rebels, and Russia and Iran, who are allying with the Assad regime. This put Syria on the same level as countries like Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Second, civil war in Syria has not played out as an intra‐state conflict neatly contained within national borders. For example, according to recent survey work, the University of Maryland researcher Vera Mironova and High Point University’s Sam Whitt found that rebels were motivated primarily by revenge and regime change, not … We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. "In my view, the term 'proxy war' overstates U.S.-Russian strains over Syria. During the Lebanese Civil War, the Maronites requested Syrian assistance in suppressing the rise of a Muslim socialist movement, which Syria agreed would destabilize the region. Alerts. How do I know, did I take over Crete's oracle? The Proxy War Problem In Syria, both the Bosnia and Iraq analogies should point us toward a greater understanding of the proxy war problem in modern civil wars. Improving the deteriorating relations between Syria and the international community will be an important step in helping Syria move forward after the war. A few months ago, in a remote town in Idlib province, northern Syria, an unusual foreign militant presence alarmed Syrian locals. NO! The proxy war in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran is another example of the destructive impact of proxy wars. There will be soon a new proxy war in the middle east. In 2005, Russia canceled 73 percent of Syria's debt with Russia to reaffirm their cooperation which encouraged Syria to support the Russian intervention in Georgia in 2008. If you've been listening just to the Kremlin and the Pentagon, you probably didn't know that Russia attacked American forces and their allies in Syria last week, suffering heavy casualties. From Civil To Proxy War: How Syria Became Iran And Israel's Battlefield. Syria has always had a controversial foreign policy with Israel and Lebanon, but countries like the United States had been able to see that long-term animosity was not in their favor. The Turkish Defense Ministry reports that at the start of this week, Turkey destroyed 82 Syrian targets, including nine tanks, two Howitzer mortars, six rocket launchers and two military vehicles, and also killed 299 Syrian soldiers. The Arab League had repeatedly supported Syria, and despite Syria's controversial alliance with Iran, the Arab League had strongly advocated for their participation in the 2007 Annapolis Conference. This resolution called for all foreign troops to leave Lebanon, but it was mainly targeted at Syria after its invasion of Lebanon during the 1975–1990 Civil War. This conflict has resulted in, among other things, the Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIL, the current civil war in Yemen, and the reemergence of the Taliban [citation needed]. The Syrian regime wants to stay in power at any cost while there was certainly a civil popular opposition in Syria when the uprising first began. Turkish-backed fighters north of the Syrian town of Azaz, near the border Ankara today announced its first two combat deaths in Turkey’s clash with US … – As if the Syrian Conflict couldn’t get any more complicated, a new proxy war is brewing between several foreign powers in the northern part of the country. Proxy war or not, the bulk of the fighting in Syria is not about the regional balance of power.Most fighters (ISIS excluded) are driven by parochial—even personal—issues. The networks in Syria are amorphous and perpetually in flux. See More Alerts. It is quite visible, the US does not even First, the Syrian Armed Forces and its allies. A huge array of actors are now involved on the ground and from afar, and many increasingly view the conflict as an existential struggle. Without the support of its Arab neighbors, the United States, and the rest of the international community, Syria's only remaining allies included Russia and Iran. Iran and the GCC states have provided varying degrees of military and financial support to opposing sides, with Iran backing the government and Saudi Arabia supporting rebel militants. If anything, the Syrian civil war is a typical example of a proxy war, with the Syrians themselves getting increasingly irrelevant to how the conflict would play out. By one count, there have been over 150 Israeli strikes in Syria stretching all the way back to 2012. In addition to these factors, the participation of foreign actors was another central issue that allowed for the civil war to develop into today’s highly destructive proxy war. Exclusive: Saudi-Iranian proxy war over Syria spreads to Davos. Second, the opposition composed from the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, the Free Syrian Army and the jihadi Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. "In my view, the term 'proxy war' overstates U.S.-Russian strains over Syria. Ongoing violence and proxy conflicts could also facilitate the resurgence of terrorist groups. Syria has been a major theater in the proxy conflict throughout its ongoing civil war, which began in 2011. If we were to compare Syria’s condition ten years ago to its current state, one would be shocked at the stark contrast. Speaking from Damascus on the condition of anonymity, a government source told Al-Masdar that two new alliances have emerged in northern Syria, with one led by Iran and Turkey and the other Saudi Arabia and Russia. And what's the cost? Syria’s experience is not uncommon. Progressing to a violent armed revolt and the formation of the Free Syrian Army later that year, a civil war officially began. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. There are numerous factions, both foreign and domestic, involved in the Syrian civil war. The Syrian government, the opposition and the SDF have all received support, militarily and di… 6 Min Read. Calling a conflict like the one in Syria a civil war or a proxy war won’t change the fact that this ongoing conflict is both an unjust and unjustified bloodshed. Syria and Russia, on the other hand, have had a much rockier friendship. Syria’s suspension from the Arab League in 2011 was the final straw in eliminating all of Syria's potential support in preventing the imminent proxy war. Since 2003, more than 800,000 have died in Iraq. 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