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Kaveesh Kanwal
Kaveesh Kanwal, International relations
What is happening in Syria has a lot to do with what happened in Iraqand is a culmination of a lot of events starting from the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The below points will put forward my arguments supported by references/sources.


  1. In the year 2003, the United States decided toinvade Iraq, after building a huge world public opinion regarding the presence of WMDs(weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq. The US forces reached Baghdad in two months, and the invasion was complete, but the war was just getting started. Insurgency in Iraq picked up, the regular troops of the Iraqi army, who were still very loyal to Saddam Hussain, started engaging the Americans in firefights in various cities across Iraq.
    Reference(s): 2003 invasion of Iraq

  2. Due to this insurgency, which started just after the invasion of Iraq, many US soldiers got killed. This peaked from 2003 to 2006, and during this period there was an extensive radicalization of particularly the Islamic Sunni  insurgents, who were now no longer the regular troops of the Iraqi army, butMujahideens(Islamic "holy" warriors) ready to wage armed Jihad against the west and also against the Shia minorities in the surrounding areas.

  3. From 2006 to 2008, Iraq underwent a bloody sectarian civil war, scores of Shias were killed by the Sunnis, and in retaliation some Sunnis were also killed. The main casualty of this civil war were Shias. Al-Baghdadi (the present ISIS chief) had then formed a group called the IS(Islamic State), which wasresponsible for scores of bombings mainly targeting the Shia community. As a result more than 4 million Iraqis became refugees.
    Reference(s): Iraqi insurgency (2003–11),
    Iraq violence: Car bomb kills scores in mainly Shia town - BBC News


  4. Now, a third wave of insurgency hit Iraq, this spanned from 2008 to 2011, like the previous insurgencies, this was a mix of sectarian violence and waging armed jihad against the US troops. In the December of 2011, the US forces had completely withdrawn from Iraq, leaving Iraq in a state of absolute and complete anarchy. Though the US said that they had left Iraq in the able hands of the new "democratic" Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki, but i think that it was a huge BLUNDER on part of president Obama to order complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in the December of 2011.
    Ref: Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq 


  5. The insurgency in Iraq continued even after US withdrawal, and to put it bluntly, Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki failed terribly to contain it even after outside US support. The people of Iraq, generally the Sunnis felt alienated by Maliki because Maliki discriminated against the Sunnis and he mainly had a Shia dominated government. Maliki even gave more preference to Shias than Sunnis in the Iraqi army. This further alienated the Sunnis from the newly American blessed Iraqi govt. To put it simply, Maliki failed to have a inclusive govt that would have taken care of the welfare of both Sunnis and Shias. This was the main reason why many of the Sunni dominated areas got controlled and radicalized by people like Al-Baghdadi. By 2014, Al-Baghdadi led ISIS(Islamic state of Iraq and Syria) controlled majority of the Sunni areas of Iraq.
    Refs: Iraqi insurgency (2011–14)
    How Iraq unraveled since the U.S. withdrawal, in 10 steps

  6. On 29 June 2014, ISIS announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph. Systematically, after 2011 the effects of theArab spring(rebellion in the Arab world against their rulers) started overflowing into Syria.
    I, personally, DO NOT think that the Arab spring was a people's movement, rather it was a extension of the US foreign policy to have more control over the middle east by placing leaders in power who will show loyalty only to the United States. Thus, the US wanted to establish client states in the middle east, for many reason, and one being access to huge oil reserves. I know, many people will have contrary view points, but i have stated what i think, according to me, what i have stated is a writing on the wall, if you look closely to what has happened in the middle since 2003.

  7. The Arab spring led to a lot of protests against the Assad govt. But when they realized that Assad is not relenting, a fraction of the Syrian army broke off and formed the free Syrian army with the help of the US. The rebels/free Syrian army holds territory in the north-western part of Syria. From 2011 to 2014, the ISIS started occupying large areas, mainly Sunni dominated areas, of Iraq and Syria. During the Syrian civil war, the ISIS captured the Syrian city of Al-Raqqah, which became its headquarters in Syria.
    Refs: Al-Raqqah
    Pictorial Representations:


    In the above pic, the red area is the area that is infested by ISIS militants. You can see how it expanded from Iraq to Syria.




    In the above pic, only the Syrian map is shown, here you can see the areas controlled by both ISIS/ISIL and the rebels("Free" Syrian Army).


  8. Now, to put it in a nutshell, there are four major players in Syria today:

    • The Russians forces, led by Vladimir Putin.

    • The Syrian Army, led by President Assad of Syria.(Supported By The Russians).

    • ISIS led by Al-Baghdadi. (According to me, secretly backed by the US to destabilize the Assad govt)

    • The Free Syrian Army, supported/backed by the US.

    • The United States and its Allies.



  9. Above pic shows the air strike done by Russians and the US on various locations in Syria.



  10. On 30th September 2015, the Russians started carrying out air strikes against both the rebels and ISIS, because Putin is SICK and TIRED of american imperialistic ambitions and a bad habit of interfering in other nations and toppling governments in the name of freedom and democracy, only to establish a client subservient state towards the US. I think this was a bold decision by Putin, even after Russian is reeling under imposed sanctions.
    Ref: Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War


  11. As the above nine points depict, the Syrian situation is a complex situation. The Russians have gone in hard, and i will not shy away from saying that i am backing the Russians on this. This entire situation has occurred because of american imperialistic ambition of toppling governments. The US should realize that there are no "good" or bad terrorist, terrorist are just terrorists. The"free" Syrian army and ISIS are almost fighting like allies in this war backed by the US, they are receiving arms and full support of the US. More than anybody else, thepeople of Syria have suffered, and i sincerely hope the Russians are able to set the record straight and bring peace to the area.

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