Most European, Arab and Islamic countries spearheaded by the US say that President Assad must go. Except that all of them benefit from him staying in power for as long as possible.
The United States has stopped asking for Assad’s removal, previously it was a pre-condition for stopping the flow of armaments and the training of terrorists, and also stopping regional countries from sending heavy weaponry to the “moderate opposition” and the Jihadists in Syria. Today, however the US’ request is in regards to a small part of Aleppo, the Eastern part, where around 50,000-250,000 civilians reside there (Translator’s comment: depending on your bias) and 10,000 fighters from the “moderate opposition”, which the US supports and who fight side by side with Jabhat Fath Al-Sham a.k.a Al-Qaeda.
The spokesperson for the US State Department said that his country is not fighting Al-Qaeda because cooperation in Syria with Russia has hit a stumbling block – in any case the coordination center that would have provided a setting for such an arrangement, never came into being. Assad staying in power serves Washington’s interests, because Assad’s presence gives Washington a casus belli to keep sending armaments to the “moderate opposition” and the Jihadists, and also with the added bonus of keeping Hezbollah busy in Syria, loosing a significant number of their trained fighters, hence this weakens Hezbollah and distracts the attention of the organization from Israel, the US’s prime ally in the Middle East. It also damages Iran’s economy, which is supporting Syria’s state structures, and feeds Damascus with oil and military aid to prevent Assad’s defeat.
As for Russia, it has created for itself – with Assad – an important foothold in the Middle East. It has as of today an important air base in Hmeymim Airport and uses other airports for aid and support. And it has just signed an agreement lasting for 49 years to create the largest naval base in the Middle East. And it has used some of its air force and missile systems on live targets, and has deployed missiles in Syria which is right next to NATO’s bases in Turkey, thus bringing them face to face with the US. But more importantly, Russia has proved that it is a superpower, which has threatened the United States to prevent it from striking its Syrian ally (Assad) and has imposed itself as a key player, in effect cancelling the US’ unilateralism in the Middle East. Assad has given Russia a geopolitical advantage, giving them a place in the most vital area of the region, the Levant.
As for Iran, it is essential that Assad remains in power as he is part of the “resistance axis”. He helped and continues to help Iran and it’s allies to further their influence in the region. To reach Hezbollah it is necessary to pass through Syria, Assad assists in transferring modern and advanced weaponry, aside from such weaponry Hezbollah has reached a state of self-sufficiency. Syria also provides Hezbollah with strategic geographical positions on mountains on the border with Israel that can protect it’s missile systems from the Israelis. Syria also provides Hezbollah with the training facilities and the opportunity to gain new military experiences, this last point worries Tel Aviv in any future confrontation with Hezbollah.
As for Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat Fath Al-Sham, despite their calls to remove Assad by force, his continued presence serves them, in that they are able to enlist/attract more fighters from the other opposition groups, thus increasing their numbers which makes them stronger and more difficult to uproot.
If Assad leaves office the US will have no excuse not to bomb Al-Qaeda in Syria, whom they are protecting today from Russia by refusing to separate the “moderate opposition” from Al-Qaeda. If Assad leaves, then the moderate opposition groups will have no other excuse but to attack Al-Qaeda, and to deport the non-Syrian elements from within their ranks. (Translator’s comment: no such opposition exists; if Assad leaves the country will be swallowed by Jihadists, and then following the honorable way of previous Jihadists they will start killing each other, each side accusing the other of Apostasy…etc). Al-Qaeda is gaining combat experience in Syria by each passing day, and is attracting new recruits. Many Syrians have flocked to their flag, it has become a force that is feared by their own allies and enemies too. In the guise of fighting against Assad, Al-Qaeda has managed to acquire the latest American weaponry – which has on occasion turned the tide of battles (An example: TOW) – and with the US’ nod it is able to receive the necessary funds from foreign donors.
As for ISIS, Assad’s refusal to leave prevents the “moderate opposition” and Al-Qaeda from ganging up on them. ISIS’ fight against Assad stopped the US from bombing their oil cargos for over a year, during which time the US coalition were roaming the skies of Syria and could see everything. For ISIS, Assad remaining in power means that the US and Russia will not come to an agreement regarding a possible joint effort against them, as it stands Russia is busy fighting the “moderate opposition” and the Jihadists, because both of which are being funded and armed by foreign powers, and are even being covered for in international forums, whereas ISIS is an orphan in comparison, easily destroyed unlike the others. Whenever ISIS plans an attack on SAA positions, the West’s aircrafts misses them, which gives ISIS more time to recruit new fighters. Each party to this conflict still benefits from ISIS’ existence, the time is not yet right for ISIS to leave the scenery of Iraq and Syria.
So interests have brought enemies into alliances in the Levant. Assad awaits a resolution to the Syrian problem, and with him the Syrian people, who knows that his country’s troubles are no longer in his lands but are hanging on a thread, with Russia and the US on either end.