Inevitable bloodbath

Syrian firefighters try put out a fire in a building that was hit by reported Russian air strikes in the rebel-hold town of Jadraya, about 35 kilometres southwest of the city of Idlib, on September 4, 2018. AFP / OMAR HAJ KADOUR

The Russians have altered the strategic dynamics of approaching war and peace by acting as part-time peacemakers, and warmongers the rest of the time.

Now that the chips are on the table it has become clear that all of Russia’s peace overtures were camouflage for Moscow and the regime to prepare a massacre in Idlib that has commenced with the first wave of Russian bombers striking targets.

The operation comes in the wake of a warning against the launch of the attack by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said in a tweet, “President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province.”

For those who need a refresher, Trump in recent days and weeks has referred to Assad using terms that include dictator and animal, and yet he has now elevated the Syrian strongman to the level of president.

As for the Russians, as expected they poured cold water on the warning and dismissed it.

And as the tragedy unfolds, following the Russian dismissal a top U.S. general recommended narrowly tailored operations against militants to avoid a human catastrophe.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a similar statement, saying Iran would help push militants out of the last Syrian rebel stronghold with the least human cost.

Curiously, neither official noted how such a surgical approach was possible in an enclave that is home to 3 million people including 1 million children.

In the meantime, in Geneva, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura spoke about a moment of truth for a credible political process, making us wonder if he was talking about the same country.

As things stand now, the fate of Idlib has been sealed with collusion among Russia, Iran, Syria and the U.S. This, in fact, is a coalition of evil that will witness rivers of blood, knowing very well that the world is preoccupied with Aretha Franklin’s eulogy, Brexit vexation and Trump’s Russia-probe woes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 05, 2018, on page 1.




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