Syrian conflict — a prelude to WW-III?
Muhammad Jamil


DURING early 1950s, eminent philosopher Bertrand Russel in an essay titled “The future of mankind” wrote that before the end of that century, unless something quite unforeseeable occurred, one of three possibilities would have realized. The first one was the end of human life or all life on the planet as a result of war, and then as a consequence hunger, starvation and disease.

The second was reversion to barbarism in view of the first one and third one was unification of the world under a single government. However, none of the possibilities was realized, and today at least nine countries have nuclear arsenal with the delivery systems; thus there would be no concept of victor and the vanquished in the war. While discussing to take on Russia or China, American military bosses confessed that World War 3 is “almost guaranteed” and will be “extremely lethal and fast.”The Obama administration had said Assad must go, but due to IS gaining ground in parts of Syria and Iraq, the situation became complex in Syria, and the US focused on the threat from the IS. Since 2014, the United States headed an international coalition conducting strikes on IS targets in Syria. Under former President Barack Obama’s administration, the US had launched a military campaign against IS in both Iraq and Syria; and President Donald Trump’s administration continued bombing campaign against IS. However, on Friday morning, the US military struck a Syrian air base in response to, what it called, chemical weapons attack, which brought mixed reaction from global players. The US, Germany, European countries and Arab countries lauded the action, while Russia, Iran and China condemned it as an aggression. The current strikes marked the first direct military action by the United States against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.During election campaign and even after assuming office, President Donald Trump had expressed his aversion to meddling in Syria and for that matter in the Middle East. Only a week ago, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.” After direct strikes on Syrian base, one has to wait and see the US policy on Syria, as it has announced to conduct more strikes. In October, 2014, then US President Barack Obama had authorised the US military to conduct targeted strikes on fighters of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in northern Iraq with a view to stop genocide of particular sect and to protect American officials working. In the interview, the then President Obama had said that “the US may eventually further its participation to repel the militant group, which is trying to gain control of the region.”The US and West had continued with their policy of regime change, and overthrew Saddam Hussain, whose government was earlier strengthened by the US, the West and Arab countries to counter Iran’s rising power. They also had stirred violence in Libya by supporting the rebels with funds and arms; yet they utterly failed to bring order or stability in Libya. US ambassador in Libya was killed by the rebels; yet no lessons were learnt. After that it was Syria’s turn; and they played the sectarian card and provided arms to the Syrian rebels. Having realized that the Al Qaeda militants had entered the ranks of the rebels, the US started distancing itself and refused to provide air support to the rebels. In the same interview, then President Obama had expressed regret that his government did not help rebuild Libya after Nato-led airstrikes in 2011 that defeated Qaddafi regime.At the present, the US is the only super power, and wishes to run the world according to its whims and fancy. However, after invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the influence of the sole super power waned, as the world witnessed the invincibility of the super shredded into bits especially in Afghanistan, as the US and its allies failed to stem the resistance rather tide of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Today, the Taliban have control over large swathes of land, and IS or Daesh has also made a strong foothold in part of Afghanistan. Last year, more than 80 people were dead and hundreds of protesters injured in suicide attacks on members of the Hazara minority who had staged demonstration over a new power line. In the past IS carried out attacks in Nangarhar, the eastern part of the country but not as far as Kabul.The US and some erstwhile European colonial powers have their vaulting ambitions to be once again the arbiter of the people’s destinies abroad wherever they perceive an opportunity. It was not just Ukraine they pushed into turbulence. They have been on this rank adventurism quite too often even over these very times, with Libya and Syria slipping down and down in a quagmire for their maddening geopolitical and strategic designs. In the arena are arrayed the European Union and the United States against Russia, which already took Crimean peninsula and was now eyeing the Russian speaking eastern Ukraine, where the natives agitated for joining the customs union with Russia. For some time the compulsive adventurists had their way in Syria, but Russia chastened by the Libyan saga was not prepared to sign on a UN Security Council decree authorizing outside military assault on its ally Syria.There are ominous signals; and Syrian conflict could be a prelude to WWIII. Officially, Russian President Putin denies having any plans for creating a military alliance with China, yet both countries share a desire to limit American power. For China, one of the main attractions of closer relations with Russia is the potential for challenging Washington’s still dominant global position. Russia and China share the strategic goal of challenging US hegemony in favour of a multi-polar world, and the two powers often find themselves on the same side in the UN Security Council, where they wield vetoes as permanent members. Issues like deal on regulating Iran’s nuclear programme and handling North Korea or Syria could not have been possible without Russia and China. Of course, Bashar al-Assad has been able to hold on to power in Syria due to their support.