Following the start of Russia’s military offensive in Syria Wednesday, Russian propaganda machines fired up alongside those in the U.S. as each side attempted to paint the other in a bad light.
The U.S. claims that this time we are supporting the “good” rebels in Syria, and that Russia was to blame for attacking sites in which they were located on Wednesday.
It may be time for the U.S. media to acknowledge that the situation, as it concerns Russia, is purely about power in the region. The Middle East in general is undergoing a re-alignment along Sunni-Shia lines, and has been trending that way for years now.
In Syria, that has already been demonstrated through Shia leader Bashar al-Assad’s campaign of exterminating the majority Sunni population, a fact which has helped the spread of ISIS.
In Yemen we have Iran-backed Shia Houthis fighting against Saudi Arabian backed Sunnis. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presided over the phenomenon of Baghdad’s transition of formerly mixed neighborhoods into predominantly Shia ones, defended by Shia militias. Discrimination towards Sunnis applying for government jobs in Iraq has been a common allegation, with similar behavior in academic institutions.
The idea that Putin is not aware of the current status between the two Muslim groups is naïve, and continuing to pursue such narratives will only further drop the already dim view the U.S. public holds towards both their news media and politicians generally.
U.S. officials went on to state that Russia’s involvement in Syria will only serve to produce more terrorist recruits. Radical Muslims already have more propaganda material than they know what to do with as a result of the United States’ now decade-old campaign in the region.
That fact was re-illustrated this week when U.S.-led efforts to retake Kunduz, Afghanistan resulted in at least 50 civilian casualties at the city’s main hospital.
As Russia strengthens its alignment with Iran and now Syria, it will be interesting to see how the U.S. responds in the event that Putin’s involved campaign in Syria results in an Assad victory. At least then we’ll really know who the bad guys are.