The reasons behind Russia’s critics on Assad regime
Recently, the pro-Putin media has been sharply criticized Syria’s Assad regime. The Federal News Agency that owned by the famous Russian businessman Yevgeny Pregozhin who is well known as the ‘Kremlin Cooker and Putin’s chef’ and he is very close to the Russian president Putin, has called Bashar Al-Assad ‘weak’ and cannot control the country as he also ‘did not own the situation’.
Yevgeny Pregozhin is well-known also as the owner of the private security Wagner group that has been in a military mission in Syria and Libya. The Syrian government was under unsurprising critics by the ‘Putin’s chef’ agency which accused Assad’s regime of corruption at the highest levels. Moreover, several reports in Russian newspapers focused on the weakness and corruption of Assad’s family as well. For example, the media has been published a story of buying Assad for his wife a portray at an auction in London that cost $30 million while most of the Syrian people are living in poverty.
The recent scandals about Assad’s family and his wife Asmaa and the media critics can be understood as Russia’s plan, and the Asmaa Al-Assad scandal came after Moscow’s green light. However, the new Russian media attacks on Assad’s regime perhaps addressed several messages that directed to the Assad’s family and regime by Moscow after five years of its military intervention in Syria.
Obviously, the economical tension between the Assad family lead by his wife Asmaa and his cousin Rami Makhlouf was behind the last scandals. The two families are dividing the Syrian economy and cake, and recently the first lady Asmaa Al-Assad had put hands on Makhlouf’s investments such as Bustan Charitable Society, Syriatel and MTN mobile companies. Whereas, Makhlouf’s revenge was through exposing Assad’s luxuries and other investment scandals that published by the Russian media as a political message to Bashar Al-Assad.
Simultaneously, the current visit of Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Damascus has been expressed as political and military support again to the Syrian regime after recent Moscow’s attacks on Assad. However, Iran was not satisfied with the latest agreement on March 5th between Putin-Erdogan regarding the situation in Idlib North Syria, and even Iran had pushed Assad’s forces with mainly Hezbullah and Shia militia to carry out the fight in de-escalation areas.
On the other hand, after Russia-Turkey’s agreement on the 5th of March followed the Sochi agreement, the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu had a short visit to Syria and had a meeting with the president Assad to ensure the implementation of the agreement that has been broken several times. As a result, Russian military success in favor of Assad’s regime has significant progress since the beginning of its military intervention in the Syrian conflict. The Syrian government now controlling more than 70% of the territories while it was about 20% before the Russian intervention in 2015. With the military success, Putin now endeavors to reach a political agreement in favor of its political and economic interests before the start of American sanctions against Assad’s regime.
In July 2020, the US Caesar Act, well-known as the US Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act will begin to take place in Syria against the Assad’s regime and it will affect its supporters such as Russia and Iran. Simultaneously with the global economic crisis due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. That is why Moscow wants very soon to end the violence in Idlib North Syria by the last agreement with Turkey then, it might face the postponed battle with Iran and its huge influence and military presence in Syria.
Consequently, Russia’s intervention since 2015 in the Syrian conflict has to affect Moscow’s economy as well and now after more than nine years of the conflict, Russia wants to ensure their interests by taking a neo-colonial relationship with the Syrian regime. it can be seen, for Kremlin, Syria as a strategic geopolitical country in the Middle East.
By Zara Saleh