[Syria] British aid to Syrian Rebels, Geneva-II conference, India’s StakesDevendra Vishwakarma
- Syrian Crisis: Background
- Main rebels against Prez. Assad
- Why UK stopped giving Aid?
- Why UK resumed giving aid?
- India’s stakes in Syria
- Geneva II conference
Syrian Crisis: Background
- Syrian Civil war has its roots in Arab Spring movement against corrupt/ ineffective regimes.
- Nowadays, it has turned into sectarian war between Shia Prez. Bashar Al Assad (Alawite) vs Sunni Rebels.
- Both sides getting foreign support
|Syrian Govt.||Anti-Syrian Govt (Rebels)|
- 1 lakh+ killed, 20 lakh+ fled the country. Latest reports show traces of Chlorine Gas attack in streets.
- Nobel Peace prize 2014 winner Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has started new investigation.
Main rebels against President Bashar Al-Assad
|mostly ex-soldiers||Affiliated with Al-Qaeda.|
|US, UK etc. support them with non-lethal aid: food, tent, and medicines.||They get funding from Sunni-extremist groups in Middle east. But When they run out of diesel/ammo, they loot the godowns of “secular” rebels. After all they’re “Extremists”!|
Why UK stopped giving Aid?
- USA, UK, France etc. have formed a group “Friends of Syria” (FOS, total 11 nations)
- They help Free Syrian Army (FSA) AND Syrian National Coalition (SNC). Because these rebels are secular / moderate / believe in democracy.
- December 2013: Islamic Front (“non-secular”) looted arms depot of Free Syrian Army (“secular” rebels). They took away 2000 AK rifles, rocket launchers, at least 200 tons of ammunition and 100 military vehicles.
- USA, UK fear their supplies will reach Al-Qaeda, Hence stopped giving aid to Free Syrian army (FSA).
Why UK resumed giving aid?
- 2014: @the recent meeting, (Secular) Syrian rebels requested the FOS to supply weapons to fight against Prez.Basar-al-Assad’s forces, else victory impossible.
- While FOS (Those 11 countries) agreed to help but unlike Salman Khan, none made any “commitment” because they fear weapons may reach Al-Qaeda terrorists. (Same reason why India doesn’t directly give weapons to Afghanistan troops. click me)
- But UK has decided take some measure, especially after reports of Assad’s chemical weapon attacks on Children:
- We’ll resume atleast non-lethal aid to those moderate/secular rebels. (30 million pounds worth)
- We’ll also give “diplomatic mission status” to Syrian National Coalition.
- We’ll send aid to areas where UN cannot reach.
Examples of Non-lethal aid
- Satellite phones
- Pickup trucks, diesel
- Portable generators
- Clothing, ration, tents and Medicine.
USA also planning to do same, send aid via NGOs instead of UN.
India’s stakes in Syria
- Unlike Russia, We don’t have much diaspora or any military base in Syria.
- We hardly import any oil/ gas from Syria
- Assad supports India’s claim for permanent seat @UNSC.
- We’ve have invested millions in Syrian power & steel sector to keep him in good humor.
- Experts believe Rebels will control 2/3rd of Syria’s territory & energy resources- if status quo maintained. Then India can say goodbye to money invested/loaned to Assad.
- As such our stand similar to China: We don’t support military intervention (by UN/USA) in Syria.
- For energy security we want both Iran (Shia) and Saudi Arab (Sunni). Since both are against each other on Syria issue, we have to talk “neutral”.
- We want both Assad and Rebels to renounce violence.
- We Want Peaceful resolution through dialogue, at Geneva-II conference (‘International Conference on Syria’).
Geneva II conference
- UN sponsored
- @ Monteux, Switzerland
- Started from January 2014.
- Aims to bring both Syrian government and rebel forces on negotiation table.
- Overall, their plan is to get Assad resign, setup a “transitional government” with representatives from both sides, and then hold fresh elections. (At least this is USA’s plan, but Russia opposes.)
- India participating but doesn’t articulate a clear stand except the usual “peaceful dialogue between stakeholders”.
- Iran not invited (actually invited then UN withdrew invitation)
Q1. Correct statement(s) related to Shia and Sunni.
- Their main difference is: after the death of Prophet, Shia chose Abu Bakr as the Caliph while Sunni chose Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali as Caliph.
- The Mughal kings were Shia Muslims.
- Both A and B
- Neither A nor B
Q2. Which of the following don’t share border with Syria?
- Saudi Arabia
- only 2 and 4
- only 3 and 4
- only 1, 2 and 4
- only 1, 3 and 4
- Both Wrong.
- Sunni: Prophet’s companion Abu Bakr; Shia = Prophet’s Son in Law Ali.
- Mughals were Sunni Muslims:Two separate google books confirm this. Ref1 and Ref2
- Point is, you’re not required to tick 100/100. So don’t go by gut feeling else dig grave through negative marking.
- B-Iran and Saudi donot share border with Syria.
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