Through their reactive kneejerk policies over the last few years, policies that conform both to their inherent nature and parochial interests, Russia, Iran, the Assad regime, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all other Middle Eastern regimes managed to create a situation in Syria where the United States had no choice but to intervene to midwife a process that will eventually secure the interests of most of these regimes, most of which will survive the current mayhem with little or no change.
Ever since ISIS began making its presence felt on the Syrian scene, I predicted that eventually Obama will choose to intervene in Syria, but only to strike against ISIS. I warned that such a course will antagonize many Sunnis around the world, on account of Obama’s refusal to strike against the Assad regime which has committed much worse atrocities against the Syrian people, especially the Sunni majority. By enlisting the participation of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and even Qatar, Obama seems to think that he can avert giving such an impression. But he is wrong. Participation of the corrupt and authoritarian Sunni governments that have always had strong ties with the U.S. will not alleviate Sunni doubts and anger on the grassroots level, especially among the disaffected, and will probably further fuel it.
It took decades for Palestinian to finally win overt support in some mainstream international media outlets. But, and as is often the case with modern-day Arabs, the victory is Pyrrhic in nature and will not translate into any substantive support for the Palestinians’ goal of establishing their own independent state.
Reducing the current proxy-war situation in Syria to a Saudi-Iranian competition over regional hegemony is a gross oversimplification and overlooks serious involvement by other actors, including Turkey, Qatar, Israel, U.S., France, the U.K. and Russia, to name but the most visible operators. There is much at stake in Syria for many different powers around the world. The Saudi-Iranian proxy-war could not unfold without support, or lack thereof, from these other players.