A haunting image of a Syrian boy covered in dust and blood in the back of an ambulance has captured the world’s attention.
The Syrian government and its Russian ally continue to bomb regions of the country held by rebel groups fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad. But it isn’t a clear-cut fight between a government and its detractors. There are several groups fighting with and against each other, and twisted up in the war are ISIS and other extremely violent terrorist organizations.
Making it all the more complicated are the millions of innocent civilians desperately fleeing the region in an attempt to find peace and prosperity elsewhere.
Aaron Retish, associate professor of history are Wayne State University and an expert on Russia, says the war in Syria has created a complicated political chess board. Saeed Khan, lecturer at WSU with a specialization in Middle East politics and history, agrees.
“I think we have it in three dimensions,” says Khan. “We find that many many moving parts are underway in the Middle East.”
Khan says the war in Iraq in the early 2000s helped to destabilize the region, and created multiple proxy wars. Retish says Russia’s interest would be to create stability in the region, as long as it benefited Russia.
“What [Russia] wants is a stable pro-Russia regime there,” and it’s willing to commit human rights violations to that end, says Retish.
But, he says, Russia’s ambitions are not leaning into a new Soviet era.
“The late-Putin era is really focused on… ultra-nationalism.”
To hear more of the conversation on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.