No wonder that opposition against the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is growing, both in Russia and internationally. The former third rate KGB agent has more blood on his hands than most of his contemporary "colleagues":
No one knows exactly how many people have already died. The UN estimated 5,400 in December, then stopped counting as the fighting intensified. Thousands more have been beaten, tortured and jailed. I heard the horror stories myself, visiting Syria a few weeks into the uprising.That December death toll had doubled since early October, when Russia and China first vetoed a UN resolution threatening sanctions against the regime. On Saturday, these two autocracies – both wary of foreign intervention given their own problems with restless minorities – combined forces again to prevent a watered-down resolution being passed.
In actual fact, opposition was led by Russia.
But although the former KGB comrades running the country have good cause to worry about their own protest movement, their support for al-Assad is far more cynical.
Syria is the biggest importer of Russian weapons in the Middle East – so the odds are that bullets aimed at the heads of children and shells setting houses aflame in Homs are Russian-made. It takes an incredible 10 per cent of Russia’s global arm sales.
Just last month, a Russian cargo ship laden with ammunition arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus, while the two nations signed a £420million deal for military aircraft. Russia has refused to bend to diplomatic pressure to stop fuelling the violence and volatility. Little wonder its flag has been burned in cities at the centre of the uprising.
Additionally, as Russian oil revenues dwindle it has spent heavily in Syria, drilling wells and building a gas processing plant – investments valued at £15billion. When I visited Syria, I was told there were also Russian computer experts helping hunt online opposition activists.
Read the entire Daily Mail article here
David Hearst, writing in the Guardian, thinks that Putin has completely misread the situation:
Not for the first time Putin's political antennae are failing him. If he calls the white ribbons Russian protesters were wearing "condoms" and if he continues to believe that the extraordinary domestic protest he is facing has all been staged by the US state department, there is little chance of him seeing the turmoil in Syria differently. Putin's deadly enemy is the isolation in which he lives.
It is time for Obama to reset the reset.