Baku. 13 December. REPORT.AZ/ For hundreds years Jerusalem has been not only place of confrontations and conflict of interests, it also reveals the positions and powers of the world. With its role the city fulfills the defining function- litmus of global policy and international relations. Yesterday’s visit of Russian president Vladimir Putin to the two Near East countries and Turkey, the meeting of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with EU officials proves that once again.
In this article we will try to review the withdrawal of additional Russian forces from Syria, Vladimir Putin’s visit to Syria, Egypt and Turkey, military expenses, US policy on Near East, military expenses on region and related issues.
On December 11ç Vladimir Putin paid surprise visit to Syria and visited Russian Airbase in Khmeimim. He was greeted by minister of defense, General of the army Sergey Shoygu, Commander of the Russian grouping of forces in Syria Colonel General Sergey Surovikin, head of Syrian government recognized by UN Bashar Assad. In his meeting with military personnel Vladimir Putin ordered to start withdrawing Russian military units to their permanent bases in Russia.
Of course there can be several reason of this measure. Definitely in the first hand it is related with financial expenses. Because it was previously told that Russia will not be able to keep additional forces in Syria for a long time. If they tried, they could have met the fate of Soviet Union. Because while being under US sanctions, USSR deployed army in Afghanistan and in ten years it experienced the bitter results of that.How much does it cost for Russia operations in Syria? Russian president Vladimir Putin said in the first six months of operations over $ 559 million (33 billion roubles) were spent for military operations. It means over $2 million per day (156 million roubles). As of July, 2017 the expenses of Russia in Syria totaled $1.694 billion. According to the estimate of RBK, Russia has over 50 military planes and helicopters in Latakia airbase. Moreover, 58 combat vehicles are located in the same military base. In general, there are two Russian technical battalions in Syria and each of them consist of 200 persons. The bases in Khmeimim and Tartus are protected by naval forces consisting of 812 and 600 persons each.
The cost of each 26 Caliber rocket launched from the Caspian Sea is $184 million. The launch of each rocket costs $800 million. Therefore, Russians spend on average $ 4 million per day or $ 100 million for 25 days. 71 rockets launched from Syria are estimated to cost Russia from $ 58 to over $ 106 million. It is believed that the Russian military staff in Syria consists of 3000 persons. As of July 18, Russia spent over $63 million for their foods or every day $ 12 (700 roubles) for each military person.
Russia allocated about $ 45.7 billion for military expenses in its state budget of 2017.In 2018 this figure will be $ 46.764 billion (2.77 trillion roubles)US Department of Defense will provide YPG, one of the wings of PKK terrorist group in Syria, weapons, military equipment and vehicles worth $500 million to fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In 2017 Pentagon allocated $ 430 million for this purpose. Pentagon will give $200-$400 salary to each of YPG militants trained by US army. According the Department of Defense, 25,000 US forces stationed in the region which includes Pentagon military personnel and US backed militants. In 2018 it is expected to increase their number by 5000 persons. In general, next year the budget of US Department of Defense will increase by $74 billion as compared with last year and reach $692.1 billion. For financial reason, Russia withdraws additional forces deployed in Syria. Certainly, it also has agitation purpose. Russia also would like to return what it has spent in Iraq and Syria. That is why Russia is willing to reach agreement with Iraq and Bashar Assad government in Syria regarding sales of weapons and oil. In other words, from now on Kremlin may sell weapons to those whom trained in Syria and Iraq.
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Egypt also has nature of military cooperation. There are reports that ISIS terrorists operate in Sinai Peninsula of the country. In this regard Kremlin may offer its support to official Cairo. Because Vladimir Putin visited Egypt the next day after Iraqi government announced victory over ISIS terrorists. At the same time Vladimir Putin held meetings in Egypt as a head of the country that defeated those terrorists. To share this advantage with Turkey and regulate the future activity Vladimir Putin visited Ankara on December 11. On the press conference held with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan V.Putin spoke about discussed issues. The meeting of the presidents lasted one hour. Presidents talked about growth of trade turnover between two countries and stable development of relations. They condemned the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as a capital of Israel adding that the decision will hamper the peaceful talks for solution of the conflict between Palestine and Israel. The meeting that was held ahead of the Summit of Organization of the Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul on December 13, should also be considered as a political message. Because the summit will discuss the US decision on Jerusalem. In fact, Russia recognizes the western part of Jerusalem as a capital of Israel. Moscow has disclosed its attitude to that issue several years ago. The attitude of European Union is also the same.On December 11, Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to meet in Brussels with president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Once he found out that EU won’t change its decision, he cancelled the meeting. He was greeted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. After the meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu she told a briefing:
“He can keep his expectations for others, because from the European Union member states’ side this move will not come,” she said.
It means the parties have disclosed their attitudes on Jerusalem. EU and Russia speak with one once on this question. It is not ruled out that Turkey and other Muslim states will disclose the similar positions. Certainly, there are those who declare that Jerusalem as whole is Palestinian capital and will continue to fight in this direction. To soften the international pressures, USA declared that they will relocate the embassy from Tell Aviv to Jerusalem in two years. Therefore, if
If we were to believe these statements, the territories of Syria and Iraq have been cleaned from ISIS terrorist groups. In reality, the stability was supposed to prevail in the region and refugees returned to their homes and constructions works should have started. However, it is not felt so. The meetings, events, visits, statements and decisions reveal the next targets in Near East.US decision to recognize Jerusalem as a capital of Israel, allocation additional expenses and forces to combat terrorists in Syria and Iraq shows long term US presence in the region.
Iran is one of the countries claiming that Jerusalem belongs to Palestine. It means with its decision US protests against Iran. One of the main reasons US want to remain in the region for a long time is definitely related with Iran which is so far supported by Russia and Turkey. But it is not ruled out that changes will happen in the perspective. Because 2018 and 2019 will be years of presidential elections Russia and Turkey. US plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem in two years. Russian military base in Syria remains, while Iran announced that it will remain in Syria and Iraq. But it is impossible for US to keep forces in the same country with them. Such controversial situation cannot last long. Because previously they all used to fight together against ISIS. Which common position will unify them now?
Therefore, the conclusion from the developments is that ISIS has been defeated in Syria and Iraq while USA became a winner. Because including Russia other countries also spent a lot expenses. These expenses negatively affected the economies of those countries, though they don’t admit it now. The decision on Jerusalem also shows US victory. It also come to meaning that US is capable of doing what it considers beneficial for themselves. To fight against international terrorism there will be probably new place where ISIS may appear. Whose turn is next? On the territory of which state there will be intervention? Which conflict will be resolved unfairly? Jerusalem issue will help to reveal yet many plots. Unlike ISIS, Jerusalem topic is eternal.