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Road to Damascus

July 17, 2013, 11:35 UTC+3

The complexity of what is going on in Syria becomes even more evident

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Russia’s cultural studies expert Viktor Osipov focuses on protection of western values in Syria’s conflict.

In his Izvestia article Osipov wrote about two approaches to what is going on in Syria - people rebel against the tyrannical regime within the trends of the Arab Spring or extremists and terrorists try to overthrow the lawful authorities.

“The complexity of what is going on becomes even more evident and makes even western leaders, who calmly and in a businesslike manner did away with Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, stop undecidedly,” Osipov wrote.

“A large-scale religious war is underway in Syria,” the expert noted.

The so-called Syrian opposition has already stopped concealing its goals - to build a Sunni state, where Sunnis will create not simply a majority, but will remain alone and will live by their laws.

“For this reason Sunni extremists from all over the world, including those from Russia, gather so actively under the banners of the fight against the tyrant. For this reason influential Sunni cleric Al-Qaradawi called on all those Sunnis capable of carrying arms to fight the al-Assad regime,” Osipov wrote.

“Those most restless bearded men, who could have exploded themselves in Washington or London or fought the NATO troops in Afghanistan, are now fighting other Muslims - Shiites, hoping (under the banners of protection of freedom) to profit once again by the West’s diversified support - material, financial and ideological,” he wrote. “Whatever assessments are given to the al-Assad regime, under his rule Syria did not look like ‘the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ ruled by the Taliban movement.”

“The paradox of the situation in Syria is that Bashar al-Assad’s troops are now fighting in the forefront protecting the West’s most important values - religious and civil tolerance as well as a secular state. Strange incomprehension of all this by the West makes this battle inspiring Shakespeare’s tragedy,” the culture studies expert wrote.

“Russia itself is a multi-confessional country, where Christians, Jews, Shiites and Sunnis, Buddhists have been living peacefully side by side for centuries. Today support for the al-Assad regime is not simply the support for the lawful authorities in the situation that painfully reminds of the Chechen events in the 1990s. This is also the support for religious diversity and religious tolerance against fanaticism and obscurantism,” Osipov highlighted.

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