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Moscow-Damascus-Tehran chose a long time ago to sustain political absolutism and produce between themselves a medieval spectacle, “Assad OR The Terrorists” AKA “Assad vs The Terrorists”. To get “The Terrorists”, Assad chose to bedevil noncombatants and early FSA, whose officers defected from his own corps, while allowing al-Nusra and others greater space and time — an act of incubation, deselection for combat — to consolidate.

No one likes this story — https://conflict-backchannels.com/2015/10/02/syria-assad-vs-the-terrorists-how-isis-defends-assad/ — because it suggests that Syria has been made into a complete theater of politics and war, courtesy of Putin, Assad, Khamenei, and, led into it by the early easing off, Baghdadi. The display or tableaux moves “the masses”, but it wasn’t necessary but to defend the politics of dictatorships (“different talks — same walk”) — and Syria has been all but destroyed by it.

We know there is such a thing as the medieval world because we look back on it.

The medieval takes up space in the world’s museums.

Is there such a thing as “modern”?

Perhaps time blends ages and experiences.

One may be certain, however, that what Assad has brought about in Syria combines modern aesthetic and social norms — recall that Concert at Palmyra — with a deeply medieval politics, one that feasts on blood and sets the other side up for doing as much.  Driven from the land or killed: noncombatants and perhaps the more modern of revolutionary units.

Posted to YouTube by Al Jazeera English, September 12, 2016.

Posted to YouTube by AFP News Agency, September 12, 2016.

BackChannels feels that Assad flanked by Putin and Khamenei and accompanied in their medieval journey by Baghdadi are “all in” for “absolute power” — “Different talks, same walk” — and none have either “internal brakes” or personal incentives for compromise.  However, external influences, starting with state (or “state”) money and either the want of it or the loss of it, might apply.

Also, for Putin, greater state interests plus, perhaps, interest in his reputation in history, may come to bear — no pun intended — for as the destruction of Syria intensifies and western intervention remains limited, it’s himself as much as Assad, the head of a Russian “client state”, who may in the world’s memory bear the brunt of responsibility for the horror of it.

Additional Reference

CBS/AP.  “Syria cease-fire — Assad’s “last shot” — seems to hold.”  September 13, 2016.