As Russia and China stand steadfastly by their ally Syria in spirit and in more material ways (like Russia supporting them with ammunition) it is important to realize how poisonous their world view actually is. There really is a critical moral distance between the US and Western values and those of the Russians and Chinese, which presume that regime stability at all costs as the absolute pinnacle of a governments’ function.
Here is a great set of satellite photos that show the use of heavy artillery (towed and self-propelled) along with rocket artillery that the Russians provided against civilian targets, basically just regular cities that happen to not be favored by Assad and his cronies in power.
Along with the photos comes some pithy but extremely true commentary about how there is no fair or logical manner to compare the “free Syrian Army” which Assad (and Russia and China) link to “terrorists” and “foreign elements” to those of the regime since Assad chooses to use these massive and powerful weapons against unarmed civilians. Frankly it is mind-boggling that a military, one entrusted to PROTECT its own citizens, would possibly use these horrendously powerful weapons against civilian areas.
Where did the Syrians get the idea to direct the massive firepower of modern artillery against unarmed civilians, who can’t possibly fight back (i.e. they don’t have airplanes or their own artillery for counter battery fire)? I am just speculating, but Russia’s own use of heavy artillery when they completely leveled THEIR OWN CITY of Grozny in Chechnya would be a logical example. This article describes the Soviet experience with Grozny and how eventually they were able to “win” the battle in the third battle for Grozny with the use of heavy artillery and the corresponding high casualty rate for non-combatants (civilians). It should be noted that these tactics would be unthinkable to Western leaders and collateral deaths of civilians are minimized whenever possible.
It is important that young people who read the media understand that these sorts of differences, that by standing steadfast with a brutal thug of an un-elected ruler who uses heavy artillery against his own, unarmed civilians and using their UN veto to ensure that this continues – that is the behavior of the Russians (and by their veto too, the Chinese, although they haven’t done anything like Grozny or Assad’s atrocities in recent years). They are not like us. And a world in which their values play a prominent role wouldn’t be a better world, or an “equivalent” world – it would be a barbaric Hobbsian world of the gangster-state.