MOSCOW, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Some Western countries intend to form a "coalition of the willing" instead of directly intervening in the Syria crisis, a Russian expert has said.
Some Western nations, including the United States, seem to "search, organize and set up" a great coalition of the willing, Vladimir Sotnikov, a senior research fellow with the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The coalition, with the participation of NATO and some Arab countries, would support directly and indirectly the opposition forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, but was unlikely to involve directly in the military conflict, Sotnikov said.
The recognition of "the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces" as legitimate representative of the Syrian people by many countries and organizations is a strong signal that some major outside players show their political support to the opposition, despite criticism for failing to have a united vision of solutions to the prolonged crisis.
Meanwhile, military gestures, such as the U.S. aircraft carriers' presence near the Syrian water, the NATO approval of deploying Patriot missile systems in Turkey's border area and its warships' cruises near the Syrian coast "are actually aimed at demonstrating that they are morally supporting the opposition forces," Sotnikov said.
Mindful of the bad image they created in Libya, these Western countries have decide not to repeat that mistake in Syria, he said. That's why they prefer to make efforts from outside instead of inside.
With so many domestic and outside forces involving in the conflict and so many things difficult to handle, Syria is most likely to slip into a civil war, which could not only have grave consequences on its neighbors such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, but also on the entire region, said the expert.
The so-called recognized opposition council will gain ground somewhere in Syria and get Western armaments, he said.
"But that doesn't mean the fighting will be over. The whole story will start all over again. There is a great chance of an even greater civil war in Syria, this time with huge participation of Islamic Jihadists," said the expert.
The United States and its allies might believe they could cope with the issue of the Jihadists forces, a potential major force in any post-Bashar government, but at the end of the day they would find it a huge mistake, Sotnikov said.
In the long haul, religious extremists will gain influence not only in Syria, but in the entire Middle East. "This is very dangerous, and Russia has been constantly warning against the trend," Sotnikov said.