When Russia decided to enter the war in Syria in order to control, somehow, the tensions in the Middle East, a mess caused by the post USA-war in Iraq and the West’s hope for “democratization” of the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, has proved to establish its power as a pivotal player in the ongoing region conflicts.
Until this summer,just before the Russian intervention, everything seemed that the Middle East was going to get dominated by a situation living in a chaos; from which an extremist islamic caliphate through a long war of jihadists against necessary democratic human values in Syria and Iraq was going to be established. However, Russia’s presence in Syria (even if they support Assad who is a dictator) has changed this war’s balances.
The United States and its allies foreign policy wanted to attempt an in depth change of the geopolitical & energy geopolitical map in the Middle East, was forced to downgrade its ambitions due to the efficiency of the Russian intervention in the Middle East. Moscow “entered the game” at the best time and showed its power and effectiveness, forcing Washington to rethink its plans for the region.
The starkest example yet of Russian airstrikes aiding the war against US backed rebels in Syria- Sheikh Miskeen https://t.co/XEAJSz2kQa
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) 26 Janvier 2016
Russia, then, started to realize that an attempt was under way by the US and its allies in order to create a new Arab energy corridor to Europe causing a probable economic threat to the Russian interests, which have already been severely hit by Europe’s economic sanctions against Russia, therefore while facing the Ukrainian problem Russia did not hesitate at the same time to undertake actions in Syria and to deploy its military power with coordinated actions with Syria’s and Iraq’s respective governments as the creation of a ‘joint information center’ to coordinate anti-ISIS operations (and against the Syrian opposition).
This constant and successful military operation had as an effect of weakening ISIS force . ISIS jihadists started to getting tired from the constant fight , together with the ageing of the military equipment they use while the Russian bombings targeted with effectiveness their positions, created a sensation that not only they have been defeated but also an absolute panic feeling in their ranks.
This feeling had as a result of continuing terrorist defections , even some jihadists were disguised as women while they were attempting to flee to neighboring Turkey and in many cases the jihadists surrended to their opponents hoping to qualify for a better treatment by them.
Now, ISIS leadership understood that not even Captagon given to their «terrorist» was able to stop the US-led coalition helped with the new “Russian threat” and therefore it didn’t hesitate to proceed with mass executions of defectors or to use childrenas fighters and suicide bombers.
Due to the increasingly successful destruction of the various terrorist organizations operating in Syria that are supported by the United States and the Persian Gulf monarchies, Washington has begun to pursue a new strategy. On the one hand, the Russian Air Force and the Syrian Arab Army have contributed greatly to military successes against the terrorists. On the other hand, they have continued to categorically reject any participation of the pro-American terrorist organizations operating in northern Syria and at the borders of Turkey and Iraq (al-Nusra, Jaish al-Fatah, Islamic Front, Free Syrian Army, etc.) in the negotiation process. Since the Russian Air Force has mainly bombed areas controlled by these organizations rather than those controlled by the Islamic State terrorist organization, the West seriously fears that its plans might be blown up in the near future.
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) 25 Janvier 2016
The US’ plans are much wider than mere support for allies. They include a permanent military presence in order to control this strategic center between Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. If US forces secure this foothold, they will be able to continually stimulate long-standing conflict in northern Syria as well as manipulate proxy actors in Turkey and Iraq. In the long-term perspective, this could also affect the creation of an independent Kurdistan.
It is significant to mention that the United States has officially supported the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, supplying weapons to them without worrying about the fact that they could be used in Turkey. In northern Iraq as well, US-backed Turkmen united with Kurdish Peshmerga troops to fight against ISIS. The United States may attempt to build a similar alliance in northern Syria. However, since Turkey is supposed to support Turkmen in Syria and Iraq in accordance with pan-Turkism concept promoted by Ankara, there is the possibility of tensions between Ankara and Washington. In addition, the struggle of the Kurds against the current regime in Turkey could also lead to aggravation over US support for the Kurds.
The UN says 12.2 million people, including more than 5.6 million children, remain in need of humanitarian assitance in Syria. The violence has also displaced 7.6 million people.
What can be done with the new round of peace talks?
There’s a number of things that can be done which would probably prove more effective than airstrikes.
According to BBC, Talks aimed at finding a political solution to the war in Syria are expected to start in Geneva on Friday and last six months, the UN has said.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the United States and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against Islamic State in Syria should the Syrian government and rebels fail to reach a political settlement.
Syrian armed rebel groups said on Saturday they held the Syrian government and Russia responsible for any failure of peace talks to end the country’s civil war, even before negotiations were due to start. Syrian Kurdish officials will not be invited to peace talks in Geneva, where negotiations for the opposition will be led by a Saudi-backed opposition group, France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was essential to invite to the talks the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, the U.S.-backed Kurdish group in Syria that has declared autonomy in the northeastern corner of Syria after pushing Islamic State out of large parts of the region.
But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkey’s NTV television station that Ankara wouldn’t join the talks if Syria’s leading Kurdish group is included.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) 26 Janvier 2016
Diplomats are trying to revive the Syrian peace process based on a 2012 agreement reached in Geneva that calls for negotiations between the regime and the opposition based on mutual consent.
Sources: RT.COM, WSJ.COM, NYTIMES, BBC
Image Source: TWITTER caption
- 2015 U.S. Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment – Clapper Testimony: Islamic State, ISIS, Cyber Threats, Russia, Iran, Terrorism, al-Qaida, North Korea, Syria, National Security Strategy
- Shaping Lebanon’s Borderlands: Armed Militias and International Intervention in South Lebanon (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)