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Russia in Syria: playing at once on several fields

Russia in Syria: playing at once on several fields

Tags: Putin, Rouhani, Erdogan, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Politics, International Relations, Syria, IG, War in the Middle East, Middle East

Will the alliance Russia-Turkey-Iran succeed further?

In Sochi was a meeting Presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran. Yesterday, Russia and Iran announced the victory over IGIL (an organization whose activities are banned in Russia) in Syria. Today, the Syrian army controls more than 85% of the country. A plan was created to expand the southern zone of de-escalation to the Jordanian and Israeli borders. The armed opposition is in complete disarray, and the external opposition is making every effort to unite on the eve of the forthcoming conference in Geneva. Now we need to decide how to proceed, so that in Syria, as the American edition of Politico warns, "the regional struggle for power was not played out."

The period from the beginning of the Astana process to the Russia-Turkey-Iran-Russia summit in Sochi is full of many important events both in Syria and the Middle East, which need independent analysis. We note only the facts of key importance. Moscow, Ankara and Tehran actively joined the Astana process, acted as the main guarantors for establishing a ceasefire in Syria and put forward a project to create four zones of de-escalation. "The creation of de-escalation zones in Syria made it possible to begin for the first time a real, in-depth dialogue with the opposition," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, accepting his Syrian colleague Bashar Aad in Sochi.

At a time when the US television channel CNN was noticing, "a flurry of diplomatic activity was demonstrated by the Russian president, who was in telephone talks with the newly elected US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Erdogan." So along with the formation of the contours of the Russia-Turkey-Iran alliance, a parallel political and diplomatic process was designated that allowed Russia to carry out a maneuvering policy outside the alliance and lay the foundation for a broader agreement on the Syrian settlement. This was the first serious achievement, first of all, of Russian diplomacy, which began to show the ability to play at several venues at once.

Therefore, we can not agree with the opinion of some Western, and Russian experts that "Putin's policy in the Middle East" was squandered "to tactical alliances with Iran and Turkey." Let us note one more important feature of this process. In parallel, the relations of the alliance with the West and the United States worsened. But Russia managed to maintain a dialogue with the United States in the Syrian direction, while Turkey was obsessed with Syria on the Kurds problem, began to complicate relations with its NATO partner on this ground. As for Iran, it was exposed by the United States as its "main target" in politics in the Middle East. Washington did not manage to divide Moscow and Tehran in different directions, although there were significant cracks in the relations between Tehran and Ankara.

At the summit of the Asia-Pacific cooperation in Vietnam, Putin and Trump adopted an important statement containing elements for planning the Syrian future after defeating IGIL (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation). Most of all in this statement, the reference to the Geneva talks, which are held under the leadership of the United Nations, attracts attention. The Russian leader in Tehran held a bilateral meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ruhani, hosted the Turkish President Erdogan in Sochi, and after a nearly four-hour conversation in Sochi with Syrian President Assad, he telephoned President Trump by informing him of the results of the talks. In this regard, Trump said that he had a "wonderful conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin." In addition, the Russian leader talked about Syria with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, with Saudi King Salman, with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and with the Foreign Minister of Qatar.

It was a demonstration that Russia's actions on the Syrian chessboard are still not limited to the format of the alliance with Iran and Turkey. She invites the USA, other Western partners, Israel and some countries of the Middle East, who did not participate in the Sochi summit, to the "game." But this does not mean that they are not included in the Syrian process. Its basic basis - after the defeat of the IGIL (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation), the territorial integrity of Syria must be preserved. The rest will have to be decided at the Geneva talks between the parties to the Syrian conflict, which are to begin on November 18 under the aegis of the UN.

So the summit in Sochi of the heads of Russia, Iran and Turkey, the provisions on the Syrian settlement contained in the joint statement on Syria, have an important but still intermediate meaning. Although a new point of the report appeared in the settlement of the Syrian crisis. The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran Vladimir Putin, Hasan Rukhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed a joint statement on the outcome of the negotiations on the Syrian settlement.

"In our common opinion, the successes on the battlefield, bringing closer the liberation from militants throughout Syria, open up a qualitatively new stage in the settlement of the crisis as a whole, I mean the real prospect of achieving a long-term, comprehensive normalization in Syria, political adjustment in the post-conflict period. This is the focus of the joint statement agreed upon by the results of our talks, "Putin said after a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Iran and Turkey (quoted by RIA Novosti).

The Russian head of state stressed that the guarantor countries Russia, Iran and Turkey continue to work hard to strengthen the ceasefire regime, the sustainable functioning of de-escalation, and the increase of confidence between the parties to the conflict. For these purposes, priority steps are set for intensifying the internal inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of the UN Security Council resolution 2254. At the same time, the Russian president noted with satisfaction that the Presidents of Iran and Turkey supported the initiative to convene a general forum-congress of the national dialogue in Syria.

Stanislav Tarasov
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