The head of the State Department, Rex Tillerson, delivered a keynote speech on Syria: Bashar Assad must leave, European allies are forbidden to help restore the war-ravaged country. At the same time, the USA reserves the right to maintain a military presence in Syria even after the defeat of the IG * - now they have a different goal.
The United States, the European Union countries, as well as their "regional partners" do not become involved in efforts to reconstruct Syria's areas controlled by President Bashar Assad. This was assured by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in his keynote speech at Stanford University.
According to American estimates, the "Assad regime" allegedly controls only about 50% of the territory of Syria. This estimate suggests that Washington either does not own the situation, or ignore the facts: by the end of 2017, the territory liberated by the Syrian army with the help of Russian military aircraft has amounted to more than 90 percent of the country's territory. If we start from Tillerson's words, then, in fact, the United States refuses to help all of Syria. Recall that Russia, by contrast, last week called on the EU countries not just to provide Syria with humanitarian aid, but also to make a "more substantial" contribution (The Financial Times then interpreted it as "Russia is forcing the EU to pay for the restoration of Syria").
On behalf of the US allies in September last year, Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson expressed his opinion that the so-called Group of Friends of Syria (which includes the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and a number of "regional partners" - Middle Eastern countries) participate in the reconstruction of the country, while Assad remains in power.
Secretary of State Tillerson stressed in his speech that he intends to dissuade other states from any economic ties with Damascus. Such a state of things should remain until Assad's removal from power "through a process under the auspices of the UN" - and this, according to Tillerson, is a condition of peace for Syria. And only after that, "the US will be happy to insist on normalization of economic relations between Syria and other states."
At the same time, Tillerson called on Russia to increase pressure on the "Assad regime" so that he "constructively participated in the Geneva process" and "take a credible approach to participate in the efforts of the UN." "The Assad regime is clearly looking at Russia as a guarantor of its security, therefore, Russia has a significant role to play in persuading," the head of the State Department said.
The US does not want to repeat Obama's mistakes
The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to Tillerson's speech, called the US military presence illegitimate and aimed at defending the "Islamic state." But the absence of legitimate grounds for the presence in Syria, as before, does not bother Washington. Moreover, the US military will no longer need an excuse in the form of "fighting the IG *" - this is directly implied by Tillerson's words.
IG is already "one foot in the grave" thanks to the efforts of the United States, declared the Secretary of State (apparently "forgetting" about the role in the fight against terrorists played by the Syrian army and the Russian military services). But most importantly -
the US troops will remain in Syria after the IG's defeat, to ensure that neither Iran nor Assad troops capture areas "that were recently liberated with the assistance of the United States."
Thus, the administration of Donald Trump wants to avoid the mistakes of Barack Obama, who withdrew troops from Iraq before the "threat of extremism" was neutralized, Tillerson explained. Another Secretary of Obama's mistake was that the situation in Libya was not "stabilized" after NATO attacks and the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. "We will not allow history to repeat itself in Syria," Tillerson quoted The New York Times as saying. This is the first statement by a high-ranking representative of the US administration that the US intends to stay, states the New York Times.
Iran in the speech of Tillerson was mentioned for a reason. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, the United States is "shifting the focus" of its actions in Syria with the announced fight against the IG to oppose Iranian influence in this country. "Iran has significantly strengthened its presence - the forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Lebanese Hezbollah are deployed, Iranian supporters from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries are being transferred," Tillerson said. Obviously, in response to such an amplification, the Americans equip their own "proxy" grouping - the 30-thousand Kurdish-Arab "border defense army", based on the US-backed Syrian Kurdistan, also the Federation of Northern Syria. This initiative, we recall, was received with hostility not only in Tehran and Damascus, but also in Ankara.
Europeans are not happy with the "request to hold a candle"
As mentioned above, all these far from unambiguous projects are invited to join the European allies of the US - at least in the form of support for refusing to restore "territories controlled by the Assad regime." "350 billion dollars is estimated damage caused to Syria, previously referred to as the figure of 200 billion. Americans, Europeans and Saudis say that this money in the territory under the control of Bashar Assad will not go. The money will go to the territory of the "Federation of Northern Syria", said Semyon Bagdasarov, director of the Middle East and Central Asia Study Center, in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD.
It is clear that Boris Johnson, as the representative of the country - the closest US ally, assured that "friends of Syria" will not participate in its restoration. But there are serious doubts that the representatives of continental Europe are ready to follow Washington in all of its Syrian undertakings.
For example, France is by no means interested in following the example of the US to quarrel with Turkey, given the meeting of Emmanuel Macron with Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was called a breakthrough the other day. Yes, and the restoration of Syria in Paris is called one of the main directions of Macron's actions.
"It is interesting how France will look at the ban on participating in the restoration of Syria - its former colony," -
remarked in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD German political scientist Alexander Rahr. France has "more opportunities to intervene in this region" than Germany. In Germany, there is no government, so the country does not have an active foreign policy, Rar reminded. But Berlin is vitally interested in rebuilding Syria, at least for the sake of reversing the flow of refugees from the country destroyed by the 7-year war (according to various sources, in Germany now from half a million to 900 thousand Syrians). In June last year, the head of the German Defense Ministry, Ursula von der Leyen, announced a new project - the training of migrants "specialties for the restoration of Syria." But if the country is not restored, it is obvious that newly trained specialists will slow down with their return to their homeland.
For the US, the demand for the departure of Assad is "not a mistake, but a sacred doctrine," notes Alexander Rahr. He added that the Americans, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, "sighed with the investment" and decided that from now on only they will be masters in the Middle East, when Russia suddenly appeared again.
And now there is "an attempt to demonstrate power - the Americans want to build a world order themselves and, perhaps, ask Europeans to" hold a candle "there.
But trying to make "hold the candle" looks like Washington's miss this time. "American diplomacy, in my opinion, has recently made all of the blunders," Sergey Karaganov, the dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the Higher School of Economics, commented to the newspaper VZGLYAD. - Its main problem is that they have turned everywhere into a spoiler, a player who is on the defensive and continuously only spoiling the game. Naturally, this title harms her and others. "