..., building upon repeated declarations by the Iranian leaders that they do not want to leave the JCPOA and no less frequently repeated declarations by president Trump that he is ready to discuss around a table with Iranian leaders.
Second, Europe and Russia should try to overcome their differing viewpoints on the Iranian military presence, and more general engagement, in Syria
. Perhaps a practical way forward could consist of distinguishing the long-term perspective from the short-term challenges. Regarding the long term, it’s not too early for Russia and Europe to start discussing foreign military presences in Syria ...
... stay then out of all the Syrian border-zone to Turkey and also stay out of Kurdish areas. In northern and eastern Syria Arabs, Kurds, and Turkey might then “negotiate” their own balance (maybe fighting bitterly).
If ISIS should rise anywhere in Syria again, Russia would offer the supply of air power to any party fighting ISIS—be as it may, Kurds, west-supported rebels, Iran, whomever - but nothing more than air power.
Bottom line would be, that the whole area south of Homs (including Damascus) all the way down to Golan, with such a Russian strategy, would be “free-for-all”. Between Golan and up to the south of Homs,...
... Now it is necessary for everything there to stabilize. Judging by conversations with Syrians, at least half of the population would vote for Bashar al-Assad if an election... ... it is necessary to come to terms either way – I’m hoping this can be done with Russia’s mediation. I don’t believe in US mediation because the memories are too... ... attitude to the former Libyan regime.
Third, it is necessary to avoid a conflict with Iran as far as this is possible. Israel’s stubborn attempts to mobilize the West,...
... summit, the upcoming March municipal elections in Turkey were likely taken into account. Assad's offensive in Idlib can undermine the rating of the Justice and Development Party.
Increasing understanding of the real danger and the likelihood of the Russian-Iranian-Syrian campaign formation and solidification, may soon lead Turkey to acknowledge that it is better to be a part of this operation rather than retaining a passive observer status. On the way to Turkey, from the board of his plane, Erdogan admitted a joint ...
... point is Horas ad-Deen, a group of radical zealots who had split from HTS but later rejoined it.
Second, failure to implement the Sochi agreement is increasing the legitimacy of the ongoing military operation against terrorists in Idlib. Supported by Russia and Iran, the Syrian government forces feel free to conduct this operation in the province that is essentially controlled by terrorists. On the other hand, Russia and Turkey can fight foreign terrorist fighters and radical groups in Idlib, while also coordinating a ...
... of regional actors, Moscow counted on the major comparative advantage that distinguished Russia from other main out of area powers involved in Middle East crises — it enjoyed good relations with practically all local players — Sunnis and Shias, Iran and Arab states of the Gulf, Israelis and Palestinians, Turks and Kurds, and so on. The Russian regional activism was also inadvertently encouraged by the US Trump Administration that could not decide on its approach to either Syria or to the regional at large. The launch of the Astana process in the very end of 2016, turned out to be a significant political victory for Moscow. Throughout 2017 Russia was consistently trying to capitalize on this initial success by broadening ...
... very beginning, deployment of the Russian military was a double-edge sword.
On the one hand, Kremlin’s decision to deploy its air and special forces to Syria in fall of 2015 was a result of an agreement with Damascus and Tehran aiming at preventing Syria from collapse. Russia’s air cover without Iranian forces on the ground would be meaningless, so it was mutually beneficial division of labor which worked out quite successfully for its purposes.
On the other hand, Russia’s military deployment to Syria sent a signal to Israel and the West that ...
... little help as a partner in light of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Instead, Russia decided to rely on those regional powers which had actual influence on the situation in Syria. This led, in late 2016, to the proposal of the Astana format of Syrian negotiations, with Russia, Turkey and Iran acting as guarantors. The process began at the same time that Aleppo returned to the full control of the Syrian government forces. Given these developments in the Middle East, at the theoretical level, Russian researchers concluded that with the ...
... This much was evident at the summit on Syrian settlement between Russia, Turkey and Iran held in Tehran. On the one hand, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have successfully staved off the planned massive offensive in Idlib by the Syrian Army with support from Russia and Iran. On the other hand, Ankara has finally put Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. Al-Qaeda) on the list of terrorist organizations, something that it was unwilling to do before. To all appearances, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s dominance ...
... and are supplied both to major regional players and to Russia’s less influential partners. Moscow has been involved in the exploitation of large hydrocarbon deposits and the construction of the related infrastructure in Egypt [
], Turkey [
], Syria [
], Iraq [
], and Iran [
] since late 2015. What is more, Russia works with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to stabilise oil prices [
China has become the largest investor in the Middle East, surpassing the United States [
]. At present, Middle Eastern countries continue ...