Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, the day of romance. Not on the international scene. The two important international meetings held on that very day reflected two worlds apart: the anti-Iran Warsaw meeting in effect “led and co-chaired by the US and Israel” and the Astana format meeting in Sochi. Neither gathering was able to reflect unity among its participants. German and French foreign ministers and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini did not attend the former and differences remained in the latter.
President Trump did not go the Warsaw, but his representatives did their best to project his worldview. In his defiant 24-minute address to the “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East” Vice President Pence mentioned him 20 times. Okumaya devam et →
Despite growing evidence of a build-up of military personnel and equipment around Latakia the scale of Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict caught the West by surprise. Many analysts tend to see it as a new assertiveness on the part of Russia; President Putin flexing muscles, displaying power; Moscow striving to restore lost role in the Middle East; Russia trying to teach Americans a lesson. Some believe that the intervention aims at propping up the regime and if Putin had been eager for peace he would have exerted pressure on President Assad before the outbreak of full scale civil war. Others say this is an attempt to deflect attention from the Ukraine conflict and a mismanaged economy. A few want a robust reaction from the US and say that NATO being tested by Russia. Assad’s visit to Moscow will probably reinforce these assessments. There may be some truth in all that. But, a little more needs to be said to complete the picture. Okumaya devam et →
Russia’s airstrikes in Syria, particularly the targets chosen, have added further confusion to an already complicated picture.
Since March this year, with the Islamic State (ISIL) controlling half of Syrian territory and the “Army of Conquest” consolidating its gains in the Idlib province and getting closer to Latakia, the Assad regime appeared to be on the retreat. The “Army of Conquest” is a coalition of groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and a few others. Reportedly, the Army of Conquest cooperates with some moderate rebel groups and is supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Ankara strongly denies such support.
On 12 May 2015, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and US Secretary of State Kerry held a joint press conference in Sochi. While expressing his views on Syria Mr. Lavrov said that he and Mr. Kerry “agreed that ISIL’s activities, as well as the activities of Jabhat al-Nusra are very dangerous…”
I constantly stress the need for US-Russia cooperation in finding solutions to international conflicts, particularly those in the broad Middle East. I mention compartmentalization as a way out in the absence of a wide convergence of views. I concluded a spot in early June by saying that, “U.S. and Russia need to look at the feasibility of an Obama-Putin summit. The UN General Assembly meeting in September may provide a good opportunity.” (1) It appears that there is now some groundwork in this direction including the military-to-military US-Russia talks on Syria.
To find a reasonable way to end the Syrian conflict one may look at what has been said by people who could make a difference:Okumaya devam et →