The P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran has raised hopes for new diplomatic efforts across the regions, with the biggest hopes coming in Syria, where the Iran-allied Assad government is seeing some new international interest in engagement toward a transitional pact.
The new interest in Syria is only tangentially related to the Iran deal, of course, with the rise of ISIS, which controls more than half of the country now, leading many nations to believe that a “unity government” against ISIS, giving way to post-war elections, might make more sense than the multi-lateral warfare.
Russia has been pushing this angle for awhile, and the US has led the opposition. Though the US hasn’t gone on record shifting toward Russia, other nations have and recent meetings between Russian and US officials suggest that the Obama Administration may privately be coming around.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin says he believes there is a “high possibility” that the UN Security Council will back a new plan for peace talks by Steffan de Mistura, the first time an “exclusively political document” on Syria will get through without either the US or Russia vetoing it.
Iran is also working on unity government moves, and Oman is seen pushing Saudi Arabia and its allies to come to the table on the matter. That would’ve been unthinkable not so long ago, but it too seems to have a reasonable chance of happening.