The Foreign Ministers of Russia, Iran, and Turkey met today in Moscow for high-profile talks on ending the Syrian Civil War, with the three nations seeking to negotiate a ceasefire that would cover much of the country, and for which they would be the guarantors.
The United States was conspicuously absent from the talks, a big change from the previous efforts on Syria, which were almost exclusively bilateral talks between US and Russian officials, and which usually ended with the US angrily condemning Russia for something or other.
Instead, Turkey is taking America’s place as the pro-rebel faction in the talks, and they may well prove more influential because of their heavy direct military involvement in northern Syria, with a coalition of rebel allies. Perhaps most importantly, Turkey isn’t demanding immediate regime change as a precondition.
While the US pushing for regime change tended to derail efforts to get peace talks started, it’s not clear how well the Turkey-backed rebels will take the efforts to get peace talks without those per-conditions, or if they’ll agree to participate at all.
2 thoughts on “Russia, Iran, and Turkey Meet, Agree to Push Syria Peace Talks”
There are many differences between US approach and Turkey-Iran-Russia apptoach. The agreement among them clearly has spelled out the difference between “good” and “bad” groups. This has been happening already through reconciliation agreement. Over 1,000 hsve neen signed. These groups consits of people that were not any opposition but have been forced to work for either Al-Nusra, ISIS or their associated groups. Once those groups started to lose, and eithef withdrew or were defeated — people who were made fight for them did not want to withdraw with them of to be dvscuated to Idlib.
They wanted to stay home, but had to sign essentially amnesty agreement in the form of community reconciliation. The animosity was created and needed to be overcome to accept them back into community.
Russia is running reconciliation centers to support these efforts. Thus far they were very successful. It is hard to understand this fully but it may be true that these militants were forced into fighting under duress.
Turkey will give protection to elements of Free Syrian Army on its border. But all others that are proven Al-Nusra, its affilliates and ISIS — can be attacked by all three countries. This will for the first time make Turkey officially accepted by Damascus. All three agree on Syrian territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Keeping in mind that the bulk of militants is now in either Idlib or Raqqa province. The reality is that in Idlib, Turkey will have a real tough job. But it is also true that with Al-Nusra being dominant — other groups will have yo PROVE .that they are NOT affiliated by signing ceasefire — or they can be treated as Al-Nusra. And all three countries can fight against it.
It is very true that the idea is to have a cesse fire in the whole country — and it will take a while to get to the political dialogue. It be held in Astana, Kazakhstan. But the longer the process lasts, it wil favor Damascus. With Turkey taking a lead in Idib amd along the border, Iran and Russia can help in securing Aleppo, or breaking ISIS seige of Deir Azzor
The Kurdish question remains — but with all parties being against new nation building — US may have hard time keeping Kurdse motivated to take on Raqqa. We will have to stay tuned until new administration takes over and asseses the current plan to allow only Kurds to be the ground force to eliminate ISIS from Raqqa region. With more ISIS coming from Iraq — this may be a recepie for a disaster.
Iran is part of the consultations. PE Trump has not tweeted anything either pro or con. Has he changed his policy on Iran hence will he leave the nuclear agreement in place as is and no new economic boycotts? That would be good for the people of Syria. And Iran. And us. Why stoke useless fires?
That entire region from Morocco to China needs a big and long absence of outside interference and I count Israel as an outsider. That region needs to find more internal balance and its rightful place as a major economic, political, social, and cultural force in the world which it once was. Often.
With regards to Israel I expect the Trump policy to be roughly as follows. I will not stop you if you annex the West Bank. I will not allow you to dictate or try to torque my foreign policy anywhere. No anti-Trump speeches in our Congress by Netanyahu. Has Trump praised Netanyahu? Yes, but one must remember that in almost a single sentence he declared Mexicans to be rapists followed by “I love Mexicans”. His praise of Netanyahu means nothing.
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