Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Syrian Endgame: Why Russian Participation is Essential to End the War in Syria.

August 2016

Natalie Nougayrède's position on Syria is bizarre but revealing. The assumption is that if 'the west' does not 'do' something about Assad and Russia bombing northern Syria and is seen to be tacitly aligned with them, then this would spur on 'radicalisation' in the west. If this is the case, western Europe is in deep trouble.

After all, the very same voices demanding 'liberal intervention' in Syria are also the same ones aligning with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 'open door' policy to migrants/refugees from the very parts of Syria where Sunni Arabs are fleeing not so much from ISIS alone but more from Assad.

If these assumptions hold true and the West is seen to be doing a 'dirty deal' with Assad, it would only be a question of time before a number of Islamist oriented Syrians turn on their host societies in Europe or join with those already 'radicalised' or espousing jihadi ideologies for 'betraying' them through their foreign policy.

Such an assessment would then make 'empathy', and so the acceptance of huge numbers of refugees or migrants, suicidal for Europe if they are, in addition, not successfully integrated quickly-and there is no guarantee of that, not least should the EU economies founder further because of a global economic crisis.

In which case, the best course of action would be that which actually ends the war as quickly as possible. Nougayrède offers nothing practical other than 'we must be seen to be doing something' and maintaining the line 'Assad must go'. But even if Assad were 'to go', the consequence would be that ISIS would be strengthened.

Nougayrède seems to believe that 'virtue signalling' could be effective. All it can do is make the West look even more 'hypocritical' is showing that it 'really cares' while,in practice, the only option is, in fact, to tacitly align with Assad and Russia to finish off ISIS and compel Sunni Arab politicians to accept diplomacy.

The Sunni jihadist groups in Northern Syria are not 'moderate rebels' and there is little chance of creating a Third Force between ISIS and Assad on the battlefield. With Turkey having rejected support for Sunni jihadists in the region, they are finished anyway and successive attempts to create a Third Force have failed.

As the war in Syria potentially reaches its gory endgame around Aleppo, the maintenance of both the Syrian and Iraqi states, bolstered by Russia and the USA respectively, would require a peace-once ISIS ( and the jihadists ) have been defeated-that creates autonomous zones for northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

The Sunni Arabs require this because they would have no reason to trust Assad and the promise of this would provide both a homeland for the refugees to return to. The Sykes-Picot border drawn up between Syria and Iraq in 1916 is effectively finished: accepting this would take the sting out of Sunni resentment.

Before official peace talks come into being, there has already been the danger that the Kurds would unilaterally declare Rojava an independent or autonomous state as it did in March 2016. The US had to criticise this to keep Turkey onside as Erdogan has become increasingly concerned about Kurdish irredentism.

Even so, there is no reason why that could not be dealt with later but only as and when the diplomacy hammers out the peace settlement. Doing so before would fracture Iraq and Syria and encourage no end to the fighting. Such 'moderate' Sunni forces as exist need to be mobilised to fight ISIS and assert control over Sunni territories.

Nougayrède seems clueless as to basic geopolitical realities and living in a 1990s timewarp like Hillary Clinton ). Russian participation in this strategy is vital because only Moscow could persuade Tehran to reach a regional peace agreement to end the proxy war and without Russia, Assad may not want to cede control over territory.

By working in strategic partnership with Russia, not only do the Western Powers stand far more chance of ending the war in and over Syria, they would show they respect Russia's international status and this would assist in lessening tensions across the Black Sea in another strategic energy corridor-Ukraine.

But, of course, much Western policy at present is based on virtue signalling and an inability to come to terms with the passing of the US unipolar and hyper power era that briefly existed between the end of the Cold War in 1990 and the onset of the disastrous Iraq War. Even if the neoconservatives are rejected, the arrogance of US 'exceptionalism' has not.

No comments:

Post a Comment