Syria - Some Preliminary
Positioning For An Endgame
- When the Russian campaign in Syria started Obama
promised that it would end in a quagmire.
Various media and opinion writer
up that narrative. It was false as Russia was
and is executing a
well thought out campaign.
confronted with reality the U.S. media is now
changing its false narrative. The LA Times
Latakia attack mirrors similar government gains
across the country, as forces loyal to President
Bashar Assad, backed by Russian air power, have
been on the offensive.
It's a dramatic shift for the forces of
Assad, who less than six months ago had
warned supporters that the government would have
to "give up areas" after a string of humiliating
The gains have
strengthened the government's position in the
run-up to Syrian peace negotiations scheduled to
begin next week in Geneva.
administration and its anti-Syrian allies had hoped
for a defeated Syrian government in Geneva that
would agree to their capitulation conditions. They
now have to change the narrative. Peace talks in
Geneva, they now argue, can not take place
because the Syrian government is winning.
Headlines the Washington Post -
Russian airstrikes are working in Syria — enough to
put peace talks in doubt:
months of relentless airstrikes that have mostly
targeted the Western-backed opposition to
Assad’s rule, they have proved sufficient to
push beyond doubt any likelihood that
Assad will be removed from power by the
nearly five-year-old revolt against his rule.
The gains on the ground are also calling into
question whether there can be meaningful
negotiations to end a conflict Assad and his
allies now seem convinced they can win.
“The situation on the ground in
Syria is definitely not conducive to
negotiations right now,”
said Lina Khatib of the Paris-based Arab Reform
Initiative think tank.
Arab Reform Initiative is a bastard
child of the U.S./Middle East Project, Inc.
various Middle East dictatorships. The Middle
East Project was
Henry Siegman, a former National Director of the
American Jewish Congress and has various hawkish
U.S. politicians like Scowcroft and Brzezinski as
its senior advisers.
view the Syrian government has to be regime changed
and can not be allowed to win. Negotiations will
have to be put off until the government is likely to
fall. Thus the U.S./Saudi/Turkish controlled
"opposition" of militant Islamists wants to
exclude the Kurds and non-militant opposition
from any negotiations and sets additional conditions
that make negotiations impossible. They practically
demand that Russia and Syria declare and keep a
one-sided ceasefire before any ceasefire
negotiations can happen.
meantime various parties are positioning themselves
for the larger endgame. The Kurds in Syria want a
corridor along the Turkish Syrian border to connect
their areas in the east with the Kurdish enclave in
the west. They are fighting against The U.S.
supported gangs north-west of Aleppo with Russian
support and with Russian and U.S. support against
Islamic State gangs north-east of Aleppo. The U.S.
is invading Syrian ground and
building an airport in the Kurdish areas in east
Syria. This probably to later support and guarantee
an oil-rich Kurdish state:
airport, known as “Abu Hajar”, lies southeast of
the town of Remelan, site of one of
Syria’s largest oilfields, run by the
Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which sells
its production through Iraqi Kurdistan.
Russians may counter that move with
their own airport in the area.
which buys most of the Kurdish oil and just again
made friend with Turkey, is now
officially calling for an independent Kurdish
state. The Turks will not like that at all.
wants to prevent a Kurdish corridor along its
border. It has instigated the "Turkmen" insurgents
in Syria under its control to attack the Islamic
State from their Aleppo-Avaz-Turkey corridor towards
the east right along the border fence where Turkey
can provide artillery support. That campaign stalled
after a few days and several captured towns are now
back in the hands of the Islamic State. New Turkish
equipment and soldiers arrived on the Turkish border
near the Jarablus border crossing which is currently
in the hand of the Islamic State. It is the Islamic
State's only open crossing to a somewhat friendly
state. Should the Kurds come near to that crossing
Turkey is likely to invade Syria to set up a wider
buffer against the Syrian Kurds.
In Iraq the
Turks continue to occupy bases in Iraqi Kurdistan
under the protection of the Iraqi-Kurdish mafia boss
Barzani. This despite threats from the Iraqi
government. But that government is now again
controlled by the U.S. The Iranian influence had
waned after clashes between the Iranian General
Suleiman and the U.S. installed Prime Minister Abadi:
in the office of the Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi
said, “The United States delay of its support to
Baghdad was not a coincidence or an
unintentional lazy reaction. It was a strategic
decision to: Teach Iraq a lesson for rejecting
U.S military bases; To observe the Iranian
military capability and inability of Tehran to
use air power and intelligence gathering to
defeat ISIS; To submit Baghdad to its will and
dictate its conditions”.
U.S. used the ISIS phenomenon to again achieve
regime change and U.S. control in Iraq was confirmed
by Obama in an
interview with Thomas Friedman:
reason, the president added, “that we did not
just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all
across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because
that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime
Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki. ...
those U.S. games are just short term thinking. The
Kurdish areas in Iraq and Syria are landlocked and
none of their direct neighbors has interest in a
Kurdish state. After his mandate ran out and was not
renewed by the parliament Barzani's presidency in
Iraqi Kurdistan is illegitimate. The next ruler in
the Kurdish areas in Iraq is likely to be less
friendly with Turkey and the U.S. In Iraq the
influence of Iran with the people will always be
bigger than U.S. influence with parts of the
elite. In Syria it is Russia that will dictate
how the future of the state will look.
In the long
run the U.S. has little chance to keep its currently
regained dominant position. Obama is repeating his
predecessors mistake of believing that U.S. meddling
in the arena can be successful and continue forever.
State is receding. It recently had to cut its wages
by half. It is under continues bombing and has to
fight ever bigger battles with ever higher losses.
The population in the areas it holds is not happy.
It will soon again revert to a guerrilla movement of
underground terrorist cells. Then other interests of
the various actors will again come to the fore, the
U.S. will no longer be needed and again be dispelled
from the theater. Then the U.S. will again wonder
why it did not learn from the earlier lesson.