- Trump’s withdrawal plan has paved the way for Syrian President Bashar Assad to consolidate his victory in the brutal seven-year civil war. In the last days of 2018, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain announced that they would reopen their embassies in Damascus, signaling the beginning of the end of Assad’s regional and international isolation. Egypt and the Arab League have made noises to the effect that they might normalize relations with Syria as well.
- Russia and Iran, Assad’s main backers, are some of the biggest winners in Syria. Russia appears to be focused on multi-front diplomacy at the moment in order to rubber-stamp its newly acquired role as the go-to foreign power in Syria: different reports have it seeking to broker a deal between the Kurds and the Syrian regime, to reach an understanding with Turkey, or even to mediate between Iran and its Sunni Arab regional adversaries.
- Different camps have apparently emerged inside the US administration: according to a report in Al-Monitor, one is headed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who insists on a swift departure of US troops, and another is headed by Bolton, who is seeking to draw out and dilute the withdrawal.
.“The real danger of a Syria withdrawal for the Bolton crowd is that it will force the US to reopen relations with the Assad government, especially on counter-terrorism & ISIS,” tweeted Joshua Landis, a prominent Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “It would be final blow to Washington’s anti-Syria & anti-Iran policy. It will be a blow to Israel. For it would mean that the world will slowly accept Iran’s new security architecture for the northern Middle East as the best form of counter-terrorism and security.”Pompeo, on the other hand, reportedly made conciliatory statements on Wednesday, acknowledging Turkey’s concerns about the Kurds.
- Different camps also seemed to be emerging inside Turkey’s military and government. One of Turkey’s most prominent generals, who had been expected to lead an impending Turkish attack on the US-allied Syrian Kurds (something that triggered Trump’s decision to withdraw), was abruptly reassigned on December 31. General Metin Temel reportedly nursed strong suspicions toward the US — and his removal thus appears sharply at odds with the treatment Bolton subsequently received in Ankara.
- Turkish-aligned rebel forces in Syria have meanwhile suffered a series of reverses at the hands of radical jihadists in Idlib province, a separate theater from the Kurdish-occupied northeast where Turkey was preparing to intervene. Ankara now faces pressure to launch an operation there as well — a conundrum that WhoWhatWhy also anticipated.
.We are following the situation closely. Stay tuned. The post Chaotic Haggling Follows Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan appeared first on WhoWhatWhy.
National Security Adviser John Bolton received a cold shoulder in Turkey on Tuesday as he attempted to reduce the impact of President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw from Syria.
The diplomatic confrontation appeared to reinforce old fault lines between NATO’s largest and second-largest armies." data-share-imageurl="" style="position:fixed;top:0px;right:0px;">