Will Saudi Arabia be saved and will Turkey fall? هل تنجو السعودية وتقع تركيا؟

مارس 14, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It seemed that since the Turkish positioning after the battle of Aleppo and the launch of Astana path Ankara knew how to play its cards at the appropriate time, how to stop at the expected Russian US intersection, and how to arrange its cards quietly with Russia as an active regional partner, depending on being the traditional ally of America in the NATO. Because the table has one left seat from the opposite bank of Iran in the region, Turkey rushed to the Russian-Turkish-Iranian tripartite meeting and presented it as a new reference for the new Middle East, but when the new US administration stumbled through its proceeding toward Russia, as was suggested by the enthusiasm of the President Donald Trump for the resolving of ISIS. Ankara stopped its movement and positioned at the line of escalation against Iran in order to keep up with the US discourse. Through Geneva Talks it tried to pass the time waiting for the effective US movement according to timing of Washington not the timing of Moscow. As the Turkish acceleration was towards Astana path to get Saudi Arabia out of the parallel seat to Iran, as the coup was on Astana through the visit of the Turkish President to Saudi Arabia to rehabilitate it and to give it its status.

Turkey found itself in a deadlock after the battle of Al –Bab which it waged for its own account and without the knowledge of Moscow and the promised pledges, in an attempt to bypass what is supposed to be done by the Syrian army after the battle of Aleppo, in addition to its coup on Astana path, so the Turks found that the Syrian army is preceding them in Al Bab towards the lines of the deployment of the Kurdish forces and leaving them alone, making a primary barrier between them and the units that belong to the Turks as the militias of the Shield of Euphrates which descendant of Wahhabi origins as branches of Al-Qaeda organization that work under the banner of Ankara, which are not reassured neither by the Russians nor the Americans. The Syrian army blocked the way which was drawn by the Turkish President in order to enter Raqaa across Manbej in front of Turkey as a temptation for the Americans to give him the green light to enter Manbej and getting the Kurds out of it. The Kurds announced their demand of the deployment of units from the Syrian army in many demarcation villages in which the Kurds live. The events occurred quickly and Turkey became in isolation unable to move forward in the battle of Manbej, after Russia and America became on the line directly, and it is unable to participate in the war on ISIS despite its losses when it announced the war on the organization which it sponsored and thinking that it is enough credentials for the Americans to sell it the Kurds. Despite the meeting of the chiefs of staff of America, Russia and Turkey the Turkish discourse is still escalating against the Kurds. Turkey seems on the eve of the visit of its President to Moscow in a state of embarrassment and in front of difficult choices.

In coincidence with the Turkish confusion, Saudi Arabia succeeds in recapturing its status at the Americans contrary to the Presidential speech during the elections. The new administration seems that it handed over the regional policies to the tripartite; the Pentagon, CIA, and the diplomacy which the Saudis have considerations and effects on them. Saudi Arabia has surpassed through surprising indicators the escalated relationship with Iran which is still in its beginning, but it is meaningful. In conjunction with the announcement of the return of the peaceful endeavors to solve the crisis in Yemen, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jayad Zarif visits Doha announcing a successful visit for the sake of Iranian-Gulf dialogue, and the Advisor of the Foreign Ministry Hussein Sheikh Al Islam who is closer to the decision –makers announced his optimism regarding the results of the talks of Iran’s resumption of its participation in the next pilgrimage season.

Will Turkey and Saudi Arabia exchange the seats once again?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

هل تنجو السعودية وتقع تركيا؟

مارس 10, 2017

ناصر قنديل
– منذ التموضع التركي بعد معركة حلب وانطلاق مسار أستانة بدا أن أنقرة عرفت كيف تلعب أوراقها في التوقيت المناسب، وتقف عند التقاطع الروسي الأميركي المتوقع، وترتّب أوراقها بهدوء مع روسيا كشريك إقليمي فاعل، وتنطلق من كونها في الناتو حليفاً تقليدياً لأميركا، ولأن الطاولة تنتظر مقعداً واحداً من الضفة المقابلة لإيران في المنطقة، سارعت تركيا لاجتماع موسكو الثلاثي الروسي التركي الإيراني وتقديمه كمرجعية جديدة للشرق الأوسط الجديد، وعندما تعثرت الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة في تقدمها نحو روسيا كما كانت توحي حماسة الرئيس دونالد ترامب للحسم مع داعش، فرملت أنقرة حركتها وتموضعت على خط التصعيد بوجه إيران لتتماشى مع الخطاب الأميركي وتلاقيه، وسعت في محادثات جنيف لتمرير الوقت بانتظار الحركة الأميركية الفاعلة، وفقاً لتوقيت واشنطن لا توقيت موسكو، وبمثل ما كان الإسراع التركي نحو مسار أستانة إخراجاً للسعودية من مقعد اللاعب الموازي لإيران، كان الانقلاب على أستانة من منبر زيارة الرئيس التركي للسعودية ليردّ لها الاعتبار والمكانة.

– وجدت تركيا نفسها في مأزق كبير بعد معركة الباب التي خاضتها لحسابها ومن وراء ظهر حسابات موسكو والتعهّدات المقطوعة لها، وفي محاولة تجاوز لما يفترض أن يقوم به الجيش السوري هناك بعد حلب، هذا عدا عن انقلابها على مسار أستانة، فاستفاق الأتراك على الجيش السوري يتخطاهم في الباب ويتركهم بداخلها متقدماً نحو خطوط انتشار القوى الكردية، مقيماً حاجزاً أولياً بينهم وبين الوحدات التابعة للأتراك من ميليشات درع الفرات، المتحدّرة من أصول وهابية كتفرعات لتنظيم القاعدة تعمل تحت لواء أنقرة، والتي لا يطمئن لها الروس والأميركيون، وأغلقت على تركيا الطريق عبر منبج التي رسمها الرئيس التركي لدخول الرقة كإغراء للأميركيين لمنحه الضوء الأخضر لدخول منبج وإخراج الأكراد منها، فقد أعلن الأكراد مطالبتهم بنشر وحدات للجيش السوري في عديد من قرى التماس التي يوجد فيها الأكراد، وتدحرجت الأحداث لتجد تركيا أنها في عزلة، عاجزة عن المضي قدماً في معركة منبج وقد صارت روسيا وأميركا على الخط مباشرة، وعاجزة عن المشاركة في الحرب على داعش رغم ما تكبّدته من خسائر بإعلان الحرب على التنظيم الذي رعته وفي ظنّها أنها أوراق اعتماد كافية لدى الأميركيين ليبيعوها رأس الأكراد. ورغم اجتماع رؤساء الأركان الأميركي والروسي والتركي لا يزال الخطاب التركي تصعيدياً ضد الأكراد، وتبدو تركيا عشية زيارة رئيسها إلى موسكو في وضع حرج وأمام خيارات صعبة.

– بالتزامن مع الارتباك التركي تنجح السعودية باسترداد مكانتها عند الأميركيين خلافاً للخطاب الرئاسي خلال الانتخابات. فالإدارة الجديدة تبدو قد سلمت السياسات الإقليمية لثلاثي البنتاغون والـ»سي أي أيه» والدبلوماسية، التي يحتفظ السعوديون بحسابات وتأثيرات فيها وعليها، وتخطّت السعودية بمؤشرات لافتة العلاقة التصعيدية مع إيران التي لا تزال في بداياتها، لكنها ذات معنى. فبالتزامن يعلن عن عودة المساعي السلمية لحل الأزمة في اليمن، ويزور وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف الدوحة معلناً عن زياترة ناجحة لحوار إيراني خليجي إيجابي، ويعلن مستشار وزارة الخارجية حسين شيخ الإسلام القريب من مصادر القرار عن التفاؤل بنتائج مباحثات استئناف إيران مشاركتها في موسم الحج المقبل.

– هل تتبادل تركيا والسعودية المقاعد مجدداً؟

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Assad: US Forces in Syria are ‘Invaders’

Assad: US Forces in Syria are ‘Invaders’

Video and Transcript

“Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one,” Assad said.

“And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.”

March 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –   Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad said that the solution to the crisis in Syria should be through two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria, and the second one is to make dialogue.

The president added in an interview given to Chinese PHOENIX TV that any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one.

Flowing is the full text of the interview:

Question 1:  Thank you Mr. President for having us here in Dimashq, the capital of Syria. I think this is the first interview you have with Chinese media after the national ceasefire and after so many fresh rounds of talks, both in Astana and in Geneva, and of course after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and these days, as we have seen, your troops are making steady progress in battlefields, but peace talks do not seem just as productive. So, as far as the Geneva talks is concerned, your chief negotiator, Mr. Jaafari, was trying hard to find out who should be sitting on the other side of the negotiation table. So, according to your idea, who should be sitting there?

President Assad: This is a very crucial question. If you want those negotiations to be fruitful, we have to ask “who is going to be sitting there?” I mean, there could be a lot of good people with good intentions, but the question is: who do they represent? That’s the question. In this situation, you have different groups, you have people who are, let’s say, patriotic, but they don’t represent anyone, they represent themselves. You have others who represent the terrorists, and you have terrorists on the table, and you have others who represent the agenda of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, like Turkey, like France, UK and maybe the United States. So, it’s not a homogeneous meeting. If you want it to be fruitful, going back to the first point that I mentioned, it should be a real Syrian-Syrian negotiations. In spite of that, we went to that meeting because we think any kind of dialogue could be a good step toward the solution, because even those people who are terrorists or belonging to the terrorists or to other countries, they may change their mind and go back to their normality by going back to being real Syrians, detach themselves from being terrorists or agents to other groups. That’s why I say we didn’t expect Geneva to produce anything, but it’s a step, and it’s going to be a long way, and you may have other rounds, whether in Geneva or in Astana.

Question 2: But anyway, it is an intra-Syrian talks, right? But the matter of fact is, it is proxy dialogue. I mean, main parties do not meet and have dialogue directly.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: Are you personally satisfied with the current negotiation format or mechanism?

President Assad: we didn’t forge this mechanism; it was forged by de Mistura and the UN with the influence of the countries that wanted to use those negotiations in order to make pressure on Syria, not to reach any resolution. As you just said, each one represents a different agenda, even the opposition delegations, it wasn’t one delegation; different delegations of the opposition. So, if I’m going to – as a government – if I’m going to negotiate with someone, who’s it going to be? Which one? Who represents who? That’s our question. So, you are right, this time there was no negotiations in Geneva, but this is one of the reasons, that’s why it didn’t reach anything. The only thing we discussed in Geneva was the agenda, the headlines, what are we going to discuss later, that’s it.

Question 3: But as we see, lot of time, money, energy have been put into this effort, and the clashes are still going on, people are still dying, and the refugees are still increasing.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: What is the possible way of having a negotiation?

President Assad: Again, you are correct. The more delay you have, the more harm and destruction and killing and blood you’ll have within Syria, that’s why we are very eager to achieve a solution, but how and in which way? You need to have two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria. The second one is to make dialogue. This dialogue has many different aspects; you have the political one, which is related to the future of Syria; what political system do you need, what kind? It doesn’t matter which one, it depends on the Syrians, and they’re going to have referendum about what they want. The second part is to try to bring many of those people who were affiliated to the terrorists or who committed any terrorist acts to go back to their normality and lay down their armaments and to live normal life in return for amnesty that has been offered by the government, and we’ve been going in that direction for three years, and it worked very well. It worked very well. So, actually, if you want to talk about the real political solution since the beginning of the crisis, of the war on Syria, till this moment, the only solution was those reconciliations between the government and the different militants in Syria, many of them joined the government now, and they are fighting with the government. Some of them laid down their.

Question 4: But talking about the Syria war, you can never exclude the foreign factors. The Saudi-backed high negotiating committee, HNC, are saying that they are counting on the Trump administration to play a positive role instead of the mistaken policies under his predecessor Barack Obama. So, from your side, what do you expect from Trump’s Middle East policy, particularly policy on Syria?

President Assad: The first part that you mentioned about their hopes, when you pin your hopes on a foreign country, doesn’t matter which foreign country, it means you’re not patriotic, and this is proved, because they should depend on the support of the Syrian people, not any other government or administration.

Now, regarding the Trump administration, during his campaign and after the campaign, the main rhetoric of the Trump administration and the president himself was about the priority of defeating ISIS. I said since the beginning that this is a promising approach to what’s happening in Syria and in Iraq, because we live in the same area and we face the same enemy. We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric, because we’ve been seeing now certain is a local kind of raids. You cannot deal with terrorism on local basis; it should be comprehensive, it cannot be partial or temporary. It cannot be from the air, it should be in cooperation with the troops on the ground, that’s why the Russians succeeded, since they supported the Syrian Army in pushing ISIS to shrink, not to expand as it used to be before that. So, we have hopes that this taking into consideration that talking about ISIS doesn’t mean talking about the whole terrorism; ISIS is one of the products, al-Nusra is another product, you have so many groups in Syria, they are not ISIS, but they are Al Qaeda, they have the same background of the Wahabi extremist ideology.

Question 5: So, Mr. President, you and Mr. Donald Trump actually share the same priority which is counter-terrorism, and both of you hate fake news. Do you see any room for cooperation?

President Assad: Yeah, in theory, yes, but practically, not yet, because there’s no link between Syria and the United States on the formal level. Even their raids against ISIS that I just mentioned, which are only a few raids, happened without the cooperation or the consultation with the Syrian Army or the Syrian government which is illegal as we always say. So, theoretically we share those goals, but particularly, not yet.

Question 6: Do you have personal contact with the President of the United States?

President Assad: Not at all.

Journalist: Direct or indirect.

President Assad: Indirect, you have so many channels, but you cannot bet on private channels. It should be formal, this is where you can talk about a real relation with another government.

Question 7: As we speak, top generals from Turkey, Russia, and the United States are meeting somewhere in Turkey to discuss tensions in northern Syria, where mutually- suspicious forces are allied with these countries.  So, do you have a plan for a final attack on Daesh when the main players actually do need an effective coordination in order to clear Syria of all terror groups?

President Assad: Yeah, if you want to link that meeting with ISIS in particular, it won’t be objective, because at least one party, which is Turkey, has been supporting ISIS till this moment, because Erdogan, the Turkish President, is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s ideologically linked and sympathetic with ISIS and with al-Nusra, and everybody knows about this in our region, and he helped them either through armaments, logistically, through exporting oil. For the other party, which is the United States, at least during Obama’s administration, they dealt with ISIS by overlooking their smuggling the Syrian oil to Turkey, and this is how they can get money in order to recruit terrorists from around the world, and they didn’t try to do anything more than cosmetic against ISIS. The only serious party in that regard is Russia, which is effectively attacking ISIS in cooperation with us. So, the question is: how can they cooperate, and I think the Russians have hope that the two parties join the Russians and the Syrians in their fight against terrorism. So, we have more hopes now regarding the American party because of the new administration, while in Turkey nothing has changed in that regard. ISIS in the north have  only one route of supply, it’s through Turkey, and they’re still alive and they’re still active and they’re still resisting different kinds of waves of attacks, because of the  Turkish support.

Question 8: Now, US troops are in Manbej. Is the greenlight from your side? Did you open the door for these American troops?

President Assad: No, no, we didn’t. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS?  The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.

Question 9: Talking about Russia and China, they just vetoed a new UN sanction on Syria last week. What do these Chinese vetoes mean exactly for your country?

President Assad: Let’s be very clear about their position, which is not to support the Syrian government or the Syrian president, because in the West they try to portray it as a personal problem, and as Russia and China and other countries and Iran support that person as president. It’s not the case. China is a member of the Security Council, and it’s committed to the Charter of the United Nations. In that veto, China has defended first of all the Charter, because the United Nations was created in order to restore stability around the world. Actually, the Western countries, especially the permanent members of the Council as a tool or means in order to change regimes or governments and to  implement their agenda, not to restore stability, and actually to create more instability around the world. So the second part is that China restored stability in the world by creating some kind of political balance within the United Nations, of course in cooperation with Russia, which is very important for the whole world. Of course, Syria was the headline, the main headline, this is good for Syria, but again it’s good for the rest of the world. Third, the same countries that wanted to use the UN Charter for their own vested interested are the same countries who interfered or tried to intervene in your country in the late 90s, and they used different headlines, human rights, and so on, and you know that, and if they had the chance, they would change every government in the world, whether big country or small country, just when this government tries to be a little bit independent. So, China protected the Chinese interests, Syrian interests, and the world interests, especially the small countries or the weak countries.

Question 10: If I’m not mistaken, you said China is going to play a role in the reconstruction of Syria. So, in which areas you think China can contribute to bring Syrian people back to their normal life after so many years of hardships?

President Assad: Actually, if you talk about what the terrorists have been doing the last six years, it’s destroying everything regarding the infrastructure. In spite of that, the Syrian government is still effective, at least by providing the minimum needs for the Syrian people. But they’ve been destroying everything in every sector with no exception. Adding to that, the Western embargo in Syria has prevented Syria from having even the basic needs for the livelihood of any citizen in Syria. So, in which sector? In every sector. I mean, China can be in every sector with no exception, because we have damage in every sector. But if we talk about now, before this comprehensive reconstruction starts, China now is being involved directly in building many projects, mainly industrial projects, in Syria, and we have many Chinese experts now working in Syria in different projects in order to set up those projects. But of course, when you have more stability, the most important thing is building the destroyed suburbs. This is the most important part of the reconstruction. The second one is the infrastructure; the sanitation system, the electricity, the oil fields, everything, with no exception. The third one: the industrial projects, which could belong to the private sector or the public sector in Syria.

Question 11: Alright. And it seems no secret that there are some Chinese extremists are here, fighting alongside Daesh. I think it is a threat to both Syria and China. What concrete or effective measures do you have to control border and prevent these extremists from free movement in the region?

President Assad: When you talk about extremists or terrorists, it doesn’t matter what their nationality is, because they don’t recognize borders, and they don’t belong to a country. The only difference between nationality and nationality, is that those for example who came from your country, they know your country more than the others, so they can do more harm in your country that others, and the same for Syrians, the same for Russian terrorist, and so on. So now, the measures, every terrorist should be defeated and demolished, unless he changed his position to the normal life. Second, because you’re talking about different nationalities -more than 80 nationalities – you should have cooperation with the other governments, especially in the intelligence field, and that’s what’s happening for example with the Chinese intelligence regarding the Uyghur terrorists who are coming from China through Turkey. Unfortunately, the only means that we don’t have now and we don’t control is our borders with Turkey, because the Uyghur  in Particular, they came from Turkey, the others coming maybe from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, form the sea, maybe, and the majority from Turkey, but the Uyghur terrorists coming mainly from Turkey. Why? I don’t know why, but they have the support of the Turkish government, and they were gathered and collected in one group, and they were sent to the northern part of Syria. So, the mission now is to attack them, wherever they existed. Of course, sometimes you cannot tell which one… who is who, they mix with each other, but sometimes they work as separate groups from different nationalities. And this is very crucial kind of cooperation between the Syrian and the Chinese intelligence, and we did many good steps in that regard.

Question 12: Mr. President, as you may be fully aware that the “White Helmets” took an Oscar this year for the best documentary short, but folks are saying that the truth about this “White Helmets” is not like what Netflix has presented, so what is your take on this?

President Assad: First of all, we have to congratulate al-Nusra for having the first Oscar! This is an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar; this is unbelievable, and this is another proof that the Oscars, Nobel, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I can look at it. The White Helmets story is very simple; it is a facelift of al-Nusra Front in Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face, that’s it. And you have many videos on the net and of course images broadcasted by the White Helmets that condemn the White Helmets as a terrorists group, where you can see the same person wearing the white helmet and celebrating over the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. So, that’s what the Oscar went to, to those terrorists. So, it’s a story just to try to prevent the Syrian Army during the liberation of Aleppo from making more pressure on the attacking and liberating the districts within the city that have been occupied by those terrorists, to say that the Syrian Army and the Russians are attacking the civilians and the innocents and the humanitarian people.

Question 13: Right. Now Palmyra. I took a one-day trip to Palmyra this time. Now, the city is under your control, so as its strategic position is concerned, because Homs is the heart of Syria, it’s right in the middle, now, when you have Palmyra, what is your next target? Are you going to expand a military operation into Raqqa and Dier Ezzor?

President Assad: We are very close to Raqqa now. Yesterday, our troops reached the Euphrates River which is very close to Raqqa city, and Raqqa is the stronghold of ISIS today, so it’s going to be a priority for us, but that doesn’t mean the other cities are not priority, in time that could be in parallel, because Palmyra is on the way to Dier Ezzor city in the eastern part of Syria which is close to the Iraqi borders, and those areas that have been used by ISIS as route for logistic support between ISIS in Iraq and ISIS in

Syria. So, whether you attack the stronghold or you attack the route that ISIS uses, it has the same result.

Question 14: How many days do you think this war is going to last?

President Assad: if we presume that you don’t have foreign intervention, it will take a few months. It’s not very complicated internally. The complexity of this war is the foreign intervention. This is the problem. So, in the face of that intervention, the good thing that we gained during the war is the unity of the society. At the very beginning, the vision for many Syrians wasn’t very clear about what’s happening. Many believed the propaganda of the West about the reality, about the real story, that this is against the oppression. If it’s against the oppression, why the people in Saudi Arabia didn’t revolt, for example? So, now what we gained is this, this is our strongest foundation to end that war. We always have hope that this year is going to be the last year. But at the end, this is war and you can’t expect what is going to happen precisely.

Question 15: Mr. President, you are President of the Syrian Republic, at the same time, you are a loving husband and a father of three. How can you balance the role of being a President, a father, and a husband?

President Assad: If you cannot succeed in your small duty which is your family, you cannot succeed in your bigger duty or more comprehensive duty at the level of a country. So, there is no excuse that if you have a lot of work to abandon your duties; it’s a duty. You have to be very clear about that, you have to fulfill those duties in a very good way. Of course, sometimes those circumstances do not allow you to do whatever you have to do, your duties, fully, let’s say.

Journalist: During a day, how much time you spend on work, and how much time you spend with your family members?

President Assad: Actually, it’s not about the time, because even if you are at your home, you have to work.

Journalist: Okay.

President Assad: Let’s say, in the morning and the evening, you have the chance, but in between and after those times, you have the whole day to work.

Question 16: Have you ever thought of leaving this country for the sake of your family?

President Assad: Never, after six years, I mean the most difficult times passed; it was in 2012 and 2013, those times we never thought about it, how can I think about it now?

So, no, no, this is not an option. Whenever you have any kind of reluctance, you will lose. You will lose not with your enemies; you lose with your supporters. Those supporters, I mean the people you work with, the fighters, the army, they will feel if you’re not determined to defend your country. We never had any feeling neither me nor any member of my family.

Question 17: And how is Kareem’s Chinese getting along?

President Assad: He learned the basics of Chinese language, I think two years ago. Unfortunately, the lady and the man who taught him had to leave, because they were members of the Chinese Embassy. They went back to China. Now, he stopped improve his Chinese language.

Question 18: Do you think it is a good choice to learn Chinese for him?

President Assad: Of course, of course, because China is a rising power.

Journalist: You didn’t force him to learn Chinese? It’s his own option, right?

President Assad: No, no, we never thought about it, actually. I didn’t think that he has to learn Chinese, and I didn’t expect him, if I thought about it, that he would say yes, because for many in the world the Chinese language is a difficult language to learn. He took the initiative and he said I want to learn Chinese, and actually till this moment, I didn’t ask him why. I want him to feel free, but when he’s getting older, I’m going to ask him how? How did it come through your mind to learn this language, this difficult language, but of course important language.

Journalist: You didn’t ask him before? President Assad: No, not yet. Journalist: So, you think it’s a good choice?

President Assad: Of course, of course. As I said, it’s a rising power, it’s important. I mean, most of the world has different kinds of relation with China whether in science, in politics, in economy, in business, I mean, in every filed you need it now. And our relation for the future is going to be on the rise. It was good, but it’s going to be on the rise because when a country like China proves that it’s a real friend, a friend that you can rely on, it’s very natural to have better relation on the popular level, not only on the formal level.

Journalist: Thank you Mr. President, thank you for your time.

President Assad: Thank you for coming to Syria, you’re most welcome.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Turkey’s Erdogan Wants Northern Syria and Iraq Annexed

Global Research, March 13, 2017
Erdogan-turquie

His aim is longstanding. In December 2015, heavily armed Turkish forces invaded Iraq, an act of aggression, occupying territory near Mosul, on the phony pretext of combating ISIS he supports.

His real aim is seizing the area’s valued oil fields, a prize he’s long coveted.

Last August, he invaded northern Syria, his aggression code-named Operation Euphrates Shield – aiding anti-government forces, combating Kurdish YPG fighters, not terrorists.

His forces seized Jarabulus in northwestern Syria straightaway, continued advancing east.

Last November, he said his goal is gaining control over “5,000 square km (1,900 square miles) including al-Bab, Manbij and Tell Rifaat, creating a national structure and army for this expanded area to provide solid control and to allow the refugees return to these areas jointly with EU, and after these, focusing on IS’s de facto capital Raqqa and” YPG Kurdish fighters.

In late November, he said he launched cross-border military operations “to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” Days later, he retracted his statement. He can’t undo what he said.

America and other rogue states support his aggression, the Pentagon saying it supports YPG fighters. Obama said Turkey is a “strong NATO ally.” He lied claiming both countries are working to defeat ISIS.

US-installed NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg “welcome(d) Turkey’s increasing efforts to fight against ISIL. Turkey has a right to defend itself,” he said, ignoring his naked aggression in two regional countries, along with his tyrannical homeland rule.

Assad calls Erdogan an “invader.” Russia expressed concern. Putin said his actions didn’t surprise. “Intelligence exists so we face few unexpected developments. We understood what was going on and where things would lead,” he explained.

Erdogan lied, calling his action an act of self-defense. “Our borders must be cleansed of Daesh,” he said – failing to explain he supports the terrorist group and others operating regionally.

Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon made similar comments, supporting aggression instead of denouncing  it.

Intervening on the territory of other nations is naked aggression, longstanding US policy, together with NATO and other rogue allies.

Senior Kurdish Democratic Union party member Ewwas Eli said Erdogan seeks control over Syrian sovereign territory. That’s what his cross-border incursion is all about.

His goals are political, using military means to achieve them. He wants a Kurdish federation in northern Syria prevented.

So he equates the PYD and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) with PKK fighters. Ankara calls them terrorists – a pretext to wage war on Kurds in three countries, besides saying he wants to “ensur(e) the safety of life and property of our citizens who live along our southern borders.”

The best way is by waging peace, not war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Moscow to Erdogan: Either a settlement with Russian ceiling or a resolving with Iranian ceiling موسكو لأردوغان: تسوية بسقف روسي أو حسم بسقف إيراني

 Moscow to Erdogan: Either a settlement with Russian ceiling or a resolving with Iranian ceiling

مارس 7, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The Turkish President Recep Erdogan will arrive to Moscow after his mission has been changed from the incitement against Iran, to justify his regression of the calendar and the commitments of Astana, his asking for giving time till the US positions become clear, and his call to be preferred to the Iranians in the Russian treatment, so he became weak after he was thinking that he is strong. Everything has changed from the gate of Manbej, Erdgoan became the first loser after he spent the costs of the collision with ISIS in Al-Bab and gained the enmity of the organization which he sponsored, all of that was to please the Americans in order to make him having the control on the Kurds. But the result as described by the Turks was that the Americans prefer the Syrian army to the allied Turkish one, and their acceptance of its entry to Manbej instead of the Turkish army not for the sake of the Kurds, but for the preparation to the war of Raqqa which the Syrian army has become the only capable force to wage it, and because it is present in its three fronts in Palmyra, Tedef, and Dei Al-Zour under the Russian sponsorship.

Erdogan will face in Moscow castigation for his betrayal of the understandings, from his entry to Al Bab city to his regression of Astana commitments, his disabling Geneva negotiations, and his ignition of the escalation against the Iranian partner in Astana process to justify the getting out of it, but after the castigation, the Russians will say that who wants to wait the US position let him wait alone, because the developments will not wait for him. Moscow will not make use of the economic relations to exert pressure on Turkey and alienating it away from the political path, so Turkey has to choose between to wait or to join the political process with Russian ceiling quickly and clearly, otherwise Russia is going to abide by a military resolving path as in Aleppo which means with Iranian ceiling. Simply the issue depends on the presence of Syrian political military partner from the ranks of the opposition who is able to cover the participation in a government under the leadership of the Syrian President and in the war on ISIS and Al Nusra, where Turkey can reserve its seat. Otherwise there will be a war in Idlib and in the Southern of Syrian that ends the armed groups along with Al Nusra, and then the war on ISIS with the cooperation with the Americans and the Kurds, where there is no place for the Turks. Therefore the political process will be confined to those who attended Riyadh platform and the platforms of Moscow and Cairo.

The mission of the Iranian President Sheikh Hassan Rouhani who will arrive to Moscow after Erdogan was the call to exert pressure on Turkey which manipulates with the positions, but this time he was excepted from that demand, since he achieved what he wanted. Moscow will present a cooperation agenda in Syria entitled the preparation to keep the balance under the tension of surprises as the Iranians were always asking for before. Without the progress of the Syrian in Palmyra and in the northern of Syria neither was the change in Manbej nor was the Turkish transition and perhaps the American one. The Russian political ceiling protects the settlements’ opportunities, while the Iranian military ceiling produces these opportunities, so Moscow has become convinced to proceed with them together, and that the escalated US speech does not exceed the media wars, as a result of what is going on in Manbej and the practical US attitude toward the deployment of the Syrian army, and what is going to happen in the battles of Raqqa, and as what has happened through the US overlook of the role of the popular crowd in Iraq despite the too much talk and what happened with the US ship USS in confronting the Iranian boats near the Strait of Hormuz unlike the media talk.

Moscow is confident of the quantitative changes in the Syrian scene this year.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

 

موسكو لأردوغان: تسوية بسقف روسي أو حسم بسقف إيراني

ناصر قنديل

مارس 7, 2017

– يصل الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان إلى موسكو وقد تغيّرت مهمته، من التحريض على إيران وتبرير تراجعه عن روزنامة والتزامات أستانة وطلب إمهاله ريثما تتبلور المواقف الأميركية، والدعوة لتفضيله على الإيرانيين في المعاملة الروسية، فصار في وضعية الضعيف، بعدما ظن أنه في وضعية القوي. فقد تغير كل شيء من بوابة منبج وصارأردوغان الخاسر الأول، بعدما دفع أكلاف التصادم مع داعش في الباب واشترى عداوة التنظيم الذي رعاه، كل ذلك أملاً بكسب ودّ الأميركيين لتسليمه رأس الأكراد، وكانت النتيجة ما يصفه الأتراك بتفضيل الأميركيين للجيش السوري على الجيش التركي الحليف، وقبوله أن يدخل منبج بدلاً منه، لما هو أبعد من مراضاة ألأكراد بل التمهيد لحرب الرقة، التي صار الجيش السوري القوة الوحيدة القادرة على خوضها، والحاضرة في جبهاتها الثلاث من جهة تدمر وتادف ودير الزور، وكل ذلك برعاية موسكو وعلمها.

– سيواجه أردوغان في موسكو تأنيباً لخيانته للتفاهمات، من دخوله مدينة الباب إلى تراجعه عن تعهّدات استانة وعرقلته مفاوضات جنيف، وافتعاله التصعيد مع الشريك الإيراني في عملية أستانة لتبرير الخروج منها، لكن بعد التأنيب سيقول الروس إن بمستطاع مَن يرغب بانتظار الموقف الأميركي أن ينتظرهم وحده، لكن التطورات لن تنتظره، وأن موسكو لن تستخدم العلاقات الاقتصادية للضغط على تركيا وستفصلها عن المسار السياسي ويعود لتركيا ىأن تختار بين الانتظار أو الانضمام لعملية سياسية بسقف روسي بسرعة ووضوح، وإلا فإن روسيا ذاهبة للالتزام بمسار حسم عسكري شبيه بحلب أي بسقف إيراني، وأن القضية ببساطة تتوقف على وجود شريك سياسي عسكري سوري من صفوف المعارضة قادر على تغطية المشاركة بحكومة في ظلّ الرئيس السوري وبالحرب على داعش والنصرة، فتحجز بهما تركيا دورها، وإلا حرب في إدلب وجنوب سورية تنهي هذه الجماعات المسلحة مع النصرة، وبعدها حرب على داعش بالتعاون مع الأميركيين والأكراد حليفهم المفضل، ولا مكان للأتراك فيها، وعملية سياسية تقتصر على مَن حضر من منصة الرياض مع منصتي موسكو والقاهرة.

– الرئيس الإيراني الشيخ حسن روحاني الذي يصل إلى موسكو بعد أردوغان، كانت مهمته الدعوة للضغط على تركيا التي تتلاعب بالمواقف ليجد هذه المرة أنه بغنى عن هذا الطلب فقد حصل ما يريد، وأن موسكو ستطرح جدول تعاون في سورية عنوانه الاستعداد لإبقاء الميدان ساخناً صانعاً للمفاجآت كما كان يطلب الإيرانيون دائماً، فلولا تقدم الجيش السوري في تدمر وشمال سورية لما كان التغيّر في منبج ومنه التبدل التركي، وربما الأميركي، وأن السقف السياسي الروسي يحمي فرص التسوية والسقف العسكري الإيراني ينتج هذه الفرص، ولذلك فإن موسكو باتت مقتنعة بالسير بهما معاً، وأن الكلام الأميركي التصعيدي لا يتعدّى الحروب الإعلامية، بدليل ما يجري في منبج والموقف الأميركي العملي من انتشار الجيش السوري، وما سيجري في معارك الرقة، أسوة بما جرى في التغاضي الأميركي عن دور الحشد الشعبي في العراق رغم الكلام الكثير، وبما جرى مع السفينة الأميركية «يو اس أس» في مواجهة الزوارق الإيرانية قرب مضيق هرمز عكس الكلام الإعلامي كله.

– موسكو واثقة من تغييرات نوعية في المشهد السوري هذا العام.

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Syrian Army Liberates Aleppo Water-pumping Station from ISIL Terrorists

 

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:15 A.M.) – Unprecedented gains were acchieved in the eastern Aleppo countryside on Tuesday as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) wrestled control of over 30 villages from ISIS in less than 24 hours.

Moments ago, the SAA’s Tiger Forces also captured the town of Al-Sukhny, thus setting foot on the western bank of Lake Assad (Euphrates River) for the first time in five years.

Effectively, the SAA’s offensive has almost entirely expelled ISIS from Aleppo province. In addition, the advances cancel any plans by the Kurdish-led ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ about advancing towards Raqqa city from the western bank of the Euphrates River.

As a token of appreciation, the SAA brought two bottles of Euphrates water to Russian generals at Kuweiris Airbase in show of gratitude for their air support. According to AMN correspondent Yusha Yuseef, the symbolic bottles will be flown to Moscow shortly.

Next up, the Tiger Forces will strike southwards along Lake Assad until they encountered ISIS’ last defensive line on the axis between Jirah Airbase and Deir Hafer.

Due to today’s SAA advancements, the Tiger Forces have not only lived up to their reputation as fearsome assault troops, but also arguably proven to be the most effective fighting force in the fight to defeat the Islamic State.

HD map version here.

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How does Washington read: Palmyra, Tadef, and Raqqa? كيف تقرأ واشنطن: تدمر وتادف والرقة؟

How does Washington read: Palmyra, Tadef, and Raqqa?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

مارس 5, 2017

As a result of the Russian-US communication that followed the Russian-Syrian raids on the hills in the northeast of Tadef which the Syrian army and its allies entered, and then they proceeded toward the north after surpassing the points of deployment of the Turkish army in Al-Bab city, and which has led to the rise of  the US concern because they were near the points of the deployment of troops trained by the Americans an understanding that led after mutual accusation and denial statements to the Russian-US cooperation to prevent any accident  that may cause due to the lack of the coordination between the Syrian army and its allies on one hand, and the worked units under the US sponsorship or the Democratic Forces of Syria or the Committees of the Kurdish protection on the other hand.

As the concerned follow-up resources say; the Americans expressed their surprise to the speed of the progress of the Syrian army and its allies along with their high professionalism militarily and their strategic plans in a smart timing toward the north battles and Palmyra battle, they described the encirclement of Palmyra and Tadef around Raqqa with the equation of a practical entry to the battle of Raqqa by the Syrian army that is no longer be ignored as a partner. And how this army which fights on ten deployed fronts in the Syrian geography since years is still has these competencies, capacities, vitality, and the ability to put the plans related to strategic visions not just emotional simulation of the reality of the field in defense and attack.

The Kurdish leaderships which are concerned with the battle of Raqqa with the coordination of the Americans say that the technical, practical, and the human complexities which face this battle according to the Americans was a justification for the Americans to propose this cooperation with Turkey, but the Kurds refused this cooperation and asked for a decisive US position specially in terms that the Kurds are not ready to leave Manbej. They got clear US pledge that is translated by deploying US units there; nearly three hundred soldiers, they met the Kurdish demand with anti-aircraft missiles, which the Americans know that they will be used against the Turkish aircraft in case the Kurds are exposed to the risks of new confrontations, while the Kurdish leaders deny the hypothesis of reaching to tripartite understanding US -Kurdish-Turkish under US sponsorship to ensure the battle of Raqqa, as they deny strongly what is rumored about the success of the talks of the Head of the CIA in Ankara about this issue. They describe the battle of Al Bab according to the Turks with the trap which set by the Syrian army leaving them get stuck in it in order to prevent them from heading to Raqqa across Manbej. The Kurdish leaders add if the matters reached to zero-hour and that they have to choose an allied force that participates in the battle of Raqqa they would notify the Americans that they prefer to cooperate with the Syrian army within Russian US cooperation to any Turkish role.

The entry of the Syrian army and its allies to the castle of Palmyra and its progress in it in order to have a full control on the city makes it at the gates of Raqqa and Deir Al Zour. During its entry later to Al Sokhna city  its forces which reached to Tadef will meet with its other forces which move from Palmyra to the north, so Raqqa will be besieged with the Syrian army in the south and west and the Kurds in the east and north, as Deir Al Zour which be surrounded with the Syrian army in the west and south and the Kurds in the north, while the Iraqi popular crowd in the east. Therefore the Turks will be practically in front of difficult choices to impose their presence as the challenge of the process of the military incursion to the areas under the Kurdish dominance. It is an impossible matter in the light of the US cover and presence, and the Americans will be in front of the challenge of waging small unguaranteed battles that are subject to failure or to submit to the field need and to cooperate with the Syrian army after the name of the Free army has become mere a shadow of the Turkish army after the battles of Aleppo.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

كيف تقرأ واشنطن: تدمر وتادف والرقة؟

مارس 2, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– نتج عن التواصل الروسي الأميركي الذي أعقب غارات روسية سورية على تلال شمال شرق مدينة تادف التي دخلها الجيش السوري وحلفاؤه ويتقدّم منها صعوداً نحو الشمال بعد تخطّيه نقاط انتشار الجيش التركي في مدينة الباب، ما أثار قلقاً أميركياً لقربها من مناطق انتنشار قوات يدرّبها الأميركيون، تفاهمٌ أفضى بعد بيانات اتهام ونفي متبادلة إلى تعاون روسي أميركي لمنع أي حادث عائد لنقص التنسيق بين الجيش السوري وحلفائه من جهة والوحدات العاملة تحت المظلة الأميركية أو قوات سورية الديمقراطية ولجان الحماية الكردية من جهة أخرى.

– عبّر الأميركيون، كما تقول مصادر متابعة ومعنية عن دهشتهم لسرعة تقدّم الجيش السوري وحلفائه ومهنيّتهم العالية عسكرياً وخططهم الاستراتيجية بتوقيت ذكي لمعارك الشمال ومعركة تدمر ووصفوا طوق تدمر وتادف على الرقة، بمعادلة دخول عملية إلى معركة الرقة من جانب الجيش السوري لم يعُد ممكناً تفاديه خلالها كشريك، وكيف أن هذا الجيش الذي يقاتل على عشرات الجبهات المنتشرة منذ سنوات على الجغرافيا السورية لا يزال يملك هذه الكفاءات والقدرات والحيوية والقدرة على وضع الخطط المرتبطة برؤى استراتيجية وليست مجرد محاكاة انفعالية لواقع الميدان دفاعاً وهجوماً.

– تقول القيادات الكردية المعنية بمعركة الرقة بالتنسيق مع الأميركيين أن التعقيدات الفنية والعملية والبشرية التي تعترض طريق هذه المعركة بنظر الأميركيين كانت مبرّر الأميركيين لعرض التعاون مع تركيا، وأن الأكراد رفضوا هذا التعاون وطلبوا موقفاً أميركياً حاسماً، خصوصاً لجهة عدم استعداد الأكراد لمغادرة منبج، وحصلوا على تعهّد أميركي واضح ترجم بنشر وحدات أميركية هناك تقارب ثلاثمئة جندي، ولبّوا طلباً كردياً بصواريخ مضادة للطائرات يعرف الأميركيون انها ستستخدم ضد الطائرات التركية في حال تعرّض الأكراد لمخاطر مواجهات جديدة. وينفي القادة الأكراد فرضية التوصل لتفاهم ثلاثي كردي تركي برعاية أميركية لضمان معركة الرقة، كما ينفون بشدة ما يُشاع عن نجاح محادثات مدير المخابرات الأميركية في أنقرة حول هذا الشأن، ويصفون معركة الباب من الجانب التركي بالفخ الذي نصبه الجيش السوري وتركهم يعلقون فيه ليغلق عليهم طريق الباب إلى الرقة عبر منبج. ويضيف القادة الأكراد أنه إذا وصلت الأمور لساعة صفر وكان يجب اختيار قوة حليفة تشارك معركة الرقة، فهم سيبلغون الأميركيين أنهم يفضلون التعاون مع الجيش السوري ضمن تعاون روسي أميركي على أي قبول بالدور التركي.

– دخول الجيش السوري وحلفائه إلى قلعة تدمر وتقدّمه منها لإحكام السيطرة على المدينة، يجعله على بوابتي الرقة ودير الزور، ومع دخوله مدينة السخنة في وقت لاحق ستلتقي قواته التي وصلت تادف بقواته الصاعدة من تدمر شمالاً، وتصير الرقة بين فكّي كماشة، الجيش السوري جنوباً وغرباً والأكراد شرقاً وشمالاً، ومثلها تصير دير الزور بين الجيش السوري غرباً وجنوباً والأكراد شمالاً والحشد الشعبي العراقي شرقاً، ويصير الأتراك عملياً أمام خيارات صعبة لفرض حضورهم، بحجم تحدّي عملية اجتياح عسكري لمناطق سيطرة الأكراد، وهو أمر مستحيل في ظل التغطية والوجود الأميركيين، ويصير الأميركيون أمام تحدّي خوض معارك صغيرة غير مضمونة ومعرضة للفشل، أو الرضوخ للحاجة الميداينة والتعاون مع الجيش السوري بعدما صار مسمّى الجيش الحر مجرد ظل للجيش التركي بعد معارك حلب.

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Syria – Erdogan’s Lost Bet – Trump Likely To Follow A Cautious Strategy

By Moon Of Alabama

March 02, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “Moon Of Alabama” – The last Syria thread noted:

South of Al-Bab the Syrian army is moving towards the Euphrates. It will cut off the Turkish forces path to Raqqa and Manbij.

That move concluded. The Turkish invasion forces are now blocked from moving further south. They would have to fight the Syrian army and their Russian allies to move directly onto Raqqa. They would have to fight the Syrian-Kurdish YPG and its U.S. allies to move further east.

For the first time since the start of the war the supply lines between Turkey and the Islamic State are cut off!
map by Peto Lucem bigger
map by South Front bigger

Erdogan is still hoping for U.S. support for his plans for Raqqa but I doubt that the U.S. military is willing to give up on their well regarded Kurdish proxies in exchange for an ill disciplined Turkish army in general disarray and with little fighting spirit. Erdogan removed any and all officers and NCOs that he perceived as not being 100% behind his power grab. That has now come back to haunt him. He is lacking the military means to pursue his belligerent policies.

Last year Erdogan had allied with Russia and Iran after a (U.S. supported?) coup attempt against him failed. He felt left alone by the U.S. and its reluctance to support his plans in Syria. After Trump was elected Erdogan perceived a coming change in U.S. policies. He exposed himself as the ultimate turncoat and switched back to a U.S. alliance. His believe in a change of U.S. policy drives his latest moves and announcements.

Elijah Magnier reports that his sources in Damascus have the same impression of Trump as Erdogan. They believe that Trump will strongly escalate in Syria and will support the Turkish moves against the Syrian state.

But it is the U.S. military that drives the strategy in the Trump cabinet. The Pentagon has no appetite for a big ground operation in Syria. The plan it offered Trump is still the same plan that it offered under Obama. It will work with Kurdish forces to defeat the Islamic State in Raqqa. Notable is also that a director of the Pentagon financed think tank RAND Corp publicly argues for better cooperation with Russia in Syria. The old RAND plan of a decentralized Syrian with zones under “international administration” (i.e. U.S. occupied) is probably no longer operative.

Recently Erdogan announced that his next move in Syria would be to towards Manbij, held by the YPK. Shortly thereafter pictures of U.S. troops in Manbij displaying U.S. flags were published on social networks. The message was clear: stay away from here or you will be in serious trouble.

On Monday planes from the Iraqi air force attacked Islamic State positions within eastern Syria. The attack followed from intelligence cooperation between Syria and Iraq. It is easier for Iraq to reach that area than for Syrian planes stationed near the Mediterranean. This cooperation will continue. In western Iraq militia integrated with the Iraqi military are ready to storm Tal Afar. This is besides the besieged Mosul the last big Islamic State position in the area. The U.S. had planned to let the Islamic State fighters flee from Mosul and Tal Afar towards Syrian and to let them take the Syrian government positions in Deir Ezzor. Syrian-Iraqi cooperation blocked that move. The U.S. attempt to separate the war on the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq failed. Any attempt to again use the Islamic State as a means to destroy Syria will meet resistance in Iraq where the U.S. is more and more engaged. U.S. commanders in Iraq will be well aware of that threat.

In my opinion Trump’s more belligerent remarks on Syria, on safe zones and military escalation, are rhetoric. They are his negotiation positions towards Russia and Iran. They are not his policies. Those are driven by more realistic positions. Obama balanced more hawkish views supported by the CIA, Hillary Clinton and the neoconservatives against reluctance in the military to engage in another big war. Trump will, even more than Obama, follow the Pentagon’s view. That view seems to be unchanged. I therefore do not believe that aggressive escalation is the way Trump will go. Some additional U.S. troops may get added to the Kurdish forces attacking Raqqa. But any large move by Turkish or by Israeli forces will not be condoned. The big U.S. invasion of Syria in their support will not happen.

Meanwhile the Syrian army is moving on Palmyra and may soon retrieve it from the Islamic State. A new Russian trained unit, the 5th corps, is in the lead and so far makes a good impression. With Palmyra regained the Syrian army is free to move further east towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

Erdogan may still get some kind of “safe zone” in the area in north Syrian his forces now occupy. But Damascus will support Kurdish and Arab guerilla forces against any Turkish occupation. The Turkish forces in Syria will continue to be in a lot of trouble. Erdogan will not get active U.S. support for further moves to capture Syrian land. His change of flags, twice, was useless and has severely diminished his standing.

Netanyahoo and the Israel lobby also want a “safe zone”. This one in south Syria and under Jordanian command. This would allow Israel to occupy more Syrian land along the Golan heights. But the areas next to the Golan and towards Deera are occupied by al-Qaeda and Islamic State aligned group. These groups are a serious danger for the unstable Jordanian state. There is nothing to win for Jordan in any “safe zone” move. Likewise the U.S. military will have no interest in opening another can of worms in south Syria. Like Erdogan Netanyahoo will likely be left alone with his dreams.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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