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Syria endgame?
Posted:Oct 2, 2017
 
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Putin is a man who can.
 
He said that Moscow would go into Syria to quell the raging conflict that much of the western media still insist on referring to as a civil war. And in superficial terms, at least, that is what he has done. After a mere two years of direct military involvement — the Russian president announced towards the end of last week that conditions have been met to end the conflict in Damascus.
 
To some, this might sound like big talk. But Putin has the goods to back it up. Namely, a Russia-Iran-Turkey tripartite agreement on Syrian de-escalation zones. Of course, Moscow and Tehran have been actively supporting the regime. While Ankara, the only Muslim NATO member nation, is on Washington’s side, wherever that may be.
 
The question of the US position is an important one. For Obama had kept Syria raging for a good six years, which suited Israel just fine given that many a political pundit believes that the road to Tehran passes through Damascus. Yet it took Donald Trump just nine months in the hot seat to realise — by way of un-strategic ineptitude that is enough to make Britain’s Boris Johnson appear rather unpleasantly suave — the Jewish state’s worst nightmare.
 
Yet not only is this an American betrayal, it is a Turkish one, too. One that follows a summer of Israeli discontent. Meaning that Ankara has not played ball in the so-called Gulf crisis, engineered by the Saudis to isolate Qatar over the latter’s recognition of Hamas as a legitimate partner for peace. A position that is not dissimilar to that of President Erdogan.
 
But more than that, it is the emerging alliance between Tehran and Ankara that worries Israel perhaps the most. Especially given that if the two truly join forces — they could pose a serious challenge to Saudi regional supremacy. As far as Tel Aviv is concerned, it suited it far more to think of Turkey throwing its lot in with Christian Europe. But now that it is back as a regional player — Ankara and Tehran between them wield formidable military might. This is to say nothing of the $2 billion arms deal that Turkey has inked with Russia.
 
The only thing that Israel can cling on to for hope is that this polygamous bro-mance will come undone over Iraq and the Kurdistan independence referendum. And now Iran looks set to be more strongly engaged with its Iraqi neighbour, given that both are gearing up to conduct joint military drills.
 
Yet one thing is certain. Middle Eastern flashpoints ignited by the US, which may or may not have been for Israeli benefit, have shown no signs of being returned to peace, even some 14 years after the fall of Saddam. So, sadly, it seems that Israel can rest assured. Syria’s fire is unlikely to be extinguished any time soon.
 
Daily Times, October 2, 2017
 
 
 
 
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