“Putin seems to have exploited a terrible humanitarian tragedy and a serious political problem—Syria’s six-year-old civil war—to confound several key parties. They include the US, as well as its partner force in Syria, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as this author has written.The confounding has to do with the PKK/YPG's non acceptance of the no fly aspect of the De-escalation zones- The PKK/YPG relies on the US to soften targets/ethnically cleansing vast swathes of Syrian territory. Ditto for the Kurds partner in crime Israel- They don't like the no fly aspect. Since they like bombing Syria whenever the hell they choose.
They also include Israel. Russian officials surprised the Pentagon on Friday when they announced planes from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) would be barred from the four de-escalation zones in Syria, as established by the latest round of the Astana peace talks.Haven't decided, yet, how I feel about this piece?? It's interesting though and do wonder what others may think about it- We all know Israel has been supporting the terrorists in Golan. For years and years now. Along with terrorists in other areas- Including in the beginning the PKK as they entered northern Syria (as my understanding of this situation grew, it dawned on me that Israel's early interventions in northern Syria was indeed with the PKK- go back to 2011 posts covering the earliest days of destabilization)
On Saturday, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called his Russian counterpart. It is unclear what, if anything, their conversation resolved.
A terse US statement issued after their discussion noted the two men had “discussed the Astana agreement” and “affirmed their commitment to deconflicting operations in Syria,” while they “agreed to maintain regular contact.”
The same ban on flights in the de-escalation zones would apply to others, including Israel.
When Israel sees activity in Syria it regards as threatening, it simply bombs the danger. Will Israel still be able to do so? Even if that activity occurs in one of the de-escalation zones?
One such zone lies in southern Syria and includes parts of Quneitra Governorate, which borders the Golan Heights.
Until now, Israel has seen the presence of the rebels there as a buffer against Iran and Hezbollah. Will that buffer disappear?
And which party will enforce the cease-fire in Quneitra? What if Iran sends troops? Or Hezbollah is used for that purpose?
Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have led to war in the past. Israel is already uneasy with Hezbollah’s enhanced status in Lebanon.
What would Israel do, if Hezbollah also became ensconced in Quneitra? The de-escalation zones have the potential to facilitate a dangerous build-up of weapons and hostile forces alongside another Israeli frontier”
To a lesser extent, Jordan faces similar risks. The de-escalation zone in southern Syria includes part of Dara’a Governorate, which borders Jordan. Which party will enforce the cease-fire there?
Presumably, Amman does not want to see Iranian forces, or Hezbollah, next door. However, the Russian proposal also allows for other countries to join in guaranteeing the cease-fire. Possibly, Jordan might opt to do so, rather than see hostile troops on its border.
The Syrian opposition has criticized the zones as an attempt to partition the country, and the Russian proposal is unlikely to be any more successful than past efforts to secure a cease-fire.
Indeed, Dr. Mark Kramer, Director of Harvard University’s Project on Cold War Studies, denounced it as a “cynical ploy.”
However, it certainly has the potential to cause serious problems for the US and its allies. But, then, that is how a clever KGB agent would operate: wrap a poison pill in a package of seemingly good intentions.