Wednesday, July 11, 2018

RAND: Time To Make A Deal on Syria? Like Pompeo's Offer To Iran?

RAND Military Industrial Complex Linked- Time to make a deal on Syria?

Trump Putin Summit Pending
 “Although U.S. leverage is much diminished by the Assad regime's recent gains, there are still opportunities for Washington and Russia to achieve a settlement that preserves some U.S. interests”

I was thinking just that with regard to the southern front- The US had just lost some leverage in any negotiations- But was it worth giving up on the southern front to gain in the north east?

“The Kremlin does not want to continue its air campaign in Syria indefinitely in support of an outcome that mainly serves the interests of Assad and Iran. Russia could therefore be expected to support a political settlement that meets its bottom line: no regime change in Damascus and no permanent U.S. military presence in Syria.”

Assuming that was Russia’s bottom line? Pay attention to the mention of  what constitutes “no permanent” US military presence.  I’ll highlight it.

 “Many in Moscow (??) would prefer this outcome to helping the Syrian military and the Iranians brutally recapture all rebel-held areas. Indeed, if Russia enabled Assad to reconquer the entire country, Moscow would actually lose some leverage with the Assad regime by making its continued support less critical”
 Very doubtful that Russia would lose leverage in Syria if Assad took all of the territory back- for the plainly obvious reason that Russia had leverage or favourable relations when Syria held all her territory! Prior to the destabilization.

“For the Trump administration, such a settlement would hardly be a major concession. And such a deal could also deliver on Washington's bottom line — preventing the re-emergence of the Islamic State and denying Iran a free hand to expand its influence in the Middle East”
Of course it's not a major concession. Since Syria and Russia were the biggest threat to ISIS and the US their biggest supporters, alongside Israel, if the US actually, truly, really leaves ISIS wouldn’t be an issue.  If the goal was to establish and maintain an autonomous armed territory within Syria where's there any concession?Answer- there won't be because, of course, the US  offer of withdrawal would be ‘conditional’

“But if it wants to succeed, the administration should condition any future withdrawal from eastern Syria on Russian commitments to constrain Iranian influence in Syria”

Which, it can be assumed with confidence, Russia could never make adequate commitments to constrain Iran- in the eyes of Usrael. Doomed to fail. Like the P5+1

“Despite these challenges, there is every reason to test the proposition that Russia would be open to a deal that ends the bloodshed, preserves some autonomy for eastern Syria, prevents the country from falling fully under Iranian control, and allows for continued counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State. If Trump can convince Putin to commit to such an arrangement at their summit, it would be a major accomplishment.”
Yes, it would be quite a major accomplishment- It would guarantee the US and Israel everything they've striven for!
Preserving some autonomy for eastern Syria- where the US has ‘some’ bases. 
Actually anywhere from 12-15 bases. With a minimum of 2,000 coalition forces ensconced within.  
Allowing the US to continue counter terrorism efforts? This is a compromise?  
This constitutes no permanent military occupation? This is the status quo! 
How is this deal making? Which would require actual concessions. 
This sounds like a replay of Iraq- And that didn’t work out so well for Iraq.
If this is the best the US has to offer, it’s not a good deal for Syria or Russia. Or Turkey. Nor Iran.

 Related to:

Pepe Escobar: Eagle Meets Bear Summit- No Takfiri Left Behind


Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford wrote at the Middle East Institute this week that in Washington, policymakers in the administration plan to retain the Tanf base.

For now, the American- supported coalition isn’t budging. The office of the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve responded to a Jerusalem Post inquiry Monday. Although it won’t discuss current operations or divulge troop strength, “What we can tell you is that there has been no recent movement of any significant number of Coalition troops or partner forces into or out of at-Tanf garrison.
I'm really beginning to think that the Trump/Putin summit is going to look a lot like the deal Pompeo offered to Iran. Untenable. Hope to be wrong. But, it's just not looking good.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran on Monday that the US would “crush its proxies”, reimpose sanctions with “full effect” and reject any new nuclear deal if Tehran does not end its regional interference and halt its ballistic missile programme.
Unveiling the Trump administration’s new strategy towards Iran after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal on May 8, Mr Pompeo listed 12 conditions to reach a new agreement. While four of those demands relate to Iran's nuclear threat, such as providing the UN's nuclear agency with "unqualified access", stopping uranium enrichment and ending the proliferation of ballistic missiles, eight of them are tied to Tehran’s regional behaviour and support for US-designated terror groups.

Of course. ISIS Launches New Offensive on SAA Position in Deir Ezzor (North eastern Syria)
Talk about timing...


  1. Business as usual. The U.S. has no regard for any 'agreements' that it has managed to impose nor any shame nor compunction in dishonouring them unilaterally. This while claiming the blame for such behaviour is the responsibility of the victim of assault.

    1. hey opit;
      If there is any offer made at all to Russia during the summit it will be business as usual.