Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Birth Pangs: CFR- US Retrenchment Will Intensify Crisis in Syria's Idlib- Carrot or Stick

 We talked escalation and more..

  Was updated with info about Canadian participation 

 

Escalation or Political Settlement at the end of many gun barrels?

CFR: U.S. Retrenchment Will Intensify Crisis in Idlib

How many years ago was it suggested here that Syria, aided by Russia, Iran AND Turkey can succeed in taking back Idlib? ( Look below for some two year old posts)  In a slower more methodical manner. While the idiots at Syper (A remake friendly place with lots of obfuscation) & elsewhere lusted for out and out war and onslaughts etc., Chaotic. Messy. And easily usurped by interested parties. 

2018:

The CFR oped (link above) makes clear that the taking back of Idlib is being accomplished and the US does not want that to occur.  Let's make a deal under duress?

"With Iranian and Russian support, the Bashar al-Assad regime will succeed in capturing the last opposition stronghold and “de-escalation zone” in Syria—Idlib province—unless all parties to the conflict can negotiate a solution to the civil war and prevent the upcoming battle. 
If a political resolution is not found, the regime will likely kill, wound, or displace hundreds of thousands of civilians as it seizes control over the rest of the province. Although the U.S. military has begun to pull back from the region, the outcome of the fight for Idlib should be a national security concern, particularly as the United States seeks to contain Iranian adventurism, Russian influence, and Turkish unilateralism in the region; combat terrorism; prevent a humanitarian disaster; and alleviate Syrian instability before it spreads. U.S. inaction could allow the Assad regime’s Idlib campaign to continue and could be viewed as a green light by malefactors searching for any sign of U.S. intent to intervene before proceeding with their plans in Idlib and for Syria more broadly. Moreover, should the battle for Idlib continue, the coronavirus pandemic will amplify the tragedy.
                           
First, Washington offered military assistance—which ultimately proved inadequate to gain the upper hand—to the opposition early in the conflict."
 It proved inadequate when Washington pulled the funding... so long ago
 "Second, when the Islamic State invaded eastern and northern Syria some three years into the conflict, Washington funded, trained, and armed Syrian rebels, including Kurdish forces, and supported their ground battles with air strikes against the Islamic State.
                                       
Washington should consider leading a concerted, diplomatic effort to reach a negotiated agreement to end the war for the following reasons.

First, instead of allowing a lopsided victory for Assad and his supporters, a U.S.-led negotiation could limit Iranian, Russian, and Turkish gains and their tendency to interfere in the region.
 
Tehran also arranged for Shia militias from across the region, including its strongest ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah, to support Assad’s forces.

Russia is using Assad to secure its military influence in the region, including an airbase in Latakia and a naval base in Tartus, both Syrian coastal provinces.
 
Moscow’s intervention began in fall 2015 with airstrikes against rebel targets—and did not distinguish between Islamist terrorists and moderate oppositionists. Now, absent U.S. diplomatic intervention, Russia could remain emboldened to intrude in hot spots in the Middle East and elsewhere. 
Finally, although Turkey has backed opposition elements, its primary objective has been to block Syrian Kurdish territorial and political gains, and to exclude the Kurds from a safe zone along its shared border with northern Syria. 
Ankara carried out unilateral air and ground attacks against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, and a deconfliction agreement with Russia and Iran permitted Turkish troops to move into Idlib province, where they remain today. The current trajectory of the conflict could encourage Turkey to continue interfering in Syria and unilaterally pursue its interests outside of NATO."
Think about all that anti Turkey rhetoric out there in disinfo land... msm and alt
“Second, Idlib province remains the largest safe haven for al-Qaeda fighters since pre-9/11 Afghanistan, with several thousand fighters packed into an area smaller than Connecticut.”

Third, beyond foreign intervention and the concentration of dangerous terrorists, the intensification of the humanitarian crisis is clearly concerning. Idlib’s pre-war population of one and a half million has swelled to more than three million

Should fighting resume, these people will find themselves trapped against a closed Turkish border.

Nearly twenty years into the global war on terror, exhaustion is understandably wearing on Western policymakers and publics. However, the conflict in Idlib demands a response, and the United States could take the lead on proposing a largely non-military solution.
The United States could propose the following notional plan—or something similar—to end the war: Assad could remain in power, but he would have to consult with a newly-elected legislature, demand that Iran and its proxies withdraw, and permit NGOs to conduct humanitarian relief activities. Syrian refugees could be allowed to return to their home provinces, and oppositionists—those who do not belong to terrorist groups—could receive amnesty and be admitted into the political process. U.S. sanctions—including a prohibition on the delivery of oil to Syria—could remain in effect, but would be terminated if Assad implemented agreed-upon commitments. 
Russia could keep its bases, but would have to gradually withdraw combat troops from Syria. The Syrian Kurds could gain some autonomy in a region away from the border, and Turkey would then withdraw from Syria and refrain from further interference. 
Iran and Hezbollah—both of whom are resource challenged— could be warned that their continued activities in Syria would be subject to increasing Israeli and possibly U.S. strikes. And, Russia and the United States could collaborate to gradually degrade the already fractured terrorism landscape—the one area where the two powers agree—working together to kill or capture and return foreign fighters to their home countries for prosecution. This may be the only part of the initiative that cannot be conducted purely through diplomacy.

Irrespective of the terms of a proposed peace agreement, U.S. diplomatic involvement is necessary for a chance at a positive outcome. No other state can exercise the leadership needed to implement the diplomatic and political solutions necessary to avoid broadening, regional instability and the consequent need for more military involvement. An unstable Syria threatens to trigger regional volatility for another generation, opening the door for more Iranian interference and greater radicalization and terrorist activity"
A positive outcome is one that serves Usraelkurd/EU interests. No other outcome could be deemed positive.

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