Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Idlib is a Regional Relationship Stress Tester

As has been stated and restated here, there are geo political players in the Syrian arena that would benefit from having Turkey and Russia at each other’s throats. In Idlib as well as elsewhere. So far Russia and Turkey have continued to cooperate, but, there looks to be some  more recent attempts at creating discord.This recent stirring of the pot along the M-4 highway does not benefit Turkey. It does benefit others.
Last two reports covering this cui bono issue relinked below:

March 06/20: US Doesn't Want Turkey to Partner With Russia, Sees Benefit in Idlib Getting Out of Control

Feb 28/20: "The threat of a Russia-Turkey-NATO hot war over Idlib is a godsend for US foreign policy"

The situation in Idlib could also negatively affect relations between Turkey and Iran.
Although the dogmatic alt media "ignores" this fact Turkey and Iran have had pretty good relations for some time.  Trade.  Banking.  Turkey helping Iran get around sanctions.
Wonder why it is the alleged anti empire alt media has failed miserably in informing readers of the many positives in the Turkish/Iran relationship?- Okay I don't wonder that much, really.

  1. What parties would want Turkey and Iran to move towards bad relations?
  2. What parties would benefit from such discord between the two nations? 
  3. How would the increased friction affect the larger region?
Birth Pangs, people. Birth pangs.

We should understand  Idlib is a Gordian Knot.  (an intricate problem) Untangling it won't be easy.

Atlantic Council : Idlib Is a Stress Test for Iranian Turkish Relations
 Despite political tensions with Tehran, Ankara has long tried to maintain cordial relations with Iran, primarily due to economic reasons. As sanctions have gradually increased pressure on Iran, many Iranian citizens have resorted to buying properties in Turkey as a “Plan B” option. In similar vein, thousands of Iranians who visited Turkey annually prior to the coronavirus outbreak substantially contributed to Turkey’s tourism industry. As a result, serious tensions with Iran could easily harm the Turkish economy(and vice versa) which has been suffering from this global pandemic in terms of decreased tourism and trade with neighbors. 
How Russia plays into the Iran-Turkey relationship
The situation in Idlib will impact Iran’s partnership with Russia in ways that are likely yet to be realized. Last year, as the SAA and its allies were taking back territory from anti-Assad groups, there were increasingly relevant questions being debated by experts about how and when Tehran and Moscow’s conflicting interests vis-à-vis “post-conflict Syria” would play out. In February and earlier this month, Iranian officials were disappointed with the Kremlin for—at least in Tehran’s eyes—failing to sufficiently defend Syria from Ankara’s “Operation Peace Shield”. 
Now that the March 5 deal—also known as Sochi 2.0—between Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin demonstrated Moscow’s continued will to serve as a “brake” on Ankara and Damascus’s standoff in Idlib, some Iranian confidence in Tehran’s partnership with Russia could be somewhat restored. 
Metin Gurcan, a Turkish security expert, asserts that the Russian and Turkish governments at the Sochi 2.0 meeting merely created a pause in fighting rather than a permanent solution to the complicated crisis in Idlib. If or, more likely, when the combat resumes, major dilemmas will arise for Ankara, Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran. Under such circumstances, how Syria intends to position itself between Iran and Russia will be difficult to predict. Nonetheless, as Assad’s government has constantly sought to balance Iran and Russia off each other in order to prevent Damascus from becoming a “puppet” of either ally, a return to the fighting in Idlib could push the Syrian regime closer to Iran depending on what Moscow could or would do to pressure Turkey into ceasing its attacks on the SAA, and Iran-backed groups such as the Fatemiyoun Brigade and Hezbollah.
Can you think of one, two or more parties that might encourage major dilemmas for Ankara, Damascus, Moscow and Tehran?

The way forward

Amid Syrian-Turkish clashes in Idlib during February, Tehran demonstrated restraint by issuing statements of “concern”. Nonetheless, it would be difficult to imagine Iran not taking additional measures in the future to protect its strategic interests if Turkey returns to hampering on Iranian interests in Syria. Just as Tehran has publicly opposed Turkey’s previous military campaigns in northern Syria—“Operation Peace Spring” in 2019 and “Operation Olive Branch” in 2018, Iran is condemning Ankara’s recent operations in Idlib. The Iranian leadership wants all actors, especially Turkey, to recognize Tehran’s interests in Idlib and respect them.
The developments which have unfolded in Idlib throughout 2020 have thus far put Iran and Turkey in extremely difficult situations. On the one hand, after spending a tremendous amount of blood and treasure in Syria, the Islamic Republic cannot sit idly while Turkey collects the spoils of war. Yet, on the other, Tehran does not wish to antagonize its western neighbor and friend in West Asia. Without question, Iran faces a major challenge in relation to northwestern Syria that will require officials in Tehran to navigate cautiously with so much at stake for the Islamic Republic as the Syrian conflict rages on with much attention on Idlib. In terms of relations between Iran and Turkey, while both countries have vested stakes in continuing to cooperate in the many areas where their interests overlap, there is no doubt that the lack of a political solution to the crisis in Idlib will create a major source of stress in bilateral relations throughout 2020.

Idlib. Not a simple situation. Not just about “bad Turkey” or “ Saviour Russia” 
Iran has interests. Damascus has goals. 
And then there is Usrael and the coalition partners all of whom are waiting to undermine these four nations every step of the way.

Btw: The US is also right there along the M-4 as well. 

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