Representatives of Israel and the United States are allegedly planning to offer Russia a deal on Syria at their trilateral meeting. The deal is this: Bashar Assad will be recognized as the legitimate head of state and sanctions will be lifted from Damascus. In return, Moscow should help its negotiating partners in realizing their main goal of restraining Iran. How, exactly, is not known.
It’s alleged that there are currently at least 100,000 Iranian soldiers in Syria, including representatives of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Without Iran’s help, it’s unlikely that the Islamic State could have been removed from Syria so effectively. However, remaining in the Arab Republic provides Tehran with a direct corridor to the Israeli border, which bothers Tel Aviv.
The offer may sound tempting, but the recognition of Assad by the “world police” means Russia is completely successful. After all, if cleansing Syria of Islamic State group thugs wasn’t a big problem for Russian and Syrian forces, then the prospects for the political process in the Arab Republic remain uncertain.
However, the “Iblis” is in the details.* Who is the source of this? The source of this information is the Arabic edition of Asharq al-Awsat, “attributed” to Saudi Arabia. Having special connections with Washington and Brussels, and offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, it is the ideal drainpipe for the side against Assad. So we’re talking about testing the waters – no more.
But even when feeling out Russia, our counterparts have been unable to withstand the pressure. Immediately before the leaked deal was published, Israel (allegedly in response) again launched a rocket into Syrian territory. As a result, three Syrian soldiers were killed and seven were wounded. A good background for the upcoming talks (if they actually take place)!
And if the world has become accustomed to Israeli strikes, then Donald Trump’s verbal attack on Russia sounded rather sudden.
As the president of the United States admitted, he was aware of rumors that Russia, Syria and Iran had bombed Idlib province indiscriminately, killing civilians. “The world is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!” Trump appealed pathetically on Twitter.
Since the author of this Twitter attack was actually the president of the United States, it’s difficult to ignore. Moreover, a couple of weeks ago, the Pentagon presented its commander-in-chief with a plan for sending 120,000 American soldiers to the Middle East.
But, most likely, this outburst was made in pursuit of the same goal: putting moral pressure on Moscow in the hope that we will not hold back and we will take the bait.
It’s possible that Trump is pushing such rhetoric to his pro-Israeli circle on Twitter. The same goes for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It seems easy to get a rise out of the already impulsive American president. “Tweet-tweet” – and now the world knows that Russia is bad, and the company it keeps in the Middle East is even worse.
Caught in the vice of a domestic political crisis, the U.S. president may have been forced to follow the initiatives of his advisers like John Bolton. The anti-Iranian enthusiasm of this Nietzschean (judging by his mustache) sets the tone of Trump’s many words and deeds. Bolton wants to embroil and tear Russia, Iran and Syria apart from each other, and Trump wants to follow along.
But what is good for Russia in all of this? Will it win with Assad and Syria but lose Iran? Even in the best case scenario, this victory will be short-lived until the White House and the State Department are filled with new people who declare this deal with Russia misguided and out of line with U.S. strategic interests, and withdraw from all agreements under this or any other pretext.
Isn’t it better for Moscow to do exactly the opposite? To continue to hold hands with Tehran and Damascus in order to constrain Tel Aviv and Washington? Moreover, in the Middle East we do it better than anywhere else. Moderate confrontation with Israel will bring Russia oh-so-many friends in the Arab world.
In addition, we have gained some experience from the Trump administration’s foreign policy initiatives. And Washington would not call this experience successful. The attacks on North Korea over its nuclear program produced no results. And the U.S. is kicking itself for not putting Juan Guaido in power in Venezuela. And China will prevail as the economic hegemon from the trade war with the United States.
It seems that despite the aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf (they were also off the coast of Korea), the same will happen with Iran and Syria. Russia will ease the situation, resolving it in its favor, and Bolton will resign just like Rex Tillerson and the Pentagon’s Mad Dog Jim Mattis.
*Translator’s note: Iblis is an Islamic figure who tries to tempt humans to stray from God's path.