US – Russia bargain on Syria, Ukraine but EU kept out

The 7588th meeting of the United Nations Security Council focused on talks on ISIS and Syria. Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the United Nations for Syria, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs (from left to right). © European Union. EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Kena Betancur.

The 7588th meeting of the United Nations Security Council focused on talks on ISIS and Syria. Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the United Nations for Syria, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs (from left to right). © European Union. EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Kena Betancur.

President Bashar al-Assad’s regular Syrian army aided by Lebanon Hezbollah fighters plus some Iranians, and of course under the air cover of Russia’s fighter jets last week pushed the ISIS murderers out of the ancient city of Palmyra. Reportedly, a Russian ground special force played also a role in this decisive battle, that probably constitutes a major downward turning point in the terrible existence of ISIS.

To be noted, that during the past few months, Russia has played a key role in changing the course of the war in favour of Assad, by targeting key elements of ISIS structures. Moscow also made sure that there can’t be a final political solution in the country without Assad in the picture. He authentically represents and stands for a large part of the Syrian population, the Alawites, a distinctively mild version of Shia Islam.

Assad to stay

These are some four millions souls of them, who would be under threat of extinction, if the murderous extreme Sunni forces of ISIS and the other Sunni groups, supported from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, would have prevailed. Both those last regional powers had sought Assad’s extinction. Had they been left undeterred, the Syria’s Alawites would have had a difficult time under a Sunni domination.

Palmyra then is not a win to offer Assad just a consolidation of his personal position in the picture. It’s a strategic victory for the regular Syrian army and more so for their Russian patrons, opening the way to target the ISIS capital Raqqa in the center of the country. It also proves that an effective combination of ground and air forces could a long time ago have deterred ISIS from expanding its destructive state.

Who fought ISIS?

This last observation means that the other side, that is the rebel or opposition forces supported by the Saudis, the Turks, the Americans, the French, the Belgians and practically by the entire West were not able or didn’t really want to severely threaten the ISIS existence. It’s now evident that the primary target of the opposition/rebel forces was not ISIS but Assad, and this not only for religious reasons. The anti-Assad alliance didn’t seek the extinction of ISIS – if they didn’t help it flourish – because it presented a good check for Assad.

What about the Kurds?

Apart from Assad and Russia, only the Kurds, who at the beginning fought alone a desperate war against ISIS, managed to resist its murderous force. After all that, the Americans finally understood that the Kurds were the only reliable ground military force that Washington could count on, in the fight against ISIS.

It seems then,l that from the very moment the Americans were convinced that ISIS could threaten even Bagdad, they decided to wholeheartedly support the quite effective Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) and they also started contemplating to come to terms with Assad. A loss of Bagdad to ISIS, even for a few days, would have dealt a tremendous blow to the US political and military presence in the entire world.

That’s why the US has definitively decided that ISIS has to go. This means that the terrorist state has to be cornered and exterminated firstly in Syria, where it has established its headquarters and pursues its main activities. However, to accomplish this difficult task, the US needed more than the Kurds. The Syrian Kurds- and the much closer to the Americans Iraqi Kurds – cannot to do the job alone. Then Assad and Russia entered in the equation.

Damascus revived

Understandably, the White House didn’t want to start a new war, with American boots on the deserts of Syria and Iraq, more likely because it would have cost very dear in lives and money. The fact that in November a new President will be elected must have also played an important role in the White House refusal to start a major ground US operation in the region. Such a prospect would surely damage the chances of the Democratic candidate to win the election, while it would have exasperated a possible Republican President.

For sure then the US had to find a way to drastically contain ISIS in Syria. Given that the Kurds couldn’t or probably wouldn’t undertake such a task alone, the US came to terms with the Russians. For a start, Washington accepted that Assad does not have to go, and instead he can play an important role in a final political solution.

Then came the Russians

Of course it’s not Assad with whom the Americans have to negotiate with. It’s the Russians who have supported and kept him in his position all along the war years. On top of that, Assad wouldn’t mind if the Russians got more from the Americans in the negotiation table, in exchange for a decisive containment or obliteration of ISIS by his own forces.

It’s pretty clear by now that nobody else, except Assad and the Kurds, really wanted the full destruction of ISIS. Very simply Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the West sat back and waited for Assad and ISIS to kill each other. Some of them even helped the rebels who fought just Assad not ISIS. But all that has changed now.

It’s not only Syria

The new arrangement may have two very important consequences. For one thing, the Russians may and actually have demanded more from the Americans, not necessarily regarding only Syria. For example, Moscow may have a lot to discuss with the Americans about Europe and Ukraine. Probably Moscow may also have even found the opportunity to press Washington to recognize that Russia is a world power and to stop secluding her.

All this is not unfounded guesswork. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week visited Moscow for a third time in five months, which made him a frequent traveler to the Russian capital. According to strategic analysts, just this fact can be considered as a proof of success of Russia’s foreign policy. Undoubtedly, this relates to the latest developments regarding both issues, where the American and the Russian interests collided, of course Ukraine and Syria.

It’s Ukraine too

Kerry had more than four hours talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Afterwards, they delivered a joint Press conference. The tone was visibly milder on both hot issues that present a strong interest for the two sides. Kerry even said that he “reached a better understanding of the decisions that President Putin has made of late.” This marks a full U-turn in the standard frosty climate between the two countries, which prevailed until now. There is more to it.

Some hours later, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, made some interesting comments about the US – Russia relations. He said that the Americans should do more than just accept that Assad should be part of the final political solution in Syria.

He explained that the US has to come to terms with two more prospects. First, he said the Americans have to recognize that Russia is a great power and this has to be reckoned with, when it comes to the other ex-USSR countries. Under this light, there should be a negotiation on Ukraine. Until today, the US had not accepted to speak with Russia about Ukraine. Peskov also stressed that the US should stop considering the EU-Russia cooperation, mainly with Germany, as a threat for American interests.

Moscow want more

Of course, this is all Moscow saying, but the last Kerry-Lavrov Press conference in Moscow was a major breakthrough in the US – Russia relations. Peskov simply set the agenda for the next discussions / negotiations between the two sides, given that the Americans seem ready to continue on this platform. In any case, it’s rather certain that Washington is gradually changing its policies in reference to Syria, Ukraine and also about isolating Russia.

Coming back to our main issue, the cornering of ISIS in Syria and Iraq may drive its cruel leaders to plan more terrorist attacks against EU countries. Paris and Brussels have already paid this deadly price. Not to forget also the downing of the commercial flight plane full of Russian tourists over Sinai last summer, when coming back from holidays in a Red Sea resort.

US, Russia care only about their interests

Unfortunately, both Kerry and Lavrov didn’t seem to mind (at least they didn’t say anything) about what their new policies may mean for the average man and woman in Europe. If ISIS is cornered in Syria, those butchers may and rather have already decided to extend their unholy business to Europe. The US and Russia obviously focus on what they can gain strategically from each other. They don’t seem to mind much about the repercussions of this horse trade. In conclusion, the US and Russia are cutting the EU out of their table.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

We can end TB right now. Here’s how

Multilateralism more vital than ever, as World War centenary looms: Security Council

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

New EU rules to boost crowdfunding platforms and protect investors

Brexit talks: Today the world to hear of a predictable failure

European Union: Retail sales show deep recession

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

Companies have a new skill to master – innovation

70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

Backed by UN, Asia-Pacific countries to advance space technology for ‘development transformation’

Data exchanges: Strengthening Europol cooperation with non-EU countries

JADE Generations Club 2015: Knowledge vs. competences – Do not wait for the change to happen, but make it happen

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

UN migration agency: young Rohingya girls, largest group of trafficking victims in camps

EU Emissions Trading System does not hurt firms’ profitability

Australia’s record heatwave: From fainting tennis players to dead fish

It’s time to stop talking about ethics in AI and start doing it

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

New roadmap toward healthier and cleaner oceans adopted by UN Environment and European Commission

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

Internet milestone reached, as more than 50 per cent go online: UN telecoms agency

National parks transformed conservation. Now we need to do the same for the ocean

Costa Coffee products (Copyright: Costa Coffee; Source: Costa Coffee website, Press area)

The start of the “Caffeine rush”: Coca-Cola acquires Costa Coffee days after Nestlé-Starbucks deal

Mainland Europe adopts Germanic cartel business patterns

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

Drinking water: new plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter

The EU Commission by serving the banks offers poor support to European mainstream political parties

The Italian crisis may act as a catalyst for less austerity

Brexit: MEPs concerned over reported UK registration plans for EU27 citizens

Despite violence, ‘tremendous hunger’ for peace in Afghanistan: top UN official

Online platforms required by law to be more transparent with EU businesses

EU Budget 2019: no deal before the end of the conciliation period

Child victims of DRC Ebola outbreak need ‘special attention and care’: UNICEF

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

Food choices today, impact health of both ‘people and planet’ tomorrow

Why CEOs need to become activists in sustainability

These are 2018’s stats of the year

Poverty data never tells the whole story

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

The issue of health literacy and how it affects European health policies

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

Imported and EU fisheries products should be treated equally

Europe bewildered by radicalisation and terrorism

EU-US resume trade negotiations under the spell of NSA surveillance

New rules on drivers’ working conditions and fair competition in road transport

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

We can’t rid Asia of natural disasters. But we can prepare for them

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

Generation Z will outnumber Millennials by 2019

Making technology work for 1.3 billion Indians

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s