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As the ISIS terrorist group is collapsing in Syria and Iraq, the competition among powers involved in the conflict increases.
In March, Moscow and Astana become the main centers of the diplomatic activity with top leaders from Israel, Turkey, the UK and other powers discussing the issues confronting the Middle East. Ongoing events aim to shape the climate of international relations in the region after defeating ISIS. The key players’ conflicting agendas come head to head with each other.
Israel is concerned over the increased Iranian influence, and the growing military capabilities of Hezbollah. The Press Service of the Israeli Prime Minister confirmed that his working visit to Russia pursued two goals:
- To continue cooperation in order to avoid Israeli-Russian incidents and tensions in Syria;
- To demonstrate Israel’s disagreement on the military presence of Iran or its proxies at the northern Israeli border and in the Mediterranean. Israel will keep this stance no matter what result of any Syrian settlement.
Another problem for Israel, is the collapse of militant groups in Southern Syria. Both ISIS and so-called moderate rebels had not conducted operations against Israel during the Syrian war. Furthermore, militants fighting the Assad government were being treated in Israeli hospitals until early March. Some Syrian sources report that anti-Assad militant groups had been receiving military assistance from Israel. The Israeli military has repeatedly directed airstrikes against the Syrian army and Hezbollah. However, the ISIS military defeat pushed its members and ISIS-linked groups to adjust. Mounting pressure from the Syrian-Iranian-Russian coalition pushed militants to relocate to Lebanon and Jordan, to search for new patrons, sources of funds and bases. The Israeli leadership is concerned that these militants could join some anti-Israeli groups operating in Lebanon and the nearby areas. Thus, Israel faces major security threats at its borders in the areas of the Golan Heights and Galilee, but the strategic threats from Iran and Hezbollah are the main priority. In this case, Israel has full support from the US and the EU, as well as the UK, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.
Netanyahu aimed to convince President Putin that Russia and Iran no longer share any common ground in Syria and proposed some alternatives to Moscow. The Israeli agenda is also heavily supported by the mainstream media and think-tanks, which push the narrative, on a constant basis, that some “hidden” tensions between Moscow and Tehran exist. These “analyses” attempt to showcase some differences in the approaches implemented by Russia and Iran as a major rift, but ignore the fact of close cooperation and joint mid-term goals over the course of the conflict.
While Turkey was providing general support to the Israeli efforts, its delegation, which also visited Moscow, pushed its own agenda. Ankara sees its military gains in northern Syria as a major success and wants to repeat this success on the diplomatic front. The Turkish leadership is specifically concerned with the following issues:
- Military operations by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which are now de-facto backed up by the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian Defense Ministry. The Syrian and Russian military presence west of the YPG-held town of Manbij greatly complicates any prospective Turkish military actions against Kurdish forces there;
- Growing activity of the Russian military forces and their operations across Syria, especially at the contact line with the Turkish Armed Forces and pro-Turkish militant groups;
- Prospective operations against ISIS, particularly the upcoming advance on Raqqah;
- The Russian support for Syrian reconciliation, which would likely lead to at least the creation of a Kurdish cultural autonomy within Syria.
Strategically, Erdogan and his colleagues are concerned over the growing “de-facto” influence of Russia and Iran in the Middle East. In a similar vein, Turkey seeks to expand its own power in Syria and Iraq.
The maximum objectives of Turkish foreign policy in the region:
- To depose President Bashar al-Assad;
- To turn Syria into an Islamic parliamentary republic;
- To push a major pro-Turkish political block into the Syrian parliament (at least 30% of the seats);
- To form a coalition government led by a pro-Turkish prime minister, which will benefit to interests of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel;
- To expel Kurdish political entities and Kurds from the Syrian politic, in general;
- To re-launch the Qatar-Turkey pipeline project.
If Ankara is not able to achieve its maximum goals in Syria, it will try at least to set up a Turkish-controlled quasi-state in northern Syria. Then, Turkey will likely try to annex this area.
The Erdogan government is ready to allow more latitude in order to achieve its goals in Syria. Turkish leadership has prepared a bundle agreement which it believes should be of benefit to Russia. However, this looks questionable, because Turkey does depend on Russia economically, while the reverse is not true. This is especially clear in the energy and tourism sectors.
The formal results of the Russian-Turkish talks showed that the sides were not able to reach a broad agreement. Erdogan even admitted that the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, the two main energy projects, are still in question. The main Turkish economic achievement was that the Russian Government authorized import of oranges, tangerines, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and blackthorns from Turkey and repealed a ban on visas for Turkish guest workers.
Putin and Erdogan also praised the two nations’ cooperation over the Syrian conflict. However, the recent Turkish offensive actions against the Syrian army and Kurdish forces west of Manbij were likely the main reason that the talks did not yield significant progress.
While Saud Arabia and Qatar continue providing financial support to terrorist groups operating in Syria, the main tool of the Saudi Arabian influence is Jabhat Al-Nusra, renamed Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and then to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Today they have almost no independent agenda in Syria. Both Gulf nations are fomenters of violence against the Assad government, and concerned over growing Iranian influence in the region. Growing Iranian influence often leads to the growth of protest sentiments among the oppressed Shia minorities of both nations. The crisis is further fueled by the failure of the Saudi-led intervention into Yemen where the Saudi coalition cannot deliver a devastating blow to the Houthi-Saleh alliance, which is partly backed by Tehran. This has led to enormous military expenditures and the demoralization of the kingdom’s military forces. The rift among the members of the Saudi-led alliance also plays an important role in the current situation. Thus, on a regional level, Saudi Arabia and Qatar act as de-facto allies of Israel. This reality undermines their fraudulent, yet often asserted role as the true defenders of the Arab population in the region.
The security situation is also complicated in Jordan. The high popularity of radical Islamic ideologies and the high number of refugees in the area are the main factors causing the instability.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has decided to intensify military deployments in crisis zones across the Greater Middle East. The Pentagon sent troops and equipment to Syria in order to intensify operations against ISIS. The US Special Forces and the Marines are actively participating in the anti-ISIS operation in western Mosul. Meanwhile, the US contingent is set to be reinforced in Afghanistan. These actions show that the Trump administration has shifted its course from the failed Obama policies aimed to train the so-called “local forces”, to a direct-action approach. This will lead to a deeper involvement of US military forces in operations in crises zones around the world. This approach will likely lead to a relatively fast victory over ISIS in Raqqah and Mosul, but will not resolve the main reason of the conflict – tensions among various local fractions fueled by the activity of various sponsors of “terrorism for democracy”.
Meanwhile, the US State Department declared that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and all factions which merged into it are now considered by the US as a terrorist group. This statement is similar to the position of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance over this “moderate opposition faction” operating in the Syrian province of Idlib. At the same time, the course of the Trump administration is aimed at expanding and strengthening US ties with Saudi Arabia.
In light of these realities, the collapse of ISIS may not mean the end of the Middle East crisis and the region could face another crisis by the end of 2017.
“The Pentagon sent troops and equipment to Syria in order to intensify operations against ISIS. The US Special Forces and the Marines are actively participating in the anti-ISIS operation in western Mosul.”
Eh, no. The US is now occupying parts of Syria. The reason the US sent troops to Syria…was to occupy Syria. So job done. ISIS was always the excuse. The US — I’ll rephrase that — the AZE was bombing Syrian civilians and infrastructure, not ISIS. Can we please stop with the ISIS nonsense? It was a brand name for AZE mercenaries and Western forces.
Your move Putin/Assad…and I hope it is a good one (fingers crossed).
The following is a good analysis of Russia’s strategy, i.e. neutralizing the Kurdish militants. The article above seems to forget that these guys are another proxy force of the AZE. Streuth!
And while I have that bee still buzzing in my bonnet,what in goodness name is this…
“Thus, Israel faces major security threats at its borders in the areas of the Golan Heights and Galilee, but the strategic threats from Iran and Hezbollah are the main priority. In this case, Israel has full support from the US and the EU, as well as the UK, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.”
Israel is the security threat to everyone else in the region, the exact reverse of the substance of that quote. What Israel faces are new obstacles to its hegemonic ambitions. Pffff.
Syria fully liberated from ISIS terrorists – Russian MoD:
“The Russian General Staff has declared the liberation of Syria from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), stating that all territories previously under terrorist control were liberated in the final push by the Syrian Army.
“All terrorist units of ISIS on Syrian soil have been destroyed, and the territory is liberated,” Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov said.
“Therefore, as of today, there’s no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria,” he added.
Gerasimov made the announcement during an annual briefing for foreign military attachés.”
Yes, indeed, that is what Russian MoD declared. Yet … in the same breath they admitted
“… Naturally, there might be some spots of resistance …”.
While Putin then tops it with
“… The peace process, however, will be “a very big and lengthy job” …”.
Whatever that all *actually* means.
(Recall G.W. Bush declaring “victory” in 2003, after a mere couple of months in Iraq?…)
You beat me to it. This report reads like it was sourced from debka or similar.
“The maximum objectives of Turkish foreign policy in the region:
To depose President Bashar al-Assad;
To turn Syria into an Islamic parliamentary republic;
To push a major pro-Turkish political block into the Syrian parliament (at least 30% of the seats);
To form a coalition government led by a pro-Turkish prime minister, which will benefit to interests of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel;”
Are we really sure?
A few points of discussion regarding what Southfront has written above —
Mounting pressure from the Syrian-Iranian-Russian coalition pushed militants [Jabhat Al-Nusra, renamed Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, now Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)] to relocate to Lebanon and Jordan, to search for new patrons, sources of funds and bases. The Israeli leadership is concerned that these militants could join some anti-Israeli groups operating in Lebanon and the nearby areas. Thus, Israel faces major security threats at its borders in the areas of the Golan Heights and Galilee, but the strategic threats from Iran and Hezbollah are the main priority.
Israel has no concern whatsoever regarding Sunnite or other anti Assad proxies because it exerts, with it’s Zionist partners, full control over them. It does not matter the name of the group — if they have not already partnered with the Syrian government they are 100% Zionist proxies.
While Saud Arabia and Qatar continue providing financial support to terrorist groups operating in Syria, the main tool of the Saudi Arabian influence is Jabhat Al-Nusra, renamed Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and then to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Today they have almost no independent agenda in Syria. Both Gulf nations are fomenters of violence against the Assad government, and concerned over growing Iranian influence in the region.
Jabhat Al-Nusra/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, now Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are a joint proxy force controlled by Israeli and other embedded Western Zionist special forces. Southfront seems to be implying confusion and a seperation between pro and anti Israeli proxy forces within the anti Assad camp, but no such thing exists. HTS as it is now known is still funded by mainly Saudi Arabia and still does Zionist bidding without question or remorse.
All anti Assad forces are Zionist forces. Get used to the idea and much will be clarified. Even if ISIS happens to attack Israel at some point — and alt or other media begins stammering about blowback — rest assured, Israel and it’s Zionist partners will still be 100% in charge of ISIS and all Sunnite, Turkish and/or Kurdish proxy forces.
This continued presense in Syria — of an entirely pro-Israel jihadi core — a force built from the ground up by Western military, police and intelligence services over many decades, is still today facilitated by Turkey, which permits full logistical support via it’s own territory nothwithstanding their ‘frienship’ with Russia, most likely via Incirlik and therefore including direct participation by NATO and the Pentagon, in addition to long standing support still being provided by the CIA through it’s own channels, and all in spite of constant false reports of a conflict between it (the CIA) and Pentagon for control of the war.
No such conflict exists. Zionists remain united and they will not be put off their goal, no matter how many decades it takes. What they aim for is not regime change in any one country but regime change in your head, which requires that everyone be sufficiently traumatized, a process that will take decades to complete.
In the shorter term Zionists want to merge their various Islamist jihadi proxy or other forces, including a massive modern mercenary military machine plus airforce operated by Blackwater, to create a Demiurge, funded by Gulf oil and which will no doubt make use of the trillions of dollars of advanced military hardware officially purchased by that country but which in reality it has no ability to use by itself.
Whereupon they will send their Demiurge hither and dither… to pillage the World Island and kill may millions more.
I immediately wondered – half way through the first paragraph – will Syria eventually drive Israel out of Golan Heights ? that would be the most satisfying aspect of the whole Israeli bombing Syria scenario – I hope it can happen because it might cause a domino effect and Israel would have to withdraw from West Bank etc etc etc
Great news from Syria:
“… get prepared to celebrate the reunion of western Euphrates, the TF are about to meet the RGs/NDF and allies from Bukamal. Two villages to go, it will happen on the 6th of December. ISIS on the verge of complete annihilation.
Map below marks all that is missing to be liberated.”
“As the ISIS terrorist group is collapsing” That would be relocating
“Prospective operations against ISIS, particularly the upcoming advance on Raqqah”
Published December 5/2017?
Upcoming advance on Raqqah? That makes zero sense. Raqqah is occupied by PKK/YPG and US forces.
With military bases in place-
Odd this article talks about Turkey’s intent to annex- yet fails to mention how it is the US and Kurds annexed a big chunk of Syria, under the guise of ‘fighting ISIS’
“The Pentagon sent troops and equipment to Syria in order to intensify operations against ISIS.”
Is that a joke?
I have to ask was this article written to demonize Turkey- Usrael’s next target for their Israel 2.0 aka Kurdistan?
Looks like they Partitioned Syria, and they must stay in Syria Forever, unless the region # 7, would be fixed for GOOD.
The Club Of Rome – The Ten Kingdoms