Russia’s strategy on Syria, US

TEHRAN, Jul. 29 (MNA) –The US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit ended with many concerns. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement, the meeting still had positive results as the two presidents addressed Middle East problems, and reached an agreement on Syrian issues.

The two sides agreed to address tensions in the south and east of Syria, to lower the level of infiltration and maintain the security borders of the region, along with a general principle on the keeping Bashar al-Assad in office as leader of Syria. He expressed his hope that Russia would use its influence to secure a ceasefire in Syria and also give Russia the dominant role over Assad’s fate.

Perhaps the G20 summit may be a turning point in the fate of Syria to escape domestic conflict, but given the two totally contradictory views of the United States and Russia, the insistence of Trump on the withdrawal of Assad on the one hand, and the continued support of Putin for him, observers’ eyes will remain on Putin’s goals in the Middle East. Given the two results of these negotiations, namely, the retention of Assad and the transfer of the fate of Syria to Russia, can Russia be successful in winning a big game in the Mideast going forward?

For many years the Middle East has been a critical area at the center of the contest for power in the world. Russia’s foreign policy has been focused on the Mideast, as has that of the US Russia essentially helped Assad more or less win the war in Syria, and has therefore become a larger player in the geopolitics of the region and the world, too.

Russia has always been a supporter of Syria since the onset of the internal crisis in Syria, with political assistance to the Assad regime starting in September 2015 with military aid. The military strategy was an option that was put on the agenda. (According to a military document planned for 2014, the Russian military doctrine was changed from defensive to offensive). The presence of the Russian Air and Ground Force along with the logistics capacities at sea was a demonstration of unique capabilities of the Russian military.

Subsequently, Putin’s ambitions for gaining more in the region came with the arrival of Donald Trump in America and policies that could be factors in boosting or weakening Putin’s power and influence. But Russia continues to play an effective role in the region. Trump may, however, add tension to relations with Putin but the recent talks in Helsinki suggest a drift towards détente. In a more complex situation, both Russia and the United States have come up against their own national interests in a historically competitive struggle, in part because of the sharp contradictions in the war in the Middle East. In an optimistic mood, Moscow can engage Washington on strategic issues and pursue its influence in the region as another power in a more multipolar world. This would be the most desirable situation in Moscow’s view. Putin is pleased not to decide on the future of Syria all alone. He not only won over the G-20 summit, but also succeeded in implementing his Middle Eastern strategy.

Putin’s Middle East strategy is based on the modernization and promotion of Russia as a global power, and in recent years it has displayed its abilities in different stages in light of developments in Syria. The following has shown Russia’s effect for multilateral regional cooperation: the US-Russian talks on Syria’s disarmament in September 2013 and its implementation in February 2015 under the control of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the strengthening of the Russian-US cease-fire in Syria in February 2016 and the boosting of multilateral peace-building Syria.

Basically, Moscow is now trying to introduce itself as a pragmatic, reliable, and experienced player in the Middle East. He is able to control the situation in the region with diplomatic and military means. The Russian military operations in Syria were a symbol of Russia’s regional power, a prerequisite for the imposition of its international ambitions. Under current conditions, the engineering of the Syrian Peace Treaty with the United States could be a clear sign of Russia moving closer to the key strategic goals.


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