Published On: Sun, Oct 28th, 2018

What will happen in Syria next and who are the main players in the region?

What will happen in Syria next and who are the main players in the region?

On 27 October 2018, the historical four-way summit about the Syria conflict was held in Istanbul and we all heard and read messages from leaders expressing reconciliation decisions and goodwill, once again. All four leaders who attended the meeting heralded a harmonious cooperation for the future of Syria.

The question is “Which leaders, or more precisely, what states gave those messages”. Obviously, the answer is Russia, Turkey, Germany and France. However, we see that Turkey and Russia are the only ones with truly active and important existence in the region, among all.

We know that although France and Germany also have expectations in the region (mainly economic) the interests and expectations of the United States which is one of two main playmakers in the Middle East (together with its closest ally Israel) are very strategic and of equal importance to those of Russia’s, if not more.

If we include in the equation Iran which would like to have a say in the region and Syria the direct addressee of the issue we can easily grasp the difficulty of the issue to be solved. In this respect, we certainly believe Syria and the USA should have been at the table as well, not to forget Iran either. Therefore, one cannot help asking why those countries were not at the meeting instead of Germany and France which do not have direct involvement in the conflict, really.

The fact is it should not be surprising to see in the future that the decisions to be taken at that table are not binding for the USA, in specific. At the end of the day, the whole thing will come back to and depend on the agreement to be reached between Russia and the United States – despite the image Turkey has created by by sending troops and organizing meetings/summits etc. (and the image that she deserves to have a say at the table, eventually).

It is a clear fact that Russia will never leave this region where it has already been well established. This fact alone will be a good enough reason for the USA not to withdraw troops to downgrade its power in the region. Moreover, Israel will no doubt prefer to have the US in the ME, for its own security.

The question is “What will happen after all, then”. Well, we can say straightaway that Russia will have accomplished its strategic plan (which has always been to get down to the Mediterranean and have a permanent existence in the Middle East). Just to remind, the United States was previously the dominant power and the only playmaker in the region (thanks to its military bases and Israel), really and Russia was virtually absent. However, the picture has dramatically changed now and Russia has secured and is determined to keep its position as one of the main playmakers in the area with authority equal (if not more) to that of the USA. Thus, Putin will have made a Russian dream of ages come true and reserved his distinct place among all leaders in the history of his country.

Assad, in our opinion, will remain to rule because he has learned to work with Putin – which is certainly a big plus for the Russian leader. On the other hand, Russia may probably not even mind the US keeping some of its power in the region long as both countries do not forget an eventual confrontation between the two super powers would cause equal damage on both.

As for Turkey, she will continue to be one of the countries with the most delicate position. Although Turkey does not want any formations that are the continuation of the terrorist organization in the south, it might not be able to face the risks of organizing military operation in a region likely to be protected by the US forces (without the consent of the United States that is). Thus, if the United States does not decide to give up on the Kurdish groups such as YPG (which Turkey considers as terror organization linked to PKK in Turkey) located south of Turkey’s borders Turkey might even have to live with prevailing conditions imposed by the US.

The question is “How long would this picture be valid for”. If the United States, Israel or even Iran does not engage in any irrational steps such as major military operations etc. this could be the picture in the region for a while. We hope such an undesirable assumption never comes true, anyway.

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