A New Discourse!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Wed 12 April / Apr 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

It is not per se the US airstrike itself, which targeted the heart of the Shuairat Syrian military airport, which shook things up in Syria.

It is the political weight of it, combined with recent US positions and statements, particularly Rex Tillirson’s, US secretary of state, the eve of his visit to Moscow, which turns the whole thing head over heels.

Later, the morning after his meet with the respective ministers, Tillerson says that the rule of Assad’s family in Syria is soon to end!

With that, the United States will have cleared some of the picture. The goals of the US in Syria are clearing up.

First, the US administration will go beyond Obama’s passiveness, more or less, to direct and active military involvement in Syria, including building alliances within Syrian territories.

Along these lines, the US will no longer leave the military field up for Russia to do as it may.

Second, there is an underway redefinition and reprioritisation of US goals in a duality which entails both combating ISIS and scaling down Iran’s presence.

Finally, America has decided on Assad’s fate; that he will not remain in power for long.

The US has shifted from the previous position to leave Assad’s fate to be decided by his people, to actually persisting on putting his reign to rest, by insisting he is to have no role whatsoever in the interim government.

Before that, the US had abandoned the pre-conditional removal of Bashar Assad during the transition phase, but not for long.

The situation has changed, and the US have decided.

The fate of Assad is no longer a mystery. And on every single level, this constitutes a magnificent turn in the general discourse of the US approach on Syria.

Accordingly, this means that the US now has at least some kind of idea as to how they plan to remove the president, especially now that they have reignited the Europeans’ appetite.

That said, the question is how? What is their plan?

The Americans now are wagering they can seduce the Russians into turning away from this solid and ironclad Iranian-Assad coalition and joining the US camp.

Notably, the Syrian-Iranian alliance has been quite effective in the field, and has certainly flipped the tables around a few times.

Hence, the US has times over since, tried to reassure Russia that they will have a role in Syria’s future, but without Assad, hoping to break the Russo-Iranian-Syrian triad.

So, is it possible that Putin may let Assad go, practically? Is there this kind of reciprocated trust between the two; Russia and the US to carry this arrangement through? Most probably not.

Typically, the Americans may carry a variety of prizes for the Russians should they agree to abandon Assad or decide to engage in the political process without him.

In return, the Americans may end up rearranging the Crimea situation to the Russians’ liking, and later lift the economic sanctions.

Tillerson’s visit to Moscow is important to the uncovering and perhaps the convergence of both views and the reality behind Russia’s furious response.

Two scenarios are possible here. Either the Russians will make true to their threats, which will put US on a collision course with Russia as they baffle US allies in Syria, or it’s all just a show to cover up their real conditions and terms for the negotiation.

Clearly, the Russians are not in love with Assad, as Arab politicians are quite aware as well that they are not exactly fund of the Iranians’ religious and political discourses, let alone their agenda.

Still, they see no convincing strategic alternative to Assad, and have very little trust in other involved parties; mainly America and the West.

So, the one million dollar question is: if the Russians do not take the United States’ new position with easy and persist on their alliances with Iran and Assad, what is the US going to do about it?

How will the US pursue their goals? How will this discord between the US and Russia reflect on the Syrian reality as well as on Jordan’s strategic interests in Daraa in light of previous Russo-Jordanian accords on the ceasefire?!

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.