Putin Defies Trump’s Demands to Expel Iran From Syria
Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov
Vladimir Putin is done making concessions to the U.S.
over Iran’s presence in Syria.
Having pushed Iranian-backed forces away from the frontier with the Israeli-held Golan Heights in July, the Russian president is defying the Trump administration’s demand to expel Iran completely from Syria after the civil war there winds down. With Washington’s credibility on the ropes both in Moscow and Tehran, and the U.S. eager to end its involvement in Syria, the Russians and Iranians may well prevail.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday urged the U.S. to abandon its demands for Iran to surrender its influence in the region, describing them as “unprofessional and unrealistic.’’
The issue is expected to be a central one when the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet in Tehran on Friday to cement roles in postwar Syria. They’ll also try to work out their disagreement over an impending offensive against the last major opposition bastion in Idlib, which risks sending a new wave of refugees across the Turkish border.
All three powers are under separate U.S. sanctions.
The need to map out postwar spheres of influence comes at a critical juncture in Syria’s civil war. Russia’s intervention in the conflict three years ago turned the tide in President Bashar al-Assad’s favor at a time when he held less than a quarter of his country’s territory. Now, major patrons Moscow and Iran are looking to consolidate gains as the last major battle in Idlib approaches.
Russian warplanes are already bombing Idlib, and Syrian troops have shelled it. Almost 3 million civilians live there, and the prospects for a humanitarian catastrophe are high if the government doesn’t allow an escape route. Trump warned Assad this week against committing a “slaughter” in the northwest province.
With Russia, the American president is holding out incentives, not threats. He’s dangled the prospect of rolling back punitive steps against Russia if he gets what he wants in Syria, but Putin has little reason to trust that, Russian officials say. Even if he did, Iran isn’t ready to back down, though it faces crippling U.S. sanctions after Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Russia and Iran are almost in an identical situation,’’ said Andrey Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a research group set up by the Kremlin. “They’re getting demands but are being offered nothing in return.’’
Trump, whose presidency is clouded by Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, has made countering Iran a key strategic goal. Securing an Iranian exit from Syria would give him much-needed ammunition against critics of his Kremlin outreach.
But with bipartisan consensus on the need to squeeze Russia, Congress is turning up the heat on Moscow, weighing additional sanctions including banning purchases of Russian sovereign debt and cutting off Russian state-run banks from the U.S. financial system.
After a summit in Helsinki in July between Putin and Trump, Russia convinced Iran to pull back its troops and allied militias 85 kilometers (50 miles) from the Israeli-held Golan.
To coax Russia into greater concessions, National Security Adviser John Bolton last month raised the prospect of an eventual withdrawal of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria’s northeast.
An American pullout could only happen when all Iranian fighters, as well as their weapons and militia allies, are also gone, a person familiar with the talks said. The U.S. would also have to be satisfied that Islamic State has been completely crushed in Syria, the person added.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, without mentioning Iran, laid down an additional condition for withdrawing American troops on Aug. 28: the United Nations-led talks in Geneva on a political transition in Syria to loosen Assad’s grip on power must be “making traction.’’
That’s totally unrealistic, said Marianna Belenkaya, a Middle East expert in Moscow. “If Assad takes back Idlib, he will control nearly the entire country apart from some areas, mainly under U.S. protection,’’ she said in a commentary for the Carnegie Moscow Center. “This will make the Syrian regime even less flexible in the Geneva process.”
Making it even harder for the U.S. to achieve its goals is the intertwined relationship between Assad and his Iranian patrons. The Iranians have deeply penetrated the Syrian armed forces, limiting Russia’s ability to use any leverage over Syria, said two people with knowledge of the matter in Moscow.
“It’s in the interest of the Syrian government at the moment for Iranian troops and advisers to be in Syria,’’ said Foad Izadi, a foreign policy specialist at the University of Tehran.
Despite threats of U.S. reprisals against any new Assad chemical attack in Idlib, there’s no sign the U.S. is willing to intervene to reverse the situation on the ground.
“In a war, mere diplomatic language won’t suffice when the other side is determined to use military force,” said Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria. “American rhetoric isn’t going to slow down the Russians, Syrians and Iranians for very long.’’
_________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
Once Putin made it clear that Russia was going all in against Idlib,
it didn't take long for Erdogan to remind himself that the Kurds are
the NWO's thorn in his side and his bigger problem.
Now with he and Vlad on the same page they are the new powerbrokers.
Idlib will be demilitarized.
But the final shape of the new Syria is still in play.
And these two have the ball.
Putin & Erdogan agree Idlib buffer zone to avert new Syria crisis
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian and Turkish troops are to enforce a new demilitarised zone in Syria’s Idlib region from which “radical” rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
Putin told a joint news conference with Erdogan: “We agreed that by Oct. 15 (we will) create along the contact line between the armed opposition and government troops a demilitarised zone of a depth of 15-20 km, with the withdrawal from there of radically-minded rebels, including al-Nusra.”
“By Oct. 10, at the suggestion of the Turkish president, (we agreed) on the withdrawal from that zone of the heavy weapons, tanks, rockets systems and mortars of all opposition groups,” Putin said, with Erdogan standing alongside him.
“The demilitarised zone will be monitored by mobile patrol groups of Turkish units and units of Russian military police.”
Erdoğan said Syrian Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates river posed the biggest threat for Syria’s future.
Jan Egeland, an adviser to the UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said: “Hope at long last for 3 million Syrian civilians in Idlib: Russia and Turkey agree on plan that may avert horrific war among displaced people. The Syrian government and armed opposition groups must respect deal, not provoke bloodshed and allow humanitarian access.
Suspected Israeli missiles were fired at several Syrian locations on Monday, including the coastal city of Latakia, , Homs and Hama, according to Syrian state media. The latest missiles, sent from sea, struck close to Russian military bases.
Just the Israelis reminding everybody that either
way they are not gonna allow an Iranian fiefdom. _________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
Presenting The Syria Deception:
Al Qaeda Goes to Hollywood
An exclusive Grayzone investigative documentary rips the cover
off of the most sophisticated and expensive campaign of humanitarian
interventionist propaganda in modern history.
By Dan Cohen
For decades, Western governments, corporate media and Hollywood have engaged in a project of mass deception to manufacture consent for military interventions. Waged in the name of lofty ideals like freedom, human rights and democracy, US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya wound up bringing death, destruction and even the return of slavery to the African continent. As the wounds from those catastrophes festered, Washington embarked on its most ambitious project yet, marketing another war of regime change, this time in Syria.
This investigative mini-doc exposes the cynical deceptions and faux humanitarianism behind the campaign to sell the dirty war on Syria. It will also demonstrate the lengths that the US and its allies have gone to develop new ploys to tug at Western heartstrings and convince even liberal minded skeptics of war that a US intervention was necessary — even if it meant empowering Al Qaeda’s largest franchise since 9/11 and its theocratic allies among the insurgency.
Big lies and little children have formed the heart of what is perhaps the most expensive, sophisticated, and shameless propaganda blitz ever conducted. Welcome to the Syria Deception.
Hollywood’s role in promoting war is nothing new. The American film industry has collaborated over the years with the State Department, the Pentagon, and the intelligence services to produce an array of films burnishing the military’s image, revising controversial US actions, and propagating official accounts of critical events through action blockbusters.
As the American role in destabilizing Syria expanded, so too did the number of high budget documentaries produced on the crisis. This film will examine what is perhaps the most ambitious perception management documentary project of them all: Cries From Syria.
Produced by HBO, debuted at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and now available on Netflix, Cries from Syria was widely promoted in mainstream Western media outlets and was even screened in the International Court of Justice. The feature length documentary has been also promoted by public figures from the neoconservative Nikki Haley, who as us ambassador to the united nations has agitated for regime change from Syria to Iran, to recently-deceased rock musician Chris Cornell, who included footage from the film in his final music video before he committed suicide. pop diva Cher even composed an original song for the film.
Watch as I attended a screening of the film on Capitol Hill in May 2017 that brought together some of the key lawmakers, pseudo-experts, corporate media pundits, and professional regime change lobbyists behind the Syria deception.
If you want to see more exclusive content like this that confronts and exposes Washington’s dangerous bipartisan foreign policy establishment consensus, become a Grayzone patron here.
Dan Cohen is a journalist and filmmaker. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. Dan is a correspondent at RT America and tweets at @DanCohen3000.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum