Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Russia's new plan for peace in Syria?

President Trump and President Putin. Washington Post/EPA/Sputnik. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a new peace deal in Syria and has pitched the plan to President Trump and other leaders. Washington Post. The bare outline for the plan involves creating safe zones for civilians, grounding the Syrian Air Force and possibly creating buffer zones between combatants staffed by international troops. The buffer zones would be in four regions in this country, including the area east of Damascus, Idlib province, the area north of Homs and the border region with Jordan. Importantly, Russia has not discussed this plan with Iran, giving some needed space that the Arab powers demanded from a peace deal. Putin also informed German Chancelor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan of the plan. 

My Comment:
Sorry for using the Washington Post as a source for this post. Though the article itself had good information, it also had some very obvious and irrelevant attacks  against President Trump. Which is another reason why people don't trust the media anymore. When the Washington Post can't resist attacking Donald Trump in a situation where he may be on the verge of helping to end the bloodiest and most horrible conflict in modern history, then you know their bias is out of control. Unfortunately, I couldn't find another source that had this information, so I didn't have much of a choice. 

As for the deal itself, I think it could work, if only people could get along. Obviously creating safe zones where nobody is allowed to attack would reduce the amount of casualties. It would also relieve some of the pressure on Europe as fewer migrants would try to flee and some might even return to their homes if they became safe. 

I'm a little skeptical about the "buffer" zones, as the Post article described it. Separating the combatants would certainly end the fighting but UN peacekeepers are often more trouble than they are worth. They often commit many crimes, including rape, and don't always actually keep the peace. I'd prefer if it was US or Russian troops, or troops from more professional armies, but there are no guarantees who it would be. Still, even bad peacekeepers would be an improvement over the current situation. 

I do believe that grounding the Syrian Air Force is a tempting offer and one that is hard to pass up. Much of President Trump's problem with the Syrian government is their continued use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombings. With the Air Force grounded the Syrians would no longer have a delivery system for their chemical weapons and barrel bombs and would have to rely on the Russians for air support who, presumably, would care more about civilian casualties.

The fact that the Russians got the Syrians to go along with this means that I think there is a chance that this plan would work. The Syrians have essentially saved by their Air Force and to ground their planes means they have some assurance that the Russians will continue to protect them. The Syrians are giving up quite a bit for the chance at peace. 

It also seems that both Germany and Turkey are willing to go along with the deal. Both get something out of it. The Germans have been flooded by migrants, many of them from Syria. A peace deal with safe zones would relieve some of the pressure they are facing and could even encourage some migrants to leave. Plus, they have the same concern about chemical weapons that we have

Turkey gains from this deal as well. Not only does their Syrian enemy become weaker they can ensure that some of their troops are deployed and that their concerns with the Kurds are addressed. Plus, Turkey has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees and will gain the same benefits that the Germans will get by giving those people a place to go back to.  

Will Trump go along with it? I think there is a good chance. Remember, Trump does have an America First foreign policy. He has three major goals in Syria, as far as I can tell. First he wants to defeat ISIS and other extremist organizations, and with a peace deal and safe zones in place, he can focus his efforts on defeating them. Second, he doesn't want to see anymore chemical attacks and this deal would greatly reduce the chances of that happening. Third, he wants to avoid a conflict where we have to overthrow the Syrian government. This plan would accomplish all three of these goals, assuming it succeeds. 

Trump would also probably get some credit for forging the peace deal as well. It's hard not to argue that Putin didn't call him because he was afraid of what Trump would do if he though that he couldn't work with the Russians anymore. Putin may have came up with this plan, but Trump is the one that forced his hand. And if a peace deal is made and it works out than the media will have to give him at least a little credit. 

The only thing that could derail it is chemical weapons. Though Russia has guaranteed that Syria would give up their chemical weapons, they have not done so and have used them again. Any plan to end the war in Syria would probably need a stronger agreement from Russia to ensure that the Syrians gave up what remains of their stockpiles. 

The other problem is that ISIS, al-Nusra and other extremist groups will not simply lie down and die. Any deal that doesn't fundamentally deal with those groups is probably doomed to fail. The article didn't mention what Russia proposes to do with ISIS and al-Nusra. I hope that is one of those details that will be worked out and worked out to our favor. 

The best possible outcome of this deal is actual peace and an ironclad agreement where the United States, Russia, Turkey and even the EU nations, all work together to destroy ISIS and al-Nusra. With the combined forces of all those countries, ISIS could not survive and Islamic terrorism would face a massive setback.  

No comments:

Post a Comment