Thursday, July 6, 2017

Will there be a grand deal with Russia to solve the Syria conflict? Maybe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sec State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump. The Daily Beast

The United States is signaling that they may be willing to coordinate with Russia in Syria against ISIS and will accept leaving Bashar al-Assad in power. The Daily Beast. The new plan would apparently leave Assad in power and agree to "safe zones" in Syria. It would also rely on Russian forces to keep the peace in areas liberated by the Assad regime while US backed forces would continue to police areas they liberate. Both the United States and Russia seem to agree without such an agreement local forces could end up fighting giving ISIS and opportunity to regroup. If the efforts to work with Russia are successful it would allow both governments to begin to work on ending the Syrian conflict. The United States would also accomplish a major goal by working with Russia because doing so would weaken Iran's role in the conflict. Donald Trump will have his first meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 conference. 

My Comment:
Very good news and a very good round up by The Daily Beast. I don't usually link to them because of their obvious bias but in this case it was kept to a minimum and it had some really good information. 

They did leave something obvious out of the story though. Why this discussion was even possible. In the past, with the media losing their mind about the Russian hacking conspiracy theory, it would not have been possible for Donald Trump to meet with Putin and try to work with him on our mutual interests. Since that story is dead now, killed by a series of bad media practices, a lack of evidence and general stupidity all around, he can actually work with Putin without being crucified by the media. That's the hope at least, Donald Trump could cure cancer and the media would still find a way to attack him for it. 

The fact that I had to write that last paragraph is disgusting. Imagine how many lives could have been saved if it had been politically possible to do this right after Trump was elected? The war probably got extended by months because our media is so irresponsible. There would still have been hiccups, most notably the Syrians completely unnecessary and politically suicidal chemical weapons attack, but with cooperation with the Russians, perhaps even that attack could have been prevented. 

So will this plan work? Well it's important to note that I think it's pretty obvious that ISIS will fall no matter what at this point. Our new policy of surrounding and killing large numbers of ISIS fighters, as opposed to letting them flee in an effort to reduce civilian casualties, is working. ISIS is almost kicked out of Iraq and in Syria they only really control two major cities, Raqqa and Deir ez Zor, and Raqqa is under siege. Working with the Russians would speed up this process a bit, but it won't change the fact that ISIS is doomed either way 

So why do it then? Well, speeding up ISIS's defeat is an admirable goal. Even if it only speeds it up a little, it is probably worth it to do so. Working with the Russians and Syrians will put additional pressure on ISIS and may force them to move their forces around, further weakening them. It would also ensure that there were less places for ISIS to escape to and less chance of infighting between anti-ISIS forces. 

We also have to consider that ISIS isn't the only genocidal terrorist group in the game. There is also al-Nusra (AKA Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) the formally al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist army that is mostly active in the west of Syria. While ISIS has been greatly degraded al-Nusra is still going strong and without their defeat as well, we will never have peace in Syria. Working with the Russians will help ensure that they will be defeated. 

Doing so will also defeat the goals of Iran. I have posted before about how Iran's main goal in Syria is establishing a highway between Iran and Lebanon so they can better threaten Israel.Both Russia and America don't want that to happen and we are both allied with Israel. Our plan that would leave areas liberated by US allied forces in the hands of those forces and not in the hands of the Iranians would neatly prevent that. 

Establishing safe areas would also be a major boon. Not only would that protect the civilians still left in Syria, it might convince many that fled that it is now safe to come back. It would also prevent unfortunate incidences like the US shootdown of a Syrian SU-22. 

A note though. These safe zones are being described as "no fly zones" by the media. Though that is an accurate statement it's important to note that this isn't what Hillary Clinton and the hawks in Congress wanted. They wanted a total no fly zone that would stop the Syrians from flying at all and force a confrontation with Russia that could spiral into the war. That obviously won't happen if the Russians are on board with the plan. 

So will the plan happen? I don't know. It depends on the Russians and the Syrians. Our biggest concern is making sure that Syria doesn't do another chemical weapons attack. They haven't so far but if a grand deal is made and then they decide to do another chemical attack it would be a huge embarrassment for the US government and it would likely torpedo the whole deal. Though there are likely to be other sticking points, if the deal doesn't happen it will likely because of Syria's chemical weapons. 

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