Russian-American relations have recently hit another low due to the situation around Syria, largely due to the fact that that Moscow and Washington are disagreeing on virtually every single issue, except for the principal need to combat terrorism.
The Americans are fully aware of the fact that Russia has received an upper hand in the struggle for Syria due to the recent success of the new round of Astana talks, which allows Moscow to enjoy the much needed space for diplomatic maneuvering. Hence, the initiative has been taken away from Washington, with Russia shaping the situation in accordance with its national interests.
Yet, The New York Times would soberly admit that:
After six years and with some 400,000 people killed, almost any plan to end or reduce the carnage in Syria would be welcome. So the Trump administration would be derelict if it did not give serious consideration to a plan for a cease-fire and safe zones brokered by Russia, with the backing of Turkey and Iran.
However, Washington chose to openly oppose the agreements reached in Astana, largely due to the fact that it puts Iran among the observer countries that are to be entrusted with the duty of ensuring compliance with the ceasefire norms in the so-called de-escalation zones. Washington argues that Iran has been too busy supporting the Syrian government to serve as a “guarantor of peace in the fight against terrorism”. US State Department, while commenting results of the recent Astana meeting, announced that Iran’s activities in Syria have led to the intensification of bloodshed in the country, so it’s convinced that the support that Tehran provided to the legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad has only aggravated the suffering of the Syrian people.
In response to the agreement reached in Astana, Washington has openly stated, speaking on behalf of the so-called international coalition that it leads, that it is not planning to stop bombing Syria. Thus, the White House has once again demonstrated to the world that it’s convinced of its exclusive right to settle international disputes, while achieving its own goals with the use of brute force in the process.
As if to reaffirm this position, Washington has recently launched an air strike against a column of Syrian government troops inside the protected de-escalation zone, at the crossings of the borders of the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Jordan.
Then Washington’s newly reestablished anti-Iranian sentiments have been reemphasized by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis who claimed that the column was attacked due to the fact that it was allegedly led by Iranian officers. It is also noteworthy that the international coalition led by the United States would put this attack on the list of operations conducted against ISIS militants.
So there’s no need to be surprised that the protesting voices of Damascus, Moscow and Tehran were supported by a number of independent analysts that would point out that yet another instance of American aggression against the Syrian government forces is a gross violation of all international norms and an assault on the sovereignty of this country.
For instance, the American Conservative is convinced that the US can easily be pulled into a new conflict because of its support for opposition groups inside Syria and the decision to expand the unauthorized war on ISIS into Syria. This influential media source would add that for the second time this year, US forces have committed an act of war against the Syrian government and its allies inside their own country, and there has been no authorization from Congress or the UN for any of it. As long as the US keeps backing anti-regime insurgents in Syria and is willing to attack pro-regime forces as part of that support, there will be a danger that an incident like this could lead to a larger conflict with the Syrian government and its patrons.
For the second time in a year, the US is committing an act of aggression against the Syrian government and its allies on the territory of this country, although Washington did not get permission from either the Congress or the United Nations. And while the US supports those who oppose the official rebel of Damascus, there will always be a danger that such an incident could lead to a larger conflict with the Syrian government and its supporters. Each time US forces attack the Syrian government and their allies, it becomes more likely that someone on their side will retaliate against US forces in Syria or Iraq. The above mentioned article sums this situation up by noting that there’s a lot of reasons why the US should be looking for ways to disentangle itself from Syria’s war.
If America’s sole goal in Syria is the destruction of ISIS, then why does America oppose the Syrian army troops, which has been on the forefront of the struggles against this terrorist group for years, notes the Lebanese newspaper Al-Ahed. Its author seems to be unable to answer the question what is more important for Americans: to put an end to the activities of this terrorist organization in Syria or to destroy the Syrian Arab army that is recapturing Syria’s land from radical militants? Or is it trying to drive a wedge between Syrian and Iraqi forces before the assault on Raqqa beings?
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”