Russia cannot keep its foreign policy ambitions. But since the successes of the Russian diplomats in the West are not particularly great due to the global situation after the Ukrainian crisis, most of the efforts are directed to Syria. It is here that the Kremlin asserts its superiority over all the other Middle Eastern players and becomes competitive in the struggle for the entire region.
From the very beginning of the civil war in the SAR, Russia supported Bashar Assad, strictly speaking, it supported him even earlier, when the protests began and the world community led by the United States began to actively throw mud at the Syrian leader. But our leadership continued to reckon with its legitimacy and was not going to just leave it as it once was done with Muammar Gaddafi. We also seemed to be trying to protect the latter, but no one did anything specifically to save him. As a result, he was killed. Asad turned out to be more valuable for us, because it was in his country that one of the few Russian military bases abroad remained, and the Russian oligarchy has long had species for Syrian oil.
In general, our diplomacy worked as actively as possible, using international platforms to protect the Syrian president. When this tool was exhausted, and the threat of imminent death loomed over Bashar Asad, the Russian military was sent to the Arab Republic. And now we can hardly be squeezed out of Syria by force or some special sanctions, except that our economy cannot withstand and the need to urgently reduce spending will force the contingent to withdraw.
But so far it has not reached this point, and Russian diplomats are building ambitious projects to increase Russia’s influence in Syria. So, the other day there was a meeting of representatives of the Russian Federation, Iran and Turkey in the framework of the “Astana format.” It was attended by Vladimir Putin’s special representative for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev. After the talks, he gave many comments, reflected on the outcome of the talks, and so on. He stated, in particular, that the parties are close to completing the formation of the Constitutional Committee, which will create a new Constitution of the country. He said that the Syrian opposition is generally dissatisfied with the presence of the United States in their blazing state and the like. One of the most high-profile statements Lavrentiev can be considered about the Kurds. Our diplomat believes that to solve the Syrian crisis, it is necessary to involve the Syrian Kurds in the negotiations. He probably means that the involvement of the Kurdish leaders in the “Astana meetings” would benefit the process of restoring the Syrian state.
It’s just impossible to interpret his words in any other way, for the Russian Federation has practically no access to some alternative formats, for example, to Geneva’s. So, I suppose, Lavrentiev wants the Kurdish delegation to come to Astana next time, or maybe to Sochi. Well, there is a logic in this, except that it is completely incomprehensible how the special representative of the Russian president for Syria is going to seat Turks and Kurds at one table. Moreover, Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself at the summit in Argentina once again confirmed the readiness of the Turkish army to enter Syria and clear the eastern shore of the Euphrates from the “separatist terrorist groups.” He meant precisely the detachments of the people’s self-defense and, probably, the political force controlling them — the Democratic Union party. Against this background, Lavrentyev’s statement looks very strange, if we don’t forget that Turkey is one of the three main participants and creators of the Astana format itself.
Perhaps this is a kind of nod to the Kurds in order to turn their eyes towards the Russian Federation. Perhaps, in the future, somehow it will be possible to weaken the influence of the United States on them.
Netanyahu decided in vain that since Russia is crowding friends with him, you can attack Damascus
Russian political scientist and orientalist Oleg Gushchin believes that the diplomat’s statement is rather unexpected, but he probably has some reason to say so.
- On one moan, everything is logical in his words – all those who represent real strength should participate in the negotiations. On the other hand, I do not think that the Turks agreed to this. And sacrifice Turkey for the sake of Kurds.
Russia does not need it. Only yesterday, Putin met with Erdogan, and they called each other “dear friend” and the like. Friendship with Turkey is worth a lot. So it is very unexpected, somehow unpredictable. But there is such a moment that in open diplomacy, no normal politician will make any statement before consulting. Therefore, we must try to understand what exactly our diplomat meant.
– Turkey does not allow any negotiations with the National Self-Defense Detachments and the Kurdistan Workers Party. Maybe it was what Lavrentiev did not mean? Maybe he allowed the involvement of some third-party political Kurdish forces of Syria, which in Turkey are not recognized as terrorists and are Ankara is ready to shake their hands?
- Well, of course, it is possible to attract some “cardboard jokers”. But what is the use of this for Syria? Although, perhaps, there is a plan to give more importance to these negotiations that are taking place in Kazakhstan. Then yes, there is meaning. But so far nothing is clear.