Saturday, September 5, 2015

RUSSIAN DIPLOMACY OR MUSCLES?: Commentary by Ghassan Kadi 2 September 2015

Commentary by Ghassan Kadi
2 September  2015

Under he title of “The American Cowboy Gets Rebuffed Before the Russian Tsar”, Amin Abou-Rashed wrote an article on Al-Manar that analyses recent diplomatic developments regarding the multi-faceted Russia’s talk initiatives in the Levant.
According to his analysis, the author emphasizes that its plans in the Levant have failed and that it has no option but to give the Russian initiative a chance, otherwise, the spread of ISIS is going to go more out of control thus endangering American allies as well as America itself. The Iran nuclear deal is part-and-parcel of the whole scenario, because without a pivotal role for Iran, the Russian initiative will not have the power on the ground to make it happen.
Even the Saudis and Netanyahu are now saying (according to the article) that they do not mind Iran having peaceful nuclear technology for energy generation; a major step back and a face-saving attempt, although they both keep reiterating that they are totally opposed to giving Iran any opportunity to develop nukes.
Within this climate, there are talks about direct military intervention in Syria. The Saker, among other analysts, sees this to be unlikely.
Russia's leverage now is more diplomatic than military. Everyone (even the US) seems to be willing to give the diplomatic Russian ME initiative a go, so why use military prowess whilst diplomacy is working? Some would argue that the military prowess is needed to combat ISIS not the former anti-Syrian cocktail, but if Russia's diplomatic efforts succeed, and if they manage to convince the former/current supporters of ISIS to stop the lifeline support, then the Syrian Army should be able to do the necessary clean up.
Furthermore, on the military front, the Syrian Army is always gaining ground. It has not used all of its might and it does not need more help than the one it already has. If indeed Syria would ever need extra boots on the ground or planes in the skies, Iran will lend a hand before Russia needs to. After all, Iranian troops can enter Syria in Hezbollah uniforms.

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