Discussion had intensified recently about the approach of a Russian-American deal to be announced in August. Expectations and leaks have grown about the substance of this deal, to the point that some outlets have discussed the comprehensiveness of the solution and the possibility of Bashar al-Assad remaining in power for one or two months following the formation of a transitional government, and then leaving Syria. Other leaks meanwhile discussed the possibility of the two nations participating in overseeing a political transition process through a military council steering a transitional period culminating in free elections. Then a number of statements were issued by De Mistura and his aides about the possibility of resuming Geneva talks in August. De Mistura said that he was consulting with the United Nations Secretary-General to specify a date for their resumption.
But, surprisingly, Russia and Iran’s militias then launched a heavy assault on Aleppo last month, allowing Iranian forces and allied Iraqi and Lebanese sectarian militias, as well as what remains of the Syrian army still loyal to Assad, to impose a siege on eastern Aleppo.
The month of August came and there was no official announcement about any clear deal in sight between the Russians and Americans regarding a solution in Syria. Rather, the month of August opened with a counterattack staged by Syrian armed opposition forces in Aleppo, which managed to expel Iran’s militias and Assad’s forces from many areas around the city, and are now close to breaking the siege on eastern Aleppo. Indeed, they may even besiege regime positions and Iran’s militias in western Aleppo.
There was no joint announcement on an American-Russian deal, and indeed the American president has commented on the lack of a deal and the lack of trust between the two parties around Syria. Obama said that eliminating ISIS in Syria was linked with the defeat of Assad, which is the complete opposite of the Russian position, which says that Russia is supporting Assad in order to defeat ISIS and other takfiri groups. This totally negates what had been leaked about the Russian-American deal regarding Assad’s fate. Elsewhere, President Obama said that the Russians were unable to restrain Assad and compel him to stop his crimes against the Syrian people, or did not want to. Regardless of the peculiarity of such a statement, is it not to be expected that the president of the strongest nation in the world could tell everyone, after hundreds of meetings with the Russians, whether the Russians simply do not want to pressure Assad to achieve a political solution in Syria in accordance with UN resolutions, or whether they cannot pressure Assad despite their heavy and effective military presence in Syria? Would any political analyst interested in the Syrian issue be better informed?
It is very frustrating for Syrians to hear from Obama that he has concluded after long months of negotiations, and after the American administration has enabled Putin to have the utmost control over the fate of Syria and the decisions of the tyrant of Damascus and the mafia that controls it, that he cannot trust the Russian President Vladimir Putin to cooperate on Syria and pressure Assad to reach a political solution.
President Obama’s recent statements were frustrating to a large extent for those who were recently optimistic about getting closer to finding a political solution that ends the destruction of Syria and the killing and displacement of its people. This indicates a lack of seriousness from President Obama and his administration and their lack of desire to expend any real effort to achieve a political solution in Syria.
This situation will be neither just nor viable without a balance of military-political powers in the current conflict in Syria, which necessarily demands a larger American role able to balance the Russian role in supporting the Assad mafia regime in alliance with Iran and its Lebanese and Iraqi sectarian militias in the war which the regime is carrying out against the Syrian people, and which has made Syria into a theater plundered by takfiri Shiite (the Hezbollah militia, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and other Iraqi and Afghan militias) and Sunni (ISIS and al-Qaeda and their followers) groups alike, and a field for a sectarian strife that could engulf the whole Arab-Islamic region.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Syrian Observer