US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Syria at a meeting in Paris, on January 13, 2014. (DW-TV)
The international community and regional powers have obviously come to the conclusion not to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in order to ward off a bigger catastrophe in the region. We think the next step is not far: from passive support for the rebels to active support for Assad and his security apparatus against a growing Jihadist movement.
Payback statement by Syria
On January 15, as reported by Reuters and the Lebanese Broadcasting cooperation (LBC), Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said intelligence services of some Western countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have visited Damascus to discuss security cooperation.
Politicians, especially in war, often are not the most credible of all sources. In this case, though, we think there is truth in that statement. Mekdad obviously wants to pay back the humiliation Syria´s government was exposed to during the recent two years by Western governments.
It is a bold statement that obviously will affront those in question, but Mekdad seemingly knows he is talking from a position of strength.
West´s wrong calculation in an explosive region
The West has manoeuvred itself into a position, where it has to accept Syria´s – and consequently Iran´s and Russia´s – terms of a deal to ward off a bigger catastrophe (Beirutreporter.Tv – May 27, 2013), namely the drifting of a whole region into mayhem.
Iraq does not only heat up again, as we wrote back in May 2013. It now shows real potential to explode again. In Syria, Jihadists are in control of parts of the north and – as media reports indicate – in a position to travel more or less freely between Iraq and Syria.
Narrow options for the West
With the current constellation of al-Qaeda gaining strength again and Iran negotiating a nuclear deal with the 5+1 powers, options for Western countries are narrow.
Iran won´t accept Assad´s removal since there is nobody, who could fill the gap and promote its ambitions in the Levant. Russia, the West, some Arab states as well as Israel fear Jihadists, who could export terror to their home turf.
Renewed support for “strong men”
Thus, from our point of view, we will see a slowly emerging and tacit, then more open support for the Syrian government by western countries and security coordination between many players that have an interest in a Syria that calms down.
It will be interesting to see how such turnaround is going to be sold to the public.
On July 03, 2013, we wrote in a Tweet: “Qatar will be forced to back down in Syria by international powers that will likely support ‘strong men’ all over the region again”. That´s the development we are seeing since some time.
It is also true for Egypt and most other countries that have been hit by the “Arab Spring”.
Just this week, US Congress is preparing to unfreeze more than $1 billion for the Egyptian government and military, which has been halted after the Egyptian military chased away President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013.
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