FROM ROUNDS OF TALKS IN ASTANA TO ADVICE IN GENEVA

By Arthur Dunn

Two rounds of talks in the Kazakh Astana ended, and now determine the future of Syria will continue in Geneva. There already were negotiating delegation. It now remains to wait, how will the outcome of negotiations in Astana affect the positions of the parties and, possibly, on the results of consultations in Geneva.

It should be noted that Astana was able to maintain the ceasefire between government forces and the Syrian armed forces, relatively moderate opposition. It was in Astana have been identified principles for the preservation of the ceasefire, a working group of representatives from Iran, Turkey and Russia for its control. Despite some isolated incidents, the whole developed mechanisms have proven effective.

It is recognized that the talks in the Kazakh capital were able to do something that turned out to be incapable of the United States and its allies - to divide the opposition to the moderate and radical. The initiators of Astana consultations approached this question is very simple: the opposition groups that have joined the negotiations, received the status of "moderates" who did not join permanently recorded himself in radicals such as DAISH. Opposition parties are divided on the ready to negotiate and understand only the language of force.

Moreover, the opposition, who arrived in Astana headed by the representative of the "Jaish al-Islam" Mohammad Alloush not only agreed to a set format, but in the end showed a change of attitude to Russia. Appropriate statements made leader of the opposition delegation even in the first, in January, the Astana round of negotiations. It is worth mentioning that the Syrian draft constitution was handed over to the Russian side, as it is the government, so the opposition.

But it is too early to talk about any real implications of the bilateral cooperation. After all, the representatives of President Assad and their opponents has not yet entered into direct negotiations, but established a working system. The main expression of this work and began a second round of consultations in the capital of Kazakhstan. Moreover, it emerged during the mutual understanding on the issue of the release of prisoners of war.

However, according to some experts, Russia in the prescribed format will have to act very carefully and flexibly. It is possible that the suspect is able to Damascus to Moscow in an attempt to separate negotiations with the opposition. Particularly relevant in the light of this scenario is a possible warming of US-Russian relations, the current Washington. It is also possible that due to the warming of relations between Russia and the US can further irritate such an important player in the Syrian war, as the Islamic Republic of Iran. After all, Trump is going is not going to put up with Tehran. We know that Iran is perceived by the administration of the new US president as a terrorist threat, just as you give.

Do not forget that the Islamic Republic is not thrilled with the next warming of relations between Moscow and Ankara supporting the Sunni radicals are not only opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad (unambiguously and unconditionally allied to Tehran), but checked in terrorist attacks against the Shiite population of Syria . We can not but cause concern of the Iranian side in this "Turkish" and the context of a significant increase in Russian influence in the environment of the Syrian military and political elite that, in fact, led to the displacement of some Iranian influence. So, Moscow is now engaged in manning the new parts of the Syrian regular army. With regard to the Shia militias controlled by Iran, the rate on it is less than the Syrian military. For example, this was reflected in the withdrawal of pro-Iranian militias in Aleppo, where they have played an important role.

Observers note that with Turkey, Iran, in spite of the cooperation in Astana, remained serious problems. In particular, controlled by Tehran and Ankara, respectively, Shiite and Sunni groups, entering into contact, marked gunfights. At the moment the armistice agreement constrains the other, but no one can predict what will happen in the event of a breach. Shiite troops and Sunni groups of the Syrian Free Army is not always clearly controlled by its ideological inspirers, organizers and sponsors. There remains the danger of conflict between them at the highest level.

But there is a point of contact in Tehran and Ankara - the Kurdish question. Both Iran and Turkey oppose autonomy and, especially, an independent Kurdish cantons Syria. As in any country, and the other has a compact living Kurds. If Turkey's past, led by Kurdistan Workers' Party, are very active and are constantly fighting against government troops, everything is not so serious in Iran. However, Kurdish performances were there. Both Iran and Turkey have not objected to the limited Kurdish representation in Astana. It is worth recalling that in the Kazakh capital were only representatives of the Kurdish National Council, and more influential "Democratic Union of Kurdistan" has not been submitted.

But there is a point of contact in Tehran and Ankara - the Kurdish question. Both Iran and Turkey oppose autonomy and, especially, an independent Kurdish cantons Syria. As in any country, and the other has a compact living Kurds. If Turkey's past, led by Kurdistan Workers' Party, are very active and are constantly fighting against government troops, everything is not so serious in Iran. However, Kurdish performances were there. Both Iran and Turkey have not objected to the limited Kurdish representation in Astana. It is worth recalling that in the Kazakh capital were only representatives of the Kurdish National Council, and more influential "Democratic Union of Kurdistan" has not been submitted.

On the other hand, Turkey, as it does not negatively perceived its role Iran is able to assist him in building the dialogue with the opposition. Neither during the first round of Astana negotiations, nor on the second, the Syrian opposition is not even considered the possibility of cooperation with the Iranian side. According to opponents of the Syrian regime, the Islamic Republic - sponsor and ally of Bashar al-Assad, and negotiations with it meaningless. At the same time, having a strong influence on the opposition groups, Turkey could work on changing their opinions.only a few local issues were resolved at the talks in Astana. However, there have been identified and more serious perspectives - from the trial Syria constitution authored by Russian specialists to the final determination of the opposition, which can lead sane dialogue and to work with them. At present, Russia and Turkey (the Iranian position is expectant that matter) need to agree on the one hand - to continue the negotiations at a higher level in Geneva, and on the other - to take into account in the course of the base, which has been tried and tested in Astana. Its results should be used. And then the chances for a constructive outcome of the consultations in Geneva will potentially rise.
 
 
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