Syria And Iraq Continue To Mar West’s Efforts In Middle East


Syria And Iraq Represent Catastrophic Failure In Middle East, Columnist Asserts
The failure of the West, notably the US, to make progress in ousting Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad while simultaneously failing to prevent a resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq represents a “catastrophic defeat” in the Middle East, says Dominique Moisi in WorldCrunch.

“In Syria, the same admission of failure is emerging. Assad and his loyal allies — Russia and Iran — have actually emerged stronger from their confrontation with the West. Civilian massacres, including with chemical weapons, did not change anything. The regime is holding tight, despite losing control of important parts of its territory, thanks to its allies’ support and, most importantly, the weakness of its opponents and those who support them.

“In reality, from the Middle East to Africa, the entire idea of outside intervention is being challenged in a widely post-American region,” he writes.

That failure and the threat from terrorists that increases as Iraq disintegrates into chaos is one reason why, columnist Con Coughlin argues it is time to talk to Bashir al Assad.

“Ever since the Syrian rebels were overrun by al-Qaeda and other Islamist movements of a similar uncompromising hue, I have been warning that, rather than backing the rebels, the West’s interests would be far better served by   doing everything in its power to halt the violence, even if it means the detestable regime of President Bashar al-Assad surviving. In the pragmatic world of realpolitik, better the devil you know than having a vital Arab state such as Syria succumb to the rule of Islamist fanatics,” he writes in The London Telegraph.

Syria And Russia Trying To Set Benchmarks For Geneva 2
Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister said his nation and Russia share the same views on the need to “exert every effort to make the conference a success.”

According to Syrian TV, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said he would work to “ensure a political solution to the crisis” and that he believes “this conference should lay the foundation  for dialogue among the Syrians without any foreign interference and with respecting Syria’s sovereignty and independence.”

Prior to the start of the Geneva 2 conference, Russia and Syria proposed a ceasefire for Aleppo, as well as an exchange of prisoners. The olive branch, however, contains a silver lining for the Syrians – namely a way to bide time and its resources.

“If implemented, the ceasefire could also help the regime as it gathers its forces near Aleppo in an attempt to take control of a key crossroads outside the city. It remained unclear how a prisoner exchange would be implemented, as regime fighters are held by a wide variety of rebel groups under different commands. Mr. Muallem said his government was ready to exchange lists of detainees with opposition leaders, but many have little or no contact with the armed rebel groups holding prisoners,” reports The Financial Times.

While the talk of using all effort to make the conference a success, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made a preemptive strike against any move to place UN troops on the ground for humanitarian purposes.

“Attempts are being made, in particular, with the use of UN mechanisms, to exacerbate tensions surrounding the Syrian humanitarian situation and create another pretext for the promotion of the idea of so-called “humanitarian corridors” and no-fly zones and, in the end, to justify a humanitarian intervention,” the minister said, according to The Voice of Russia.











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