Astana 13... A New Step on the Road to a Solution
The 13th round of Astana concluded its work last Friday, affirming the general line of the Astana meetings, which seeks to complete untying the military knots in order to open the door wide to a political solution.
The latest round of Astana consolidated the Sochi Agreement on Idleb and its surroundings, and the need to secure a disarmed zone, free of heavy and medium weapons and terrorist-classified elements at a depth of 20 kilometers, in preparation for the opening of the M4 and M5 routes. This was done by working on two parallel axes: a ceasefire that does not include al-Nusra Front and its allies, that is, removing the cover from anyone who implicitly or explicitly aligns himself to the ranks of al-Nusra. This will lead to acceleration of the process of separating al-Nusra from others, in addition to increasing of the pressure on the Turks with determining a short timeline to implement what is required, which will appear soon through palpable procedures.
The promoted propaganda against the latest round of Astana, saying that it did not achieved the completion of the file of the Constitutional Committee, is nothing but a blatant deception, because The trio of Astana has never claimed that they have the authority to decide separately in such a political file as the file of the Constitutional Committee, but they repeatedly asserted that the main goal of these meetings is to resolve the military affairs, allowing for parallel progress in political affairs.
The confusion between the two tracks – leaving aside those who use the subject for purely anti-Astana political propaganda – has its interpretations; it became a habit for the political file to get a little push forward after each round of Astana. This is directly caused by the fact that each step taken in Astana to reduce the size of military obstacles, soon reflects into a rapid political progress.
What should be clear about the Constitutional Committee is its deep attachment to the other files, especially Idlib and the North East, but this does not mean that these files fully mutually condition each other. in other words, this does not mean that the Constitutional Committee will not appear until those files are settled. Neither does it mean that these files will not begin to be resolved before the Constitutional Committee appears. In fact, the solution, as we have already stressed, is taking place step by step and in parallel in all files. This, however, does not detract from the importance of the Declaration of the Committee, which will constitute the key to the political process as the first tangible political procedure within the comprehensive implementation of the UNSC resolution 2254.
In parallel, also, the North East file, although not much was publicly talked about in Astana, but the various statements, indicate that the size of the compatibility of the tri-Astana on this file, almost higher than the size of their consensus on all other files, and in this sense, any talk about a "safe zone", in accord with the US or against its will, is a talk not a realistic to be applied, but will result with a basket of other tools, in increasing the pressure on the US and its allies to accelerate its full withdrawal from Syria, which became a settled matter in terms of the balance of power, but only in await to the way, that is being searched for, to its application.
In light of all this, the growing Western disappointment with each new meeting of Astana, became naturally a permanent outcome of each of these meetings...
Kassioun Editorial, Issue No 925, August 5, 2019