Regarding The “Misunderstanding” Between Syria and Turkey
During his visit to Damascus last Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: “Iran understands Turkish concerns, but it opposes any military action in Syria”. He added, “We are trying to resolve the misunderstanding between Syria and Turkey through diplomatic means and dialogue”. On the other hand, the statement issued by the Syrian presidency on the visit carried the usual language about Turkey and the position therefrom.
What is new?
The Iranian Minister’s use of the expression “misunderstanding” indicates a new Iranian endeavor, but at a higher level, in a direction of pushing for a consensus to end the state of hostility between Turkey and Syria. Some may reduce the issue, and base their position thereon, to being an Iranian attempt to reach a formula for “normalizing relations” between the Turkish and Syrian regimes. However, the essence of the matter is certainly deeper and beyond that.
Above all, it is no secret that an important part of the efforts made over the past few years in the name of normalizing relations between the Arab regimes and the Syrian regime – especially the UAE, Jordan, and Bahrain – have always had a specific carrier linked to a comprehensive American perception of the region. To put it more clearly, the marketing used for the Caesar’s sanctions and the slogan of “changing the regime’s behavior” always included specific ideas about Syria’s transition and its complete displacement from one bank to another and from one camp to another, with regard to Iran, but also with regard to Russia. This also includes certain “hopes” of uprooting Syria from its historical position regarding the Palestinian cause, i.e., clearly attempting to push it towards normalization with the Zionist entity.
Therefore, this issue can partially explain the Iranian endeavor. That is, working to secure a way out for Syria from Western extortion, using the Astana arrangement, and based on reaching an “understanding” between Ankara and Damascus, especially since Syria’s longer borders are with Turkey and reaching understandings within the Astana framework would transform the ability of sanctions to encircle and suffocate Syria, to a very weak capability. As an example, but not limited to, reaching understandings within the Astana framework will allow opening paths for transportation of fuels as well as electricity. These will be paths other than the Western-drawn one, which today has many titles, one of which is the so-called “Arab Gas Pipeline”, which has no future even in the purely economic sense, except that it is a Western political and geopolitical tool, more than anything else.
Broader dimensions of the issue
It is understandable that the problem with Turkey is massive, and probably one of its most important elements is the continuous Turkish attacks on northern Syria. Not to mention the military presence, which must end in parallel with ending all foreign presence in Syria, and other historical and new disputes, including very important dossiers like water, for example. However, what is also certain is that no matter how long it takes, there will be a time when Syria and Turkey will at some point restore some form of a normal relationship fit for two neighboring countries with many common interests. This is something that cannot in any way be compared to the situation of the Zionist entity, with which there can in way be any kind of “normal neighboring”, because the entity itself is not normal.
The objective basis that allows predicting that at a certain moment within the coming years, a state of “normal neighboring” will be reached, is exactly the new international balance, based on which the entire international space and regional spaces are being reconfigured. Iran, Turkey, and Syria form within these spaces, and regardless of regional rivalries, one bloc within a broader project that carries benefits for all these countries, along with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and others, within one of the main projects of the new world. By this we mean the project comprising the Belt and Road, and the Eurasian.
If we put aside the strategic dimensions of the issue, and focus on the current ongoing side, it has become clearer since the last round of the Constitutional Committee, and the accompanying talk about changing its venue, that the essence of the issue is beyond the issue of its venue. The essence of the issue is the necessity of moving the center of gravity of solving the Syrian issue based on UNSC Resolution 2254 from the blackhole between West and East (symbolically represented by Geneva, which has become more clearly West with the Ukrainian crisis), towards the East, and concretely towards Astana as a track and not necessarily as a venue.
In other words, what we have repeatedly said about the West not wanting to implement the resolution and not wanting to reach a solution, and that the resolution and solution must be implemented regardless of the will of the West, and even whether or not it participates, today our words are closer to being actual implemented than before. Just as the West disingenuously agreed to the Minsk agreements and obstructed their implementation, it also agreed to 2254 and obstructed its implementation, and just as reality dictated a certain way to implement Minsk, so it will impose another way to implement 2254.
Some may see the issue within the limits of an endeavor by Iran by itself, with Iranian only purposes. However, even if this is the case, and most likely it is not so in essence, because Russian work in the same direction has been clear for years. Nevertheless, what dictates the form in which the endeavors of any country crystalizes, is not only its desires, but its capabilities and the realistic capabilities offered by the relevant reality with all its international and regional entanglements.
In this sense, pushing towards finding understandings, even if partial, within the Astana framework, that open the door towards a new situation and end Western extorsion, will completely change the dimensions of the issues and bring it a step closer to the comprehensive solution that is compatible with Syrians’ interest and the new international balances.
What is certain in the matter is that this endeavor and other ones that contribute to stopping the catastrophe, will not become a tangible reality without starting the process of radical change in Syria itself. This would be through really starting the real solution according to UNSC Resolution 2254, because what has become more than clear is that the dominance of the warlords, extremists, and dominators who are ultimately linked to the West, is not commensurate with any independent trend that would put an end to the systematic process of destroying Syria, and put it on the path to go back to life.