What Has Awakened the American Interest in the Syria File?
Anyone following the diplomatic side of the American activity in the Syria file could clearly notice that the last two months have witnessed a high intensity of meetings, visits, and activities. This is in contrast to how things were over at least the past year, during which it seemed as if American interest in Syria, at least its diplomatic side, had dropped to an unprecedented level.
Over the past year, Americans’ activity with regard to Syria in its political-media side has significantly declined. One of the examples of this is the withering of the Western “small group”, and even the continuous change in its composition and even its name over the past five years: the “like-minded countries” group, then the “small group”, and most recently the “contact group”.
It was clear from the outset when the group was first formed, that it was supposed to counter the Astana trio that formed at the end of 2016. The bluntness and insolence of the former US envoy James Jeffrey helped in affirming this fact in his own words, and he spared those who want to analyze and search in depth making a great effort with his ostentatious way of exposing American policies towards Syria, especially the “quagmire” and “stalemate is stability” policy. The same was true of his successor, Joel Rayburn, who was surpassed his predecessor, as he did not spare an opportunity to express great joy at the deterioration of Syrians’ standard of living and the decline of the exchange rate of their currency.
Going back to the beginning, the American activity over the last two months, i.e., after the Tehran and Sochi summits, has gained momentum that it has not had for a year or more. This activity included invitations to meetings on Syria in the Security Council or on its margins, conducting intensive visits to northeastern Syria, inviting the “Syrian Negotiation Commission” (i.e., the “Syrian National Coalition) to a series of meetings in Geneva with an invitation to a meeting of the “contact group”, and many other less visible activities here and there.
The infamous audio leak of Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, revealed early on America’s policy towards Syria and its crisis. In the leak, Kerry talks about how the Americans watched ISIS and its expansion, and did not interfere, and that they were counting on its expansion to weaken the Syrian regime and force it to enter into negotiations, but the subsequent Russian intervention changed the equations.
In other words, the Americans, from the outset, were not interested in toppling the regime, but in toppling the country by weakening all Syrian sides and forces, even if by using ISIS, or at least by turning a blind eye thereto.
This type of policy is not new in the American dictionary, and the American authorities have followed it in dealing with countries among themselves, and at the country level. For example, in the Iran-Iraq war, the Americans were selling weapons to both sides of the conflict and balancing the supply operations so that the conflict would last as long as possible and cause the greatest possible damage.
Americans have worked in the same manner in many conflicts around the world, within the logic of “conflict management” so that the result would be to weaken all conflicting sides, and increase American influence over them all, in order to implement American projects and interests. Syria was no exception to this; rather, it is a “creative” application thereof, if this criminal behavior could be called creative.
Quietness means the plan is going well
In this sense, the decline in the intensity of American diplomatic activity over the past year can be explained not by the Ukrainian crisis, of course, as it preceded the crisis, but rather that things were still proceeding within the required plan. Meaning, the process of “conflict management” was within the goal of perpetuating the conflict and weakening and draining all its sides – and with them, Syria itself and its people – was moving in the direction wanted by the US.
There is no better evidence for this than that while the Constitutional Committee was “arguing about the gender of angels” and making no real progress, the socioeconomic conditions in Syria were moving with a catastrophic acceleration towards rock bottom. This was happening in all senses: operations to lift subsidies are in full swing, things are going towards destroying what remains of the industry and agriculture, and whatever Syrians are still there, especially the most capable, are increasingly feeling forced to leave the country.
Likewise, the process of “structural transformation” in the Syrian economy towards the dominance and influence of the war lords and their black-market dealings is also sits well with the Americans and the Zionists. Perhaps the most dangerous thing that this process produces is the fragmentation and destruction of society’s spirit, culture, and structure, the appalling signs of which have become clear in all aspects.
In parallel, the opposition-controlled areas are not better at all. Although some forms of productive activity still exist due to better availability of electricity, the plundering, theft, and corruption undermine any possibility for stability and push towards engaging in other black and criminal forms of economy.
In a word, things over the last three years, and last year in particular, have been going well from an American perspective, i.e., towards total devastation and self-destruction. Therefore, there was no need for active American activity in “conflict management”, that is, working to keep it moving in the desired direction.
What is new?
What is new after Ukraine, and after the Tehran and Sochi summits in particular, is: the new international balance that has emerged in Ukraine itself, in the global economy, in energy and food crises, and in the deflection of Western sanctions against the West; the expansion of the Sino-Russian alliance and the BRICS alliance and the deepening of its global power and influence, especially in our region through a series of recent reconciliations between countries, especially between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and between Egypt and Turkey, as well as the beginning of solving the Saudi-Iranian dilemma, in addition to the joint Russian-Iranian work with Turkey to push for a Turkish-Syrian rapprochement; not to mention that all of these countries (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and others) took a formal position of neutrality regarding the eastern/western conflict, but in practice sided with Russia and China, starting with energy policies, all the way to the position on the political projects proposed by the West, on top of which are projects like the “Arab NATO” and the like.
All these prompted the Americans to move with high activity, if not to say frenzied activity, to prevent these new equations from turning into established facts on the ground, and specifically to prevent the Astana trio from reaching a real implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254, the path to which has become clearer than ever, due to a combination of factors, the main ones of which are:
- The deepened understanding among the Astana trio.
- The potential and possible cooperation of the trip with China in dealing the economic side of solving the Syrian crisis.
- The increasing possibility of the Astana trip reaching a reasonable level of understanding with each of Saudi Arabia and Egypt about the Syrian solution.
All these factors, and what they can produce, mean moving from “managing the conflict” to resolving it, and they mean ending the American role in Syria. It is not surprising, therefore, that this American “activity” coincides with and accompanies “Israeli” criminal “activity” that is unprecedented in its intensity, pace, and vulgarity in attacking Syria and its airports.
Preventing the Americans and the Zionists from continuing to “manage the conflict”, that is, from continuing to sabotage and destroy Syria and working to end it, cannot be done based on international and regional circumstances only, which are in the interest of Syria and the Syrian people, but it requires serious patriotic action by going quickly to direct negotiations. This also requires preventing the extremists and warlords from the various sides from continuing to play their roles in obstructing the solution. These roles can no longer be understood only within the limits of narrow interests, but it has become necessary to look at them as a fundamental part of the American “conflict management” process