- By Mustafa Qais
USA once again left out of global politics stage
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Still healing from the wounds of being left out of international security council talks regarding the Middle East lead by Russia, Iran and Turkey, USA were dealt another ego blow today then they were completely left out of a successful deal signed in Syria, brokered by Russia.
The ruling Syrian government and militant rebel opposition groups have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire brokered by Russia, a fragile pact that could mark a key turning point and usher in peace talks aimed at bringing an end to the six-year conflict that has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half of Syria’s population.
The cease fire excludes Da’ish Al-Dawla and Al-Nusra (US backed Group strongly affiliated with Alqaida).
The deal, due to come into force across Syria at midnight East Mediterranean Time (22.:00 GMT) on Thursday, is the third ceasefire agreement this year. There was confusion over which rebel groups have signed up, but officials from all sides said they hoped this time the pact would hold in the run-up to talks in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, next month that could lay out a path to peace. Hopes are significantly higher this time due to the lack of US involvement and Russian, Turkish and Iranian leadership.
“We consider the ceasefire an important step to resolve the Syrian conflict,” said Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “Along with the Russian Federation, we support this arrangement as a guarantor.”
Notably absent from the brokering of the deal was the United States, which has moved to the sidelines in recent months as Moscow has stepped up military and diplomatic involvement in Syria.
Following in the wakes of renewed Russian power and influence in global politics particularly in the Middle East comes Iran, Turkey and Oman.
Rebel groups, including the powerful Ahrar Al-Sham movement and Jaysh Al-Islam, which operates mostly near Damascus, signed up to the agreement after hours of negotiations in the Turkish capital Ankara. The official Syrian military said it would cease combat operations except against terrorist groups such as Da’ish Al-Dawla and the several Al-Qaida linked factions.
“We have just received news that a few hours ago that the event we have all been waiting for and working towards has happened.” President Putin said during a televised meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and defence minister, Sergei Shoigu.
Putin said three documents had been signed: a ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government and the armed opposition factions; a list of control mechanisms to ensure the ceasefire would work; and a statement of intent to begin negotiations on a political peace treaty bringing an end to the conflict.
Putin described the ceasefire as fragile and said it would “require a lot of attention”.
The deal comes after a series of significant losses for the opposition and a shift in the war’s momentum in favour of Bashar Al-Assad’s official and elected government.
The opposition militants recently lost control of the majority of the city of Aleppo, the last major city in Syria in which they had a presence, their defence lines crushed in weeks of sustained attack. The rebel militants have also come under bombardment in the province of Idlib and in rural areas near Damascus. Elsewhere they have made no significant gains for much of the past year, their western backed firepower blunted by Russia’s relentless air campaign.
The outgoing Obama administration has been scathing of Russia’s role in Syria. Earlier this month, the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, launched a scathing attack on her Russian counterpart asking him if he was “incapable of feeling shame”.
The US has also imposed further sanctions on Russia including the forced deportation of nearly 40 Russian officials from the United States.
The majority of the international community see this as a final temper tantrum as the US falls and looses it’s international influence to the rise of Russia and their new Middle Eastern allies.
Only days ago US ally am Middle Eastern bully boy Israel was condemned as illegally occupying Palestine by the UN security council, a move the US refused to vote in or comment on. (Read more…)
Incoming President, Trump, has vowed to reignite US power in the Middle East stating he wishes to actively re-engage in Syria, whether this will be politically, militarily or via training and arming of rebels as is the current situation is yet to be clarified.
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