By helping Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran strengthen their relations and provoked irritation of US
This week, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran discussed the Syrian settlement in Ankara. In the document signed after the meeting, they reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.
"This position of principle is much needed today, considering the growing number of attempts to deepen ethnic and religious differences in Syrian society in order to break up the country and to preserve the conflict potential of the Middle East for years to come. We have agreed to expand the entire range of our trilateral cooperation in Syria, primarily within the framework of the Astana process, which has proved its effectiveness more than once... These three countries made a practical contribution to these efforts by establishing a working group in Astana on March 15. The group will deal with the liberation of hostages, the transfer of the dead and a search for the missing. We also agreed to consolidate our efforts on the post-conflict recovery of Syria, primarily, the construction of social and infrastructure facilities. Russian companies are already taking an active part in this. Indicatively, they have begun some projects in areas that were only recently run by militants," Vladimir Putin said following the talks.
Commenting on the results of the meeting, the director of Russian Institute of Political and Social Studies of the Black Sea-Caspian Region, a senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky, noted that two of the three sides of the summit - Turkey and Iran - are long-standing antagonists. "However, when the question arose of the common interests in ending the war in Syria, all three countries are interested in this, they managed to unite efforts. The Astana process proved to be the most successful move. It achieved certain results: there are de-escalation zones, a gradual withdrawal of groups. A large-scale effort is currently under way on our part to hold talks on the ground. This is a unique option, very few managed to approach it, but it produced concrete results. At this tripartite meeting, they managed to agree on the creation of a constitutional commission that should unite both the government and opposition forces in addressing the future constitution issues. Solving such problems without a legal framework will be too difficult," the expert said.
According to him, this tripartite cooperation led to the strengthening of bilateral relations - Russia and Turkey; Russia and Iran; Iran and Turkey.
Commenting on Washington's reaction to the trilateral cooperation, the Associate Professor of the Department of International Security of the Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University, Alexey Fenenko, said: "The US is very annoyed by the very fact of forming the Astana format. First, the NATO member country - Turkey - has started to demonstratively coordinate its relations with Russia and Iran - the countries to which the US were hostile. The Americans perceive it as an ally's withdrawal. Second, the Americans do not like the fact that the Astana format is closely linked to the SCO, since Iran has already become a partner for the SCO dialogue, and Turkey is trying to achieve the same status. Thus, an associated format for the SCO, which was created with the participation of Turkey, claims its role in the settlement of the Syrian situation. The Americans see it as a direct challenge to its interests. "
In this connection, speaking about Washington's statements on its withdrawal from Syria, Fenenko assured: "The Americans will not withdraw from Syria. If they leave, it will look like a clear defeat for President Trump, and according to the American philosophy, even a hint of defeat is unacceptable. It is not ruled out that they will take away a couple dozen planes and say: "Look at what we did for you! And what are you ready to do in response? Is Russia ready to reduce its presence?" This will put Russia in a very unpleasant negotiation format, because the Americans have a branched network of bases in the Persian Gulf, but we do not have any. But the Americans will force us to such negotiations. Besides, the Americans have a whole group of "junior partners" on which they can rely. The US can delegate some of the functions in Syria to the UK and France, and say to Russia: "We are leaving, make your own arrangements with the English and the French."