InoPressa. Putin’s surprise announcement to withdraw troops from Syria

Putin demonstrates that he sets the rhythm of the Syrian crisis: yesterday he tried to turn from a warmonger to a peacemaker, announcing the withdrawal of Russian troops, in mass media. It is now clear that the fight against ISIS was not the real purpose of Moscow’s interference and even the task of strengthening institutions — Assad was secondary. The main goal is to force the West, tsatsoulis on Russia over Ukraine, again to deal with it.

«Yesterday started peace talks on Syria, punctuated by a rumble of war, informs the editors of the Times. — Although a fragile truce lasted 17 days, the Sunday bombing Kurdish rebels car struck a crushing blow to neighbouring Turkey. The war that has been raging for almost five years, continues to aggravate the situation in the region and generates hundreds of thousands of refugees. She has shamed the Arab world and has exposed the negligence of the EU and of Western society in a broad sense. She gave Russia a strategic opportunity for which seized upon Vladimir Putin tried yesterday to show a dramatic transformation from warmonger to peacemaker with the announcement of a partial withdrawal of Russian troops».

Will the Moscow bombings will be seen, however, a chance to create a government that would limit Executive authority and will respect political pluralism, is vanishingly small, the publication says.

«If Assad will not be able to transfer power to a legitimate government, the only alternative will probably be the division of the country», — said in the article. Partition of Syria into a Russian protectorate in Latakia, controlled by alawites, a Sunni state in the center and an independent Kurdistan might seem attractive, continue the authors. But the car explosion in Ankara this weekend «almost certainly» was an attempt to speed up the Declaration of independence of Kurdistan, the article says, and «such terrorist attacks cannot be rewarded with diplomatic recognition, despite the fact that the Kurds had joined the Alliance against the «Islamic state».

Military analysts absolutely did not foresee that Russia withdraw its troops from Syria, writes the correspondent of The Guardian Shaun Walker. The vaguely-worded purpose of the Russian intervention in Syria — «fight against terrorism» — is clearly not achieved: «Islamic state» has not disappeared.

But if Russia really withdraws its forces from Syria, the intervention does not turn into a protracted operation. «In the army to the Syrian conflict are met without much enthusiasm, there is concern that the operation will go beyond the initial goals,» says American expert mark Galeotti.

Observers are wondering whether the troops were withdrawn in fact, but, be that as it may, Putin’s statement should be taken seriously, the author continues. In his view, by map of the Russian bombing in Syria it is clear that the fight against ISIS was not the true purpose of the intervention and even the task of strengthening the institutions of the Syrian state was secondary.

«After the events in Ukraine, no one wanted to deal with Russia, and the task of the Syrian campaign was to force the West to deal with Russia, said military analyst Alexander Golts. Is achieved, and now Russia withdraws from the conflict with minimal losses. In my opinion, a brilliant tactical move».

Putin’s statement on the withdrawal of the main part of Russian troops from Syria is clearly timed to coincide with the start of inter-Syrian peace talks in Geneva, said in another article The Guardian. This step will be regarded as a sign that Russia has taken enough effort to save the Assad regime from collapse, journalists write Patrick Wintour and Sean Walker.

Sources in Western diplomatic circles surprised Putin with skepticism and amazement. «Let’s see what that represents. This is the same Putin. In the past he has announced similar concessions, but nothing came true,» said an unnamed diplomat present at the talks in Geneva.

The delegation of the Syrian opposition in Geneva was not notified in advance about the Putin’s statement, but its members hope: probably, thus the Russian President has demonstrated that he, and not Assad, would decide the final stage of the game in Syria.

«If practical, the withdrawal is severe, it will give a positive impetus to the negotiations,» said Salim al-Muslat, the official representative of the Higher negotiating Committee of the rebels.

«The main goal of Russia is to take one of main places on the negotiations about the fate of Syria — is clearly achieved,» reads the article.

«In essence, they have achieved their goals, says the Russian expert mark Galeotti (NYU). — Stabilized mode, turned the tide on the battlefield — now mode takes precedence, and now we have a ceasefire and political negotiations».

For its part, al-Muslat does not think that Russian intervention in Syria greatly weakened the trump cards of the opposition in the negotiations. «Now we are closer than ever to settlement,» he said in an interview.

The authors have no doubt that the inter-Syrian negotiations will be extremely sharp. The Syrian foreign Minister Walid Muallem said: «We will not talk with anyone from those who want to discuss the presidency. Bashar Assad is a «red line».

Al-Muslat retorted: «the Political transition must take place without Assad. You cannot leave the post the killer that killed half a million people and destroyed the country.» However, al-Muslat admitted that Assad may temporarily save your post, if you will be given clear guarantees for his resignation.

On Tuesday, President Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, reports The Financial Times.

The white house announced that Obama «welcomed the much-needed reduction of violence». However, Obama said to Putin on the phone that the continuing offensive of the Syrian regime poses risks to political process under UN auspices.

«Some of the rebels have reacted to the news with caution», — the newspaper writes. «I’m not celebrating. Perhaps this is a diversionary tactic of the Russians. We don’t, so we have to be careful,» said Bassam Hajj Mustafa, one of the leaders «Brigades to Nur al-DIN al-Zina».

The newspaper also quoted an unnamed «regional diplomat who is close to Russia and the Syrian regime»: «I am one hundred percent sure until today, the regime didn’t know about it». The diplomat added: «let’s See how many troops they withdraw actually. (…) This step only makes sense if they train are confident that we will conclude an agreement in Geneva. So I think: either we will soon have a viable agreement in Geneva, or all it — only a performance.»

The newspaper believes: «Putin For Russian intervention in Syria is a way to reaffirm the role of Moscow as a power with influence in global policy far beyond its borders».

As for Assad, Russian and foreign officials familiar with the diplomatic efforts of Moscow to Syria, saying Russia is annoyed that Assad is not easily make concessions to attempts at political settlement of the conflict, the publication adds.

«Putin withdrawal of its forces in Syria, apparently, means that the opponents of Assad is so weakened, that the Syrian regime no longer needs the help of Russia», — writes in the Tagesspiegel Thomas Seibert. In addition, it means that «the Russian air strikes were inflicted not only on the positions of radical Islamists, but turned out to be effective against moderate opposition».

Representatives of the Syrian opposition responded to the statement on the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria with skepticism, continues Seibert. «We have to wait and see how big will be the withdrawal of troops and in what time frame will it fit», — said the representative of the Higher Committee on negotiations Monzer Makhus in Geneva. «Russian ground forces have no decisive value, since they are almost there», but «the situation in Syria will change drastically, if Russia will stop air strikes».

Opposition spokesman Salem al-Meslet commented on the decision of Russia: «Nobody knows what Putin has in mind. But the fact that he has no right to exist in our country. So just go for it».

The statement of Vladimir Putin about the withdrawal of the «main part» of Russian troops from Syria caught everyone by surprise, admits Le Figaro.

«What is it, real change in policy or a tactical retreat, pause, which a priori does not apply to groups regarded as terrorist: the «Islamic state» and «Dzhabhat EN-Nusra? — asks the author. — According to some sources, it is about a manoeuvre designed to give the negotiations in Geneva to achieve real results. Moscow is allegedly trying to strengthen the position of the opposition, supported by Russia, i.e. the Kurds and others in Syria and is ready to form the backbone of the future of the transitional government the agreement — the programme of the Geneva talks. In Moscow experts consider that we are talking about the strengthening of Russian positions in negotiations on the future of Syria. Thus, the Kremlin wants to show that he is ready to look beyond Assad, or that he has a «plan B».

Despite claims by Putin, the Russian military invasion in Syria are far from being achieved, writes the author. If the question is about saving Assad seems solved, another goal is to close the border with Turkey is still far from implementation, and the successes of Assad’s army is still fragile.

«Putin once again shows that it is he who sets the rhythm of the Syrian crisis. At the beginning of the Russian campaign, UN diplomats insisted on its temporary nature, Recalling that Russia should begin a diplomatic process aimed at the transfer of power. But the transfer of power is organized by the Kremlin,» writes the author, recommending to treat yesterday’s initiative with caution.

According to Putin, the Kremlin has achieved almost all its goals in the war-torn country, writes The New York Times. The news of the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria «was denied by the expectations of Western capitals and ordinary Syrians, prompting a fierce debate about Russia’s intentions». Perhaps the most critical questions — how this step will affect the outcome of the war and what it would mean for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to involve journalists Neil MacFarquhar and Anne Barnard.

The withdrawal of Russian troops will not leave Assad’s forces alone: it also enjoys the support of Iran and Hizbullah, noted the authors.

«I doubt that Moscow broke with Assad,» — said the expert on Syria from the Washington Institute for near East policy ‘s Andrew J. Tabler. Rather, in his opinion, the Russian statement «again shifts the burden of military action on Assad to soften his stance in negotiations».

«Putin has achieved many of its main objectives: to return Russia into the limelight as a world power, to prevent — as a matter of principle — regime change by external forces, especially Western, more firmly establish themselves in Syria to destroy Russian jihadists on the Syrian front and to strengthen the position of Assad,» the article says.

You can also argue that Putin has almost nothing to lose: Russia may anytime with ease to resume the strikes from their base, and it is able to support the Syrian army and other allies of Assad in the region, Russian weapons at the same time supplying money the Syrian government, the newspaper writes.

Russia remembers well, as she is mired in a long war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and on the cost of intervention in Syria is $ 3 million every day, while falling oil prices and economic sanctions have undermined its financial stability, the article says.

«Saying, in essence, about the end of the mission, Russia in a sense recognizes that the destruction of the «Islamic state» has never been her main goal — position groups in most parts of Northern and Eastern Syria is still strong», — emphasize journalists.

Translation InoPressa

InoPressa. Putin’s surprise announcement to withdraw troops from Syria 15.03.2016

Март 15th, 2016 by
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